dangerous animals in arkansas

Dangerous animals in Arkansas

The Natural State is known for many things like great camping, amazing hiking trails and scenic views but one thing people often overlook are the dangerous animals in Arkansas.

Most of the dangerous animals in Arkansas want to stay away from you as much as you want to stay away from them. They don’t come hunting for you and they have no interest in tangling with you either. It’s important to remember to stay out of their way and let them have their space.

Dangerous Animals in Arkansas

When you are out enjoying the Ozark National Forest, the Ouachita National Forest or maybe just doing a little camping, keep your eyes open and stay vigilant.

Bears

You may be pleased to know that Arkansas does not have grizzly bears. However, we are home to black bears. It is currently estimated that there are over 3,000 black bears in our forests. (source)

Black bears used to be very abundant in Arkansas. However, due to over-harvesting and habitats being cut down for farmland, by the 1930s, Arkansas was home to less than 50 black bears.

Thankfully, that isn’t the case anymore.

“Recovery of black bears in Arkansas represents one of the most successful re-introductions of a large carnivore ever achieved. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission successfully reintroduced 254 black bears from Minnesota and Manitoba, Canada, into the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains of Arkansas between 1958 and 1968. With the help of regulated hunting and habitat improvements in the Interior Highlands region of Arkansas (Figure 2), black bear populations have increased.” -source

Read all about them here: Does Arkansas Have Bears?

Venomous snakes

Arkansas is also home to 6 types of venomous snakes.

Here in the Natural State you will find copperheads, cottonmouth, Texas coral snakes, western diamondback rattlesnakes, Western pygmy rattlesnakes and Timber rattlesnakes.

You can read all about them here: What are the poisonous snakes in Arkansas?

I was raised to think that the only good snakes are dead snakes. Let’s keep in mind that, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, it is illegal to kill any snake. The only exception to the law is if the snake “poses a reasonable threat or endangerment to persons or property.” –source

You will also like: Watch out! There are rattlesnakes in Arkansas!

Coyotes

Arkansas is also home to coyotes. Coyotes are less dangerous to humans than they are to our pets. Typically, coyotes are not aggressive towards humans.

However, it is important to remember that coyotes are wild animals and it would be a bad idea to try to approach one.

“[Coyotes] are found in every county in Arkansas, but this was not always the case. The coyote was originally found in the more open areas of western Arkansas but with changing agricultural practices, such as clearing of timber lands and creation of more open lands, the coyote extended its range to the central part of the state by the early 1950s and over the entire state by the early 1960s.” -source

You may also wonder: Is it legal to kill coyotes in Arkansas?

Bobcats

Bobcats live statewide in Arkansas. Thankfully, they aren’t usually interested in humans. Bobcats tend to be shy and desire to live in the background. They are quite elusive. They prefer to mind their own business and stay out of the way.

Bobcats generally feed on small prey such as rats, rabbits, mice and squirrels.

“Deer, mostly carrion, are eaten in the fall and winter in conjunction with the deer hunting season. Although capable of killing a deer, they mainly go for easier prey.” -source

Generally speaking, if you leave a bobcat alone, he will leave you alone too. There isn’t really a need to fear that you are going to be attacked by bobcat on an epic Arkansas hiking trail but it is important to stay aware and respectful of these animals.

Brown Recluse Spiders

Now, here is an Arkansas “animal” that grosses me out. I am not a huge fan of spiders. I don’t even like the granddaddy long legs that live in Arkansas and they are completely harmless.

A Brown Recluse Spider is different though.

“The Brown Recluse Spider (Loxosceles reclusa) belongs to the genus Loxosceles. They are also known as fiddle-back or violin spiders. Recluse spiders are a venomous genus of spider known for their venomous necrotic (death of cells and living tissue) bite.” -source

As their name implies, the Brown Recluse Spider prefers to be reclusive. Often, they will be found in unused areas of your home such as a closet you rarely open or the guest bedroom that doesn’t get used as often as you would like.

Don’t even get me started on the garage.

Thankfully, just like the other dangerous animals in Arkansas, Brown Recluse Spiders will not seek you out. Generally people get bitten by them after they reach into a cardboard box that hasn’t been opened for a while or dig through a rarely used linen closet.

Alligators

Alligators have lived in Arkansas for thousands of years. Generally, they can be found in the southern third of the state. However, their is one alligator that is known to live in a sanctuary in the Arkansas River Valley.

dangerous animals in Arkansas - photo of Alligator in Southern Arkansas
Alligator in Southern Arkansas. Photo credit: Jeff Gray

Want to learn more about Arkansas alligators and where you can see them?

Read more here: [THE TRUTH] Are There Alligators in Arkansas?

Don’t be afraid of the dangerous animals in Arkansas

I know it sounds a little crazy to suggest that you shouldn’t be afraid of the dangerous animals in Arkansas but the point here is that humans are not on the menu for these animals.

They want to live their lives in peace away from us.

You will also like: Snipe Hunting in Arkansas – They’re Real!

Related articles