If you’re planning a trip of a lifetime to south-east Asia’s beach-rich nation of Thailand aka the Land of Smiles, anytime soon, the last thing on your mind will be any chancy creatures that may be lurking in the bushes…
This beautiful country, with its decadent array of flora and fauna, entices around 25 million travellers of every nationality each year, thanks to its clear seas, white sandy beaches, and relaxed pace of life. And this diverse country offers a little bit of everything to those adventurers, from its picturesque islands and bustling cities to thick jungle rainforests as well as providing sprawling national parks in the inner cities.
The country of Thailand offers travellers gorgeous beaches, literally dozens of limestone karst islands, incredible coral reefs and some of the world’s most excellent diving. And, if you venture further inland, you’ll also find its rich jungles sprinkled with gold-topped temples, amazing rubber plantations, enviable hiking trails and incredible ethical elephant sanctuaries. What’s not to love?
However, this jaw-dropping destination is also home to a staggering 10% of the world’s mammals, birds and reptiles- and some of them are extremely dangerous to us mere mortals. So, with a combination of Thailand’s exotic animals to its unique birds, as well as its deadly snakes in Thailand, incredible but dangerous wildlife is abundant for you nature lovers to see, which includes a large number of dangerous animals – and we’re not talking about the backpackers!
Dangerous Animals in Thailand
Snakes in Thailand
Dangerous snakes found in Thailand aren’t unusual – there are about 200 species of snakes in Thailand, and the vast majority of them aren’t poisonous snakes at all.
However, Thailand is renowned for its poisonous and dangerous snakes, which include the common cobra snake, monocled cobras, the king cobra, the chain viper, the banded krait, the green viper, the Malayan viper, the spitting cobras, and the venomous pit vipers – and these are just for snake starters.
If there’s a bit of grass or undergrowth, there’s an excellent chance that there are lurking snakes, and even in the city parks or the hotel gardens, poisonous snakes in very close proximity. The good news is that most of them will slither away if they see you coming. But, the not such good news is that if you stand on one, you could be in serious trouble. Dangerous snakes such as the spitting cobra are capable of spraying venom into your eyes from literally three meters away, so if you see a snake, it’s a really good idea to give it a wide berth, as their venom is highly potent, and so it’s advisable to run away – fast – to avoid these nasty snake bites. The genuinely dangerous snakes, especially the king cobras and pit vipers, will not try to escape. They will attack you. Simple.
Although the relatively rare king cobra coral snakes can reach up to 6m in length, they are easy to detect as they keep their heads raised and have a hood under their head. The Baby King Cobra is also a poisonous snake to look out for as they have loads of venom and can be more deadly than the adults.
This incredible nation’s largest snake is actually the reticulated python, which can reach a whopping 10m long – and so, is definitely one to avoid. Still, it’s not as deadly as the Monocled cobra, which is the most toxic of all the snakes. At 7 feet long, this snake is surprisingly agile, and the snake will target their prey to strike at. The victims of these snakes tend to have the highest mortality rate, as they are aggressive snakes that lash out when they feel threatened.
Snake bites are not pleasant. So, if you do get bitten, immediately head to the hospital for an anti-venom jab.
Giant centipedes can be found in Thailand’s urban spaces as well as forests. These giant centipedes can grow enormous, and if it rains heavily, they are like to come indoors to avoid drowning – if the centipedes can’t escape, they will bite. The centipede’s bite doesn’t kill but can cause serious pain. Thailand is home to poisonous snakes, scorpions, centipedes as well as jellyfish – but the centipede is probably the hardest to spot. These centipedes include the Asian forest centipede and the Chinese red-headed centipede – they can all be found in damp places, so best to avoid. Their bite is similar to a snake’s.
Surprisingly, sharks aren’t a problem in Thai waters, so jellyfish are the most dangerous animal you are likely to come across while swimming. It’s a good idea to avoid swimming during overcast periods or after storms, as the strong sun is dangerous to jellyfish, and they won’t come close to shore in good weather. If you are stung, remove any jelly from the skin carefully and bathe with vinegar, if available. Jellyfish are one of the most poisonous creatures globally. The box jellyfish has almost transparent tentacles and the trail between two and three metres behind its body, making it a severe threat to swimmers who don’t notice them in the water.
Jellyfish release venom from their stingers into the victim’s body which then triggers a chemical reaction that attacks the nervous system and the victim’s heart. Box jellyfish are hazardous animals in Thailand.
Deadly coral in coastal waters is also a dangerous animal in Thailand, as they can be razor-sharp and can cause nasty cuts. Living coral can actually cause poisonous stings similar to jellyfish. The waters of the Thailand coast are home to some seriously dangerous sea creatures.
Mosquitoes can be dangerous, but in reality, for most of us, they are really just an irritation. They can be responsible for spreading diseases such as dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, lymphatic filariasis, and malaria.
The Black Scorpions in Thailand are just like centipedes in that they can be found all over the place. Scorpions have venomous stings. However, it is so mild it’s like a sting of a bee or a wasp. However, some people develop a dangerous allergic reaction. Scorpions look scary, but their sting isn’t life-threatening. However, if you do encounter one, and if they do sting you, it’s advisable to head to the hospital to avoid any complications, and you will be treated with anti-venom and anti-tetanus for the pain. Scorpions like to hide in your clothing that you may have left on the beach or in your hotel – it’s always best to check before you get dressed.
The Scorpionfish are also found in the sea and are great at camouflaging themselves due to the markings of their bodies. They can cause nasty stings with their venom, so it’s advisable to try and avoid an encounter with one, as they can be very aggressive and can seriously hurt you.
Rockfish have stings on their body, which they use to inject venom into the body of their prey. Their venom is not deadly for humans, but if you get stung, it will be excruciating. Their sting may cause numbness, swelling, and bleeding. If untreated, it may get worse and result in seizures, vomiting and breathing problems. Rockfish can swim to the shore and stay without water for a few hours. So, if you find one of these dangerous animals on a beach, stay away from it.
Red Lionfish are another venomous sea animal that you may come across in Thailand. Also known as a dragonfish, it has beautiful red and yellow stripes on it, which is misleading. This fish has 18 poisonous dorsal fins, and they tend to target animals of prey and carefree travellers. Their poisonous venom is not fatal but may be very painful and cause sickness if you’re unlucky enough to encounter one in the sea.
You might be shocked to learn this, but street dogs are a significant problem for most tourists in Thailand and are thought of as dangerous animals because of the risk of rabies. Street dogs, or Soi dogs as they are known in Thailand, are dogs that have been abandoned by people and have been left to roam wild. There’s a disturbing 7,30,000 soi dogs out of the 8.5 million dogs in Thailand. These dangerous animals can cause serious health implications, as they can be found everywhere, and if threatened, they may attack and bite. Rabies is very widespread in Thailand, and these dogs tend to spread it, so ensure you are careful if you come across one of these really dangerous animals in Thailand.
Thailand is home to a large variety of dangerous wild monkeys. The most commonly found are the macaque. Macaques may look sweet, but they can be very aggressive animals. There are reports of monkey attacks and humans being bitten throughout the entire year in Thailand, and these bites can be nasty. Most Thailand monkeys will try to get a treat from you, which can be scary sometimes, especially for children, as they are exceptional at stealing things and ripping open the packaging. The Thai government has put up signs warning people to beware of these aggressive monkeys to decrease any threat of bites. If you are bitten by a monkey, go to a hospital immediately because, like dogs, monkeys are also spread deadly rabies.
Leeches are also a very common threat in Thailand, in the sea, and inland, and are thought of as one of the most dangerous animals in Thailand. They are found in still waters and wet vegetation, and if they detect a disturbance in the water, they’ll swim towards it.
Once coming into contact with your skin, they’ll attach themselves and start sucking your skin. These little leeches have a lethal sucker and a little head that probes and penetrates your skin. They use their tiny sharp teeth to open your skin up, and then the head probes penetrate it and start sucking your blood which can be extremely painful. They can suck and store your blood until they become seven times the size of their own bodies. If you’re near any water, you should be aware that leeches are likely to be there too.
Staphylinidae beetles are members of the Rove Beetle clan and are recognizable by their short wings that don’t cover their abdomen. In Thailand, these beetles are very common, and although they don’t bite or sting, if they come into contact with humans, they can cause painful skin irritations.
These beetles produce coelomic fluid, which irritates and blisters your skin. The irritation doesn’t appear immediately after contact – it may take up to 24 hours to notice the painful redness, and the worst part is that the blisters spread all over the human body. However, suppose the rash travels to the eyes or genitals. In that case, it can lead to serious problems, so don’t wait to consult a doctor as you may also be able to find tropical medicine from a local pharmacy.
Ants are another little creature that may look harmless but can cause you allergic reactions if you get stung by their nasty poison. In Thailand, there are more species of ants than anywhere else in the world. The larger ones will happily bite a human and can cause irritation and swelling. But it’s the tiniest ones which are the more dangerous, as they release allergens and poison on biting.
Some caterpillars can be very dangerous in Thailand – they may look beautiful and harmless, but you should be aware that you could be seriously hurt if you get bitten. These tiny insects have brightly coloured bodies that are covered with tiny, poisonous hair. These caterpillars eject their venomous hair into the surroundings, and if you get into contact with them, you may experience a nasty irritation and some pain. Some species are so dangerous that just their hair can kill smaller animals they come into contact with.
Dangerous Animals in Thailand
There are many dangerous animals in Thailand, as there are all over the world. If you visit this beautiful country, just be sensible, and try and prevent encounters with scary beasts by using your common sense, as most bites are caused by human error and could have been avoided!