America Travel

Scary Creatures of New Mexico

There’s finally been some damn rain in Albuquerque, breaking the 2 months of nothing! The state is dying from the drought so rain was very welcome. I think everyone in the area did a happy dance.  After so much heat and dryness the rain seemed like a miracle (I know, I know, I’ll be singing a different tune if I make it back to England soon.)

One drawback is that everything gross and terrifying in New Mexico comes out into the open after a rainstorm. And after giving it some though New Mexico has tons of horrifying wildlife.

*Warning-this post may terrify you*

Rattlesnakes- Albuquerque even houses the International Rattlesnake Museum, aka the largest collection of different types of rattlesnakes in the world. I lived out in the country as a kid and all New Mexico country kids were taught to listen for rattlesnakes with they were playing, never to get into a sleeping bag without checking it for snakes and scorpions, etc.

Once I woke up and there was a massive snake in my room. It had crawled in through an open window.
It was easily 3 feet long and as thick as my arm. Luckily it wasn’t a rattlesnake.
Worst morning ever.

Tarantula Hawk Wasp- Never heard of this? Well good. Stay away. It’s a wasp that hunts and kills tarantulas. Which seems like a good thing right? Wrong because it can also sting humans and it’s second most painful sting in the animal kingdom. The pain from a tarantula wasp hawk is on par WITH BEING SHOT. It’s also the New Mexico State insect. Thanks New Mexico.

In case you weren’t already scared enough, it is also huge.

Giant Desert Centipedes- Of all things on this list I had to add this one last because I couldn’t stand having the picture up while I wrote the rest of the post. I have a horrible phobia of worms but my aversion to these guys comes pretty close. They are, on average, 15 cm long and poisonous. Luckily, the pain from their bites is localized and swelling subsides after a few hours. But it doesn’t change the fact that these are what my nightmares are made of.

Please excuse me while I go die on the inside because these exist.

Tarantulas- I think most people know what tarantulas look like. They are big. They are hairy. They are gross. That being said, my cousins, brother and I used to catch them in mason jars like normal kids do with fireflies. They are everywhere. This is not an exaggeration. As long as you are not in a city, you will see at least 2 a day in the summer, if not more.

I never let them touch me though. I’m dumb, not a fool.

Desert Recluse Spiders– Most people have mild reactions to their bites, but in some cases their bites can cause skin necrosis, aka your skin rots while you are alive around the bite. Vomit. Their bites can sometimes be fatal. Besides hating to clean out the garage on principal, these little buggers make it dangerous as well. Although I’m pretty sure I was bite by one once, even though it would have been classified as a “mild” reaction to a recluse bite it was the worst spider bite I’ve ever had in my life.

So little, so evil.

Vinagaroons- They are called whip scorpions because of their close resemblance to true scorpions. While they aren’t venomous they are disgusting and hard to tell apart from real scorpions when you are screaming and running away. Also they spray an acid that smells like vinegar out of their butts when threatened.

They legitimately look like monsters.

Child-of-the- Earth- Also known as Jerusalem Crickets may be one of the freakiest things on the planet. They aren’t crickets, they are kind of like cockroaches and they aren’t poisonous but ugh…. Just take a look for yourself.

This is what I imagine aliens from hell to look like.

Scorpions- They have claws, they have stingers, they have scary mouths, they are venomous. They are the reason that I was always taught to shake out my shoes when camping, swimming, anything that happens outdoors.

But they probably won’t kill you.

Black Widows– Again, another insect that everyone knows of. Their bites can be fatal to small children, but luckily they aren’t an aggressive spider so they’d rather run away than bite you. (Unless they are protecting their eggs.)

Most black widows don’t actually eat their mates after sex.

The Plague- You read that right. New Mexico is one of the last places in the US where the bubonic plague exists. New Mexico just can’t catch a break. One half of all plague cases each year are coming out of New Mexico. Luckily there haven’t been any cases in 2013 so far! Hooray for us!

However, 13% of plague cases out of NM in the past 20 years were fatal.
If you are in New Mexico, you may see signs like this.

But we also have your run-of-the-mill terrifying things like mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, and black bears.  What are the worst creatures where y’all are from?

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  • Maggie

    Not going to lie, I made it as far as “Worst morning ever” and then just scrolled to the bottom to tell you that I am feeling nauseous.
    I also caught the part about the plague without my eyes filling with tears, so that’s pretty insane. I had no idea that still existed. No wonder you can’t wait to get back to England!

  • jennifer

    That’s a lot of scary stuff in one place! I live in Indiana, and fortunately there aren’t *too* many scary critters here. We have brown recluse spiders, which can be pretty serious, but I’ll take that anyday over the creatures in this post!

  • You know I think you’re amazing and all, but I couldn’t read the whole post. I saw the tarantula looking thing and was not about to make it through the rest. Haha, sorry!

  • Julia @ It’s Always Ruetten

    Yuck! Keeping my doors and windows locked! Seeing just one of these would make me faint! But you are right, the rain was more than welcome!

    It’s Always Ruetten

  • Sarah

    You definitely convinced me NOT to go to New Mexico any time soon! Gross gross gross!

    Thanks for linking up with us, Amanda!

  • Jordan Shaner

    I live in California and I saw one of those jerusalem crickets and FREAKED out because I had never seen one before!! So creepy! And now I know that I will never be able to live in Arizona ever!



  • Rachael

    I’m dying right now!!! This makes me appreciate finding only a couple spiders per month in our house!! And I thought we had it bad. Eek!

  • Jordan Shaner

    ^^and by Arizona I meant New Mexico! Haha whoops! 😉

  • Bev Feldman

    Um, I may never go to New Mexico after reading this. Although I saw some of the craziest/disgusting bugs in the jungle of Peru (which, by the way, has these teeny tiny flies that carry leishmaniasis, aka flesh eating bacteria), and managed to make it out alive!

    Bev || Linkouture

  • Felicia E.

    That Tarantula Hawk Wasp is enough to give me nightmares for months. *shutter* And we won’t even talk about the spider….

    Found you via the Collective Blog Hop and am now a very excited new follower. Feel free to check me out at your leisure at

  • Cocalores

    Now I can make it official: I will never ever ever visit New Mexico. They could give away free chocolate and I still wouldn’t come 😉 Too bad, apart from the creepy crawlies it must be beautiful.
    Germany’s wildlife is kind of tame, luckily. All the insects are tiny, and the big animals are harmless – no bears, either, for example.
    Really interesting (and gross) to read all about that stuff!

  • okay i could talk about so many of those things, but omg …that wasp spider thing…that exists???? ugh…let us never speak of such things. shudder.

    Bonnie Rose | A Compass Rose

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