When it comes to wildlife in the United States, Montana beats every other state, hands down. From ornery grizzly bears to moose, venomous snakes, and even vultures, Montana is a garden of Eden for wild animals of every stripe; we even have the occasional zebra sighting.
With such rich wildlife diversity, it’s no wonder why Montana is known to be the most dangerous when it comes to animal attacks. You have a higher chance of being killed by a wild animal in Montana than any other state. Whether you’re a lifelong resident of the Big Sky state or merely passing through, this list of the top 7 most dangerous Montana animals is for you:
The biggest surprise for most readers isn’t that bears are on such a list, but that they’re ranked so low. Granted, bears certainly are ferocious, especially the grizzly variety. Yet bear attacks are uncommon and even downright rare. In fact, there are barely 3 bear attacks each year in all of North America, much less Montana. It’s far more likely for humans to kill bears in Montana, with about 25 bear deaths estimated annually, than vice versa. While the image of killer bears continues to dominate Hollywood movies, the truth is actually the exact opposite. Humans are a bigger threat to bears.
While poisonous spider bites are rare in Montana, they do kill several people each and every year. Black widow spider bites, alone, are more deadly than rattlesnake bites. Thankfully, black widows are one of only two known species of poisonous spiders found in Montana, which are benign if you stay away from their eggs. Black widows are easy to spot given their hourglass figure and characteristic red coloring. So, if you see a spider fitting such a description, you should consider fleeing to another room.
The other venomous Montana spider, however, isn’t as friendly. The hobo spider, otherwise known as the aggressive house spider, is a quick devil found in basements or on the ground and it has no qualms with attacking you if it feels it is in danger. If you stumble upon a spider in your house and wonder what you should do the best way to deal with it, poisonous or not, is to either trap it with a large container or kill it with a flyswatter. If you’re nervous around spiders, though, you may consider finding someone with a bit more confidence to take care of the pesky arachnid.
#5 Cows and Horses
The first surprising entry on this list is that of our friendly partners in farming and travel: cows and horses. Despite their seemingly docile nature, stampeding cows can be a real threat. Attacking cows aren’t simply a problem for farmers to worry about either. Anyone who walks or jogs in the countryside or near a dairy farm should be wary of killer cows, especially if a dog is accompanying you. Cows tend to view dogs to be no different than a weird sort of wolf, i.e. a predator, and they will not hesitate to charge full force to protect themselves.
#4 Hornets, Bees and Wasps
While not technically an animal, these flying insects certainly wreak havoc upon both the Montana and the US population. Each and every year, just under 100 deaths are reported from bee, hornet, or wasp stings. The most common cause of death being anaphylaxis, which is an allergic reaction that causes the immune system to overreact. In the case of bee stings, victims’ bodies will often have a severe reaction to the poison released by the bee’s stinger. The type of poisoning bee stings cause is called apitoxin poisoning. Hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets all produce a similar type of venom as bees. Common symptoms may include:
- Skin discoloration, typically white or red
- Extreme swelling of the face, mouth, and throat
- Headaches and dizziness
- Vomit and general nausea
- Low blood pressure
- Shortened breath
If you’ve been bitten or stung by a flying insect and fear you may be suffering anaphylaxis, you should seek out medical attention immediately. Do not hesitate to call 911. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Domestic dogs may be furry and adorable pets. But for the victims of dog bites and attacks, their injuries are anything but cute. According to the Center for Disease Control, there are close to 5 million dog bites each and every year in the United States. To put this number into perspective, this means that 1 out of every 70 Americans are bitten by a dog annually. An even more eye-popping statistic is that close to 20% of these dog bites are so severe that they require professional medical attention. The next time you meet a friendly dog on the street remember that a third of all dog bites become infected. You may think twice before petting humanity’s alleged best friend.
Without a doubt, deer are the most surprising entry on this list of dangerous animals. Yes, you read that correctly. Bambi is one of the most dangerous animals in all of Montana. Deer cause so many accidents in Montana that it’s estimated that 1 out of every 57 Montanans have been involved in a car accident with a deer. Only West Virginia sees more deer on car accidents than Montana.
On average, over 100 people are killed every year in the United State as a result of car crashes with deer. The best way to avoid getting into an auto accident with a deer is to remain alert with your eyes on the road, always buckle up, and remain especially vigilant during autumn since deer tend to mate during this time of year. And if regular deer weren’t enough of a problem, residents of Montana need to keep a lookout for zombie deer.
Some might think that selecting humans as the most dangerous animal in Montana is a bit of a cop-out. But the numbers speak for themselves. Each and every year, Montana sees the following harrowing statistics:
- 244 gun deaths
- 42 homicides
- 12,585 assaults
- 211 robberies
- 579 fatal car accidents
The fact of the matter is that you are far more likely be injured by the actions of a fellow human than an angry bear or a ferocious wolf. Humans, by a wide margin, are definitely the most dangerous animal in all of Montana, so be sure to take the proper precautions when mingling with other people.