The most famous Chinese animal has to be the Giant Panda. Who hasn’t longed to see a Panda up close and give it a cuddle? Well, they may look cuddly but they can be dangerous and may bite you if you get too close. You have been warned! The Panda population is a lot less than the human population, so the chances of you coming across one in the wild are slim. So we thought we would tell you about some other dangerous animals in China – see how many you know.
First, if you don’t know much about China we can tell you that it is the most populous country in the world. Situated in Asia the current population is over 1.4 billion. That’s a lot of people. However, being the third-largest country means that you won’t be spending all your time jostling for space with the Chinese and other travelers. Away from the cities, there are plenty of open spaces where you can be at one with nature.
Nature might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of China. Maybe you are more likely to think of The Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City – to name just a few of the most famous Chinese attractions. Did you know that over fifty million travelers flock to China every year? This makes it the fourth-most visited country after France, the United States, and Spain! But nature there is, and along with this comes wildlife, some deadly. So, onto our list of dangerous animals in China.
QUESTION: Which animal was gifted by China to other countries in an attempt at political diplomacy? Answer at the end!
The Chinese Cobra
The Chinese Cobra is the most widespread venomous snake in China. Mainly located in Southern China, this cobra can adapt to pretty much any terrain, most likely in rural areas, although unlikely to be found in dense forests. If you are near rice fields then watch out as they are known to be at home here. You will probably recognize them from the hood-like shape around their head.
If you come across a cobra displaying its hood, it is on alert and on the defense so move away! Some cobras have developed the ability to spit their venom up to a couple of meters, so really, move right away. If you get bitten by a Chinese Cobra you need to get the antivenom as soon as you can. Apart from pain, symptoms from the snake venom include:
- loss of feeling in limbs
- difficulty breathing.
*Necrosis is the death of body tissue. You don’t want this to happen. If you survive a bite from one of these snakes you can suffer the after-effects of necrosis for years.
The Many-Banded Krait is a highly venomous snake in central and south China. It is of the same genus as the Indian Krait. As dangerous as they are – the Hong Kong government even describes them as “lethal” – they are an endangered species in China. This means it is illegal to hurt them or to sell them. A woman from northwestern China died from a bite after she bought one of these snakes to keep as a pet.
Appearance-wise, they have white and black bands down the length of their body with a length of around one and a half meters. Like the Chinese Cobra, they can live in varied habitats including rice fields, woodlands, and even the suburbs.
If you are bitten by a Many-Banded Krait, the effects may not appear straight away leading to the assumption that nothing is wrong. When they do appear, you may suffer nausea and pain, eventually leading to paralysis so it is critical that you get medical help as soon as you think you have been bitten.
Chinese Green Tree Viper
This species of snake has a distinctive bright green color (the clue’s in the name) and is quite small – at under ninety centimeters long. Their bellies are usually a lighter green or may even be golden or white. They tend to be active at night and during the day can be found in trees with their tails coiled around branches. Their snack of choice is lizards and frogs.
The Green Tree Viper snake slithers slowly but can be aggressive if disturbed. Though the venom is not strong compared to the other snakes we have talked about, they have long fangs meaning the venom penetrates deeper into your skin. They may be slow movers but they are fast biters. Symptoms of a bite include:
- severe pain
- necrosis (the flesh surrounding the wound dies almost immediately)
- organ damage.
They like to live in forests and they are fond of water so will often be found near streams. You know what to do if you are unlucky enough to be bitten by a Chinese Green Tree Viper – get to a hospital as soon as you can.
FUN FACT: A baby snake is called a snakelet.
Asian Black Bears
These black bears live in the forests of northeastern China. They are omnivores and will happily feed on nuts, seeds, insects, and small mammals, sometimes fish. They will also kill larger animals such as dear and wild boar.
Despite their varied diet, they are smaller than the black bears found in the United States and adult males rarely exceed 440lbs in weight. Asian Black Bears have a distinctive white patch on their chest. Their ears are pretty unique as well, they are quite round and stick out on the side of their head.
As well as being one of the most dangerous animals in China, they are an endangered species. Regardless of this they are still hunted in China for medicine and are known for their aggression towards humans (who can blame them?). They may attack without warning and will use their huge claws and teeth to deadly effect.
Having said this, they won’t go out of their way to find you, so if you are hiking in an area known for bears then make noise as you go – talk loudly for example. This way the bear will know you are there and will probably avoid you. If the worst happens and you come face to face with a bear then follow the advice listed for bears here to increase your chances of survival.
These giant spiders are a species of Old World Tarantula mainly found in southern China including the island of Hainan, the southernmost point. They enjoy hanging out in the tropical rain forests here. Not to concern you, if you are visiting these parts, but this venomous spider has a leg span of around twenty centimeters with thick hairy legs and bodies, making them appear even larger.
Their diet consists of small animals and insects, and not birds, as the name implies. They are highly venomous and small amounts of the Bird Spider venom will kill small animals such as rats. They are grumpy arachnids that can move fast and will almost certainly bite you if you disturb them. The bite may be painful, though the effect of their venom on a human is not widely known, it’s going to be nasty so get to a hospital as soon as you can. It certainly looks like one of the more dangerous animals in China, and it is possible that you will die from a heart attack just from seeing this spider!
WEIRD FACT: Some people like to keep the giant Bird Spider as a pet. Don’t ask us why!
Chinese Red Head Centipede
You might not typically think of centipedes as dangerous, but this species of centipede was responsible for the death of a young girl, in the Philippines. They are also known by other names such as the Giant Centipede and the Jungle Centipede. Known to be living in a couple of places in the south of China, if you are bitten by a Red Head Centipede you can expect to suffer these symptoms:
- severe pain.
An antidote to the venom of this centipede was found by Chinese scientists in 2018. So while this centipede bite is more likely to just be extremely painful rather than lethal, the advice is to seek medical attention if the victim is very young, very old, or immunocompromised.
You will recognize one from their brown body and red head. Although one of their other names is the Giant Centipede, they are only about twenty centimeters long.
Asian Giant Hornet
Also known as Murder Hornets in the United States, the Asian Giant Hornet delivers toxic venom via a nasty and very painful sting. They are by far the largest and deadliest species of the wasp family. Around four and a half centimeters in length, they are brown with shades of orange on their head, and brown and orange stripes on their abdomen. These hornets like to live in forests and mountains, though not at high altitudes, and can be found throughout Asia.
The stinger is six millimeters long which might not sound like much but as you’ll read below it is long enough to cause damage. If you are wondering what a Giant Hornet sting feels like, Shunichi Makino will tell you it feels like being “stabbed by a red-hot needle”.
In 2013 they were responsible for the deaths of forty-one people in the Shaanxi Province of southeast China. The biggest cause of death was anaphylactic shock. Each person had multiple stings. It is rare for death to be attributed to a single sting. In the case of one sting, you should just suffer pain and swelling for a period of days. But if you get stung multiple times that could be deadly and you need to find a hospital right away.
You might be surprised that dogs have made it onto our list of the most dangerous animals in China, but according to statistics, Rabies accounts for more deaths every year than all of the above animals combined. The number of deaths in China in 2019 from rabies was 276. Infected dogs pass Rabies on to humans through biting.
If these numbers surprise you, it is actually easy to understand why so many dog bites occur. The number of homeless dogs in China is high. It might be tempting to approach them and try to stroke them, but as heartbreaking as it is to see animals on the streets it is almost always best to keep your distance. They may look sweet but you don’t know what diseases they could be carrying and if they are going to be aggressive.
If you do get bitten by a stray dog watch out for these symptoms:
- a general feeling of illness/flu-like symptoms
- pain around the bite
- progressively feeling worse leading to…
At the first sign of these symptoms seek medical advice.
Asian Tiger Mosquitoes
As with dogs, mosquitoes may not immediately come to mind when thinking of dangerous animals in China, but they are the cause of one million deaths every year. That makes this animal one of the smallest yet deadliest killers of humans. Normally associated with rural locations they are also found in built-up areas.
They pass diseases to humans by biting the skin. We are all familiar with that tell-tale itch and that annoying buzzing around our heads as soon as we try and sleep.
Asian Tiger Mosquitoes are thought to have originated in Southeast Asia before spreading to other locations such as the south of China. They carry diseases including Dengue fever and West Nile Virus. Also, the Zika virus for which there currently is no vaccine and which could affect pregnant women and their unborn child.
The Chinese have been running experiments in recent years that appear to be successful in helping to eradicate this species of mosquito.
Does China have poisonous spiders?
Yes, China has several poisonous spiders. As well as the Bird Spider we discussed above, there is its relative, the Golden Earth Tiger, and also the Chinese Wolf spider. While both the Bird Spider and Golden Earth spider live in the south, the Chinese Wolf spider can be found in regions in the northwest.
Are there tigers in China?
There are tigers left in China but the majority are not in the wild if indeed any are left in the wild at all. Hunting and loss of habitat have both contributed to the tiger’s decline. There are some captive South China tigers in facilities including zoos. There is a small possibility that there are a few wild Amur or Siberian tigers remaining in the wild but if there are, for how much longer they can survive, who knows?
Does China have venomous snakes?
Yes, we have already mentioned three. As if that wasn´t enough, there are sixty-three more species of venomous snakes in China! Of all the snakes in all of China, there are thought to be 20,000 of them living on an island called Shedao Island. You might want to scrub that off your destination list.
Summing up the dangerous animals in China
So after all that, it seems as though the mosquito is one of the most dangerous animals in China and accounts for the most deaths! Did that surprise you? If you know what to look out for on your travels then you can help yourself stay safe. It might be rare for any of these dangerous animals to actually kill a human but it’s good to be aware. Which one scares you the most? Now check out the answer to the question we asked at the beginning…
ANSWER: Several countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Taiwan, have received Pandas as gifts from China.