If you’re like me, all you really know about Utah is that Salt Lake City is there…and also that Mormons dig living there.
But did you know that Utah is secretly a death den full of America’s creepiest creatures? It’s basically like our own little Australia! If you ever find yourself in Utah, these are the creatures that will most likely murder you.
1. Barn owl
Owls are already a bit on the strange side, but when you add a creepy Phantom of the Opera mask to their face? (It’s even creepier.) Barn owls may not attack humans, but they’re vicious when it comes to vermin prey (and fish…and other birds). They eat what they catch by swallowing it whole, then regurgitating the bones and indigestible bits back up. Yummy.
2. Black widow spider
They are found pretty much all over the States, but for some reason, the population of black widows has increased in Utah over the last few years. The females boast one of the most powerful bites of any spider species, and their venom can cause a painful illness called latrodectism.
3. Crane fly
They may look like the biggest mosquitoes ever, but crane flies are actually more dangerous to crops than mosquitoes are, since their larvae tend to feed on the roots in the soil. They won’t really hurt you, but they’ll hurt your food.
Although their name evokes the ricketiest wooden rollercoaster at your local theme park, sidewinders are somehow even more dangerous than those rides. Their potent venom can easily kill humans.
5. Mormon cricket
As you can tell from the picture, Mormon crickets don’t actually pose any danger to you…unless you’re another Mormon cricket. The huge, four-inch bugs love to feast on crops, but when times are tough, they’ve been known to eat each other instead.
6. Blister beetle
They don’t call them blister beetles for nothing! When these guys feel threatened, they secrete a toxin that is extremely bad for human skin.
7. Turkey vulture
The name suggests that these vultures only go after dead turkeys, but if that’s the case, aren’t we ALL turkey vultures? Anyway, these things have six-foot wingspans and faces that look like they got dunked in acid.
Including the aforementioned sidewinder, there are five types of rattlesnakes that call Utah home. The diamondback rattlesnake is responsible for the majority of serious snakebites in North America.
9. Desert recluse spider
Commonly mistaken for the brown recluse, the desert recluse’s bite packs a similar punch. Occasionally, these bites cause fatal blood poisoning.
While Utah may sound like a homely Mormon settlement where caffeine and alcohol aren’t allowed, it is secretly a lawless land of chaos.