Arizona’s deserts are home to many creepy crawly creatures. Some are entirely harmless, but others aren’t.

You may already know about Arizona spiders, scorpions and rattlesnakes, but here is some information on those creatures and others to watch out for.

Gila Monster

It is the only venomous lizard native to the United States. A nocturnal creature, the Gila monster attacks humans only in defense. In Arizona, it is a protected species.


Thirteen species of rattlesnakes live in Arizona, more than any other state, according to Arizona Game and Fish. If you hear the warning rattle, it is just that — the snake is telling you not to come any closer. Stay calm and give it a wide berth. Move away from the rattler with slow, non-threatening, non-sudden movements.

Africanized bee

The highly aggressive Africanized bee population has risen by at least 1,000 percent in Arizona this year, according to Reed Booth. Known religiously as the “killer” bee, this hybrid species is known to defend its hive relentlessly when disturbed, viciously attacking anything — or anyone — in their path.

Bark Scorpion

The bark scorpion is the most common type of scorpion in Arizona and can cause severe medical problems. All other scorpions pose a much smaller threat to humans.

Arizona Coral Snake

Coral snakes have a blunt black snout and bands of red, yellow (sometimes white) and black that completely encircle the body, and the yellow and red bands touch. A coral snake’s venom is two or three times more potent than that of most rattlesnakes, but their fangs are smaller, and they inject less venom.


A tarantula can use its fangs to inflict a bite, or it can use its barbed and mildly venomous abdominal hairs, according to It appears that tarantulas cause no long term damage in most cases.


The bite from a centipede, while very painful, generally does not require medical attention, according to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at University of Arizona.

Brown Spider 

There are about five species of brown spiders in Arizona, according to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at University of Arizona. Their venom usually causes aches and swelling, but it can result in a necrotic ulcer.

Black Widow spider

The female black widow spider is considered the most venomous spider in North America, according to The venom of the black widow spider is 15 times as toxic as the venom of the prairie rattlesnake.

Sonoran Desert Toad

Yes, Sonoran Desert Toads are poisonous, not venomous (poison is ingested, venom is injected.) These toads have glands that produce a poison that can kill an adult dog.

Blister Beetle

The Blister Beetle excretes an irritant from its joints when it is trapped. This irritant causes blistering much like poision ivy, according to University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Conenose Bug

This bug typically bites people while they are asleep so it takes several hours to know you have been bitten. The bite usually causes swelling, but repeated exposure has been known to cause allergies that may require hospitalization.

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