10 venomous creatures that can be found in South Carolina

South Carolina News

A lionfish swims in a tank at the New England Aquarium in Boston, Tuesday, May 30, 2006. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — When in doubt, don’t touch.

There’s more out in the woods and water than poison ivy. South Carolina is home to four poisonous spiders — three belonging in the widow family — along with a handful of jellyfish species that can cause stinging, but are mostly harmless. 

While most things in nature are safe to be around, it’s best to leave animals, plants and insects alone. If stung or bitten by any potentially poisonous or venomous critter, be sure to immediately seek medical care.

Be sure not to aggravate or startle any animal, which typically will not go out of their way to harm humans. 

Here are 10 poisonous or venomous things in nature that are found in South Carolina, in no particular order:

  1. Copperhead snake

The copperhead is the most common venomous snake in South Carolina, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources. The snakes have dark brown, hourglass-shaped crossbands over a pink to coppery-tan background color.

  1. Lionfish

The invasive species can cause serious injury if someone comes into contact with its venomous dorsal, anal or pelvic spines. Most healthy people will survive an encounter, although they will experience intense pain, swelling and potentially infection. People can also have an allergic reaction to the venom. 

  1. Tree tobacco

The small tree or shrub has leaves that are white and waxy and its flowers are a yellowish green to cream color. Both the leaves and flowers are poisonous and can be fatal if eaten.

  1. Cottonmouth snake

Cottonmouth snakes can be found in wetlands and swamps. The snakes can be three to five feet long. If threatened, the brown snakes will stand their ground and show its fangs. However, this is usually just a warning to back off. 

  1. Cannonball jellyfish

The cannonball jellyfish,the most common jellyfish in South Carolina, is one of the least dangerous. The jellyish, which have round, white bellies that are surrounded by a brown or purple band, show up near the coast every summer and fall. 

  1. Nerium oleander

The plant is an evergreen shrub with funnel-shaped flowers that can be pink, yellow, white or red. Every part of the plant is poisonous and can be deadly if ingested. 

  1. Sea wasp

Sea wasps are the most venomous jellyfish in South Carolina waters, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Stings from the jellyfish, which has tentacles that hang from the corners of its cub shape, can require hospitalization. 

8. Portugese man-of-war

The animal sometimes drifts into South Carolina’s waters, however, DHEC warns that they are highly venomous. The top of the animal is a purple blue color and can be up to 10 inches long, with  tentacles that can extend from the float as far as 60 feet. 

9. Southern black widow spider

The Southern black widow looks like what most people think when they consider the widow spider family — shiny black body, with a red hourglass spot on its belly. People who are bit are likely to recover within a day of seeking medical care. 

10. Brown widow spider

Brown widows have a more potent venom than other widows, but because the spiders are timid, they’re less likely to be spotted. They also release less venom when it does bite When startled, the spiders tend to curl up on themselves. 

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