Five Creatures that Will Kill You

Worrying about what could go wrong shouldn't keep you from getting outside this summer. Risk is a part of life, after all. But beware: some outdoor critters have their sights set on taking you down should you get on their nerves. Here are five of them.

Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis)
Where to Find It: Dens, under rocks, houses, or any other place a snake can fit in open, arid country. This is the only venomous snake in Montana.
What It Does: It bites—hard. Through its fangs, venom shoots into the bloodstream.
How to Prevent An Ass-Kicking: Listen for the rattle and keep your distance. Avoid reaching into dark places. If you’re bitten, you’ll know it.
Treatment: Stay calm and avoid physical exertion, which increases the venom’s absorption rate. There are countless home remedies, but we recommend a hospital. Keep the bite site below your heart and drive fast.

Rocky Mountain Wood Tick (Dermacentor andersoni)
Where to Find It: Densely wooded areas and long grass during the spring months.
What It Does: Latches on in hopes of gorging itself on your blood. Some carry Rickettsia rickettsii, the bacteria associated with Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which is transmitted via the bite.
How to Prevent An Ass-Kicking: Wear tick repellent, pants, and long sleeves. Within a week, the bacteria will move through your bloodstream, causing nausea, muscle fatigue, fever, and a spotted rash.
Treatment: If you notice symptoms, get on antibiotics. If not treated immediately, the fever can be fatal.

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor)
Where to Find It: Mountains, but may roam the city in search of prey. Most active at dusk.
What It Does: Like your tabby cat, it’ll stalk its prey and then pounce. Between its claws and teeth, this 100+ pound cat doesn’t have any problems taking down a 400+ pound elk… in fact it’s quite common.
How to Prevent An Ass-Kicking: Stand upright and face the cougar. Make a lot of noise and if attacked, fight back. Never run. At night, wear an extra headlamp facing backward. Light will easily blind a mountain lion and deter it from stalking you.
Treatment: Stop the bleeding and get to a hospital.

Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos)
Where to Find It: If you’re in the western Montana mountains, chances are you’re in bear country.
What It Does: Grizzlies generally avoid contact with humans, but if one feels threatened, it attacks. Sometimes weighing over 800 pounds and deceivingly fast, a griz can make short work of a human.
How to Prevent An Ass-Kicking: Carry bear spray and store your food—whether that means a bear canister or hanging it out of reach. More often than not a griz will avoid your camp unless you give it a reason to snoop around. If you encounter an aggressive bear, stand up tall and stay calm. Wait for it to get within 30 feet of you. Then let the spray fly.
Treatment: After the brawl, stop any bleeding and get to a hospital.

Suburban Flat-Lander (Terrifiedus idiotus)
Where to Find It: Driving the wrong way down Babcock, or dragging a yapping Pomeranian up the easy trail to the M.
What It Does: Cuts you off in traffic, or gives disapproving glances as you and your unleashed dog careen past on the trail. Impact often results in severe indignation and threats of a lawsuit.
How to Prevent An Ass-Kicking: Keep your distance from the Lexus creeping 10 miles an hour down Bridger Canyon Road. If hiking, avoid gapers with unwrinkled cotton jackets and thick, pasty legs panting up the 10-degree slope. Slow down to avoid alarming the beast and initiating a harsh verbal rebuke.
Treatment: Breathe deeply. Remind yourself that these creatures are a necessary part of the ecosystem, even if you don’t understand why or where they fit in. Make a friendly gesture (at least two fingers) and move on.