Sure there are all sorts of cute and cuddly animals in Illinois, but there are also plenty of dangerous ones that you need to avoid on your next nature hike.

Illinois is home to over 60 species of mammals and 450 types of birds, and many, many more insects, reptiles, fish, and other animals that can get you when you least expect it.

The Most Dangerous Animals In Illinois

While the state is famous for its Bears, Cubs, Bulls, and Blackhawks, maybe future teams should look to these animals in the Land of Lincoln to invoke fear into their opponents.

7 - Bison

American Buffalo.

While the Great American Bison does not roam the plains as it did 200 years ago, more bison are being brought back to Illinois land.

They can be very dangerous as bison can weigh up to a ton, are fast, and have horns to gore you with.  So while number 7 on this list is not going to eat you like a Florida shark, it's going to tramble, gore, and crush you to death with its massive strength.

6 - Copperhead Snake

Osage Copperhead found in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
stephen bowling

When you think of venomous snakes you mostly think of those roaming the desserts of America.  But Illinois is no stranger to their bite.

The copperhead bite can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or labored breathing.  Not something you want on your next camping trip when you go to the southern one-third of Illinois.

5 - Striped Back Scorpion


Another animal you'd expect in Arizona, but not in Illinois.  But yes, there are scorpions in the wild in Illinois.

However, the Illinois DNR does stress that they are very rare in the state.  So rare in fact that they don't disclose where they are located because they have become a popular animal in the pet trade.

4 - Cougars

Cougar growling displaying teeth. Photographed in Minnesota USA.

Now this feels more like an Illinois animal.

While they are rare in Illinois, the sightings are becoming more popular as cougars continue to spread out of their normal areas.  Wild Life Illinois says if you do have one of these encounters do not run.  That is more likely to surprise the animal which will cause it to attack.  If it does attack, don't play dead.  Give a try to fight it off.

3 - Black Widow and Brown Recluse Spider

Black Widow

Two of the most venomous spiders in all of North America, the Black Widow Spider and the Brown Recluse Spider are both found in homes, barns, walls, basically, anywhere they can stay protected and call home.

While right now their range is mostly confined to Southern Illinois, due to warming temperatures they continue to crawl, slowly, and creepily, to the north side of the state.

2 - Coyote


Coyotes can be found in every area of Illinois.  And with expanding cities, the coyote is becoming an animal that is having more human encounters.

While the coyote can be dangerous to humans, its main danger is to our pets.  Other smaller dogs and definitely cats can be in danger as coyotes are looking to eat.

1- Timber Rattlesnake

Timber rattlesnake up close,crotalus horribus

The timber rattlesnake venom is powerful enough to kill a human.  The snake can be found throughout all of Southern Illinois.  But, according to the Illinois DNR it "may be found in those Illinois counties that border the Mississippi River and that have forested river bluffs."  That hits close to home.

So as you get ready for spring and summer activities in Illinois, keep in mind you are not alone out there.  Just know, most of these animals are more afraid of you than you are of them...most of the time.

States with the most registered hunters

Stacker analyzed data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine which states have the most registered hunters. Read on to see how your state ranks on Stacker’s list.

LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.


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