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Gdansk, Poland

Grand Canyon National Park

Dangerous insects/ Poisonous plants in South Grand Canyon


I'm going to South Grand Canyon in early October. I'm thinking of taking some of the above the Rim trails (because of my dog).

Does anyone of you know if the trails are safe in terms of venomous snakes/spiders or insects? Also do you know of any poisonous plants we should stay away from?

In case there is some danger, what should I use (sprays, creams?) to protect myself against it.

I've read that Arizona is the venomous animal capitol of the United States so I want to stay away from them as far as possible on our hikes ;)

I'd appreciate any recommendations!

Thank you :)

1 Answer

top answer by
Don from Albuquerque

Here is an excellent video from the Park Service about animals and insects you may typically encounter in the Grand Canyon and what to do to protect yourself:

Here is an excellent article also provided by the park service on the same subject:

Generally speaking, your encounters with any sort of wildlife will be rare if you stick to well traveled Grand Canyon Rim Trails. Most creatures will avoid humans unless they have become comfortable with being fed by humans. That's why you should never feed wild animals or leave food behind.  

In the years I spent living in Arizona , I have seen wild javelina, lizards of all types, deer, elk, and more in various parks and preserves.. Generally they will keep a respectful distance from you and pose no threat if you respect that. I have never seen a single rattlesnake in that time. 

Generally speaking, whenever you are in wilderness areas, never place your hands or feet where you cannot see first. Rattlesnakes, scorpions, or black widow spiders may be sheltered there.

Here is a quote from Antelope Canyon  tour company regarding wildlife in that area: 

"Antelope Canyon Flora and Fauna

There is not much plant and animal life in the slot canyons. Although bugs, bats and the occasional Antelope would take refuge here, a large number of visitors and a lack of sun and water keep most life away. The Navajo also take a quick walk through each morning to chase out any lingering rattlesnakes." -

If there is one plant you should be aware of, it is the "jumping" Cholla cactus that pretty much is found everywhere in Arizona (and I do mean everywhere). It is not poisonous, but its tiny needle-like barbs attach very easily to anything that brushes by and they can be very painful to remove. Many Arizonan's keep a small pair of pliers and a comb handy just in cast that happens. Wearing long pants and keeping a healthy distance will keep you from the nuisance of having to pull the barbs of these persistent little cacti from your skin. Generally, in Arizona deserts, if it looks sharp and prickly, it probably is. Just don't touch it.

Here's a good article on cholla cactus:

Here's a good video on how to remove cholla cactus from your clothes or skin:

This may all sound a bit forbidding, but it really isn't. With the few common sense tips offered by the park service you will be able to enjoy the southwest without incident. 


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