…at least you don’t live in America! As camping season commences, we thought we’d take a look at the worst dangers you’ll face, both here at home and in the country of our benevolent overlords. Turns out, the Yanks have it far, far worse. Look, we’ll prove it:
Hairy caterpillars can be a real nuisance on U.K. campsites, releasing nasty little hairs as a defence mechanism that precipitate rashes, itchiness and eye and throat problems. Over in America, meanwhile, scorpions can grow up to 20 centimetres, have eight legs, a pair of pincers and a narrow tail punctuated by an incredibly sinister-looking, venomous stinger. And 25 different species of them can actually kill you.
If you poke fun at a cow too boisterously on a ramble—or allow your dog off its lead in their vicinity—they will stampede, and they don’t care if they end you while they’re at it (they kill approximately one person per year in the U.K. by doing so). Bears in the U.S., however, are preternaturally aggressive. Bumble into their territory—with or without a dog—and they’ll chase you at speeds of up to 40mph, catch you and slice you up using their 5-inch long, lethally sharp claws. You only have a 67 percent chance of surviving a bear attack, even if you shoot it with a gun. Yikes.
One of two wild carnivores in the U.K.— the other is the badger—foxes, acting alone, will sneak up on you at night to gnaw your unwanted T-Bone or poo in your hiking boots. There has only ever been one documented incident of foxes attacking humans. Wolves, though, stalk America’s national parks in snarling, well- drilled packs: The more of them there are, the more likely they are to attack humans. If they do take displeasure with you, expect repeated bites to the head and face, then to be dragged off some distance away to be hurriedly consumed, starting with your abdominal cavity.
If you quietly left your group to poo in the hole you dug behind your campsite and somehow cornered an adder—the only venomous
snake in the British Isles—you may receive a painful nip from its 1-centimetre fangs, but it’s doubtful you’d cark it (there’s only been 14 recorded deaths from adder bites since 1876, and none in the last 40 years). America’s rattlesnakes, however, not only carry around sinister rattles, hiss a lot and strike at prey purposefully with a raised head, they inject venom that’s extremely potent, resulting in temporary and/or permanent tissue and muscle damage, loss of an extremity (depending on where you get bitten), savage internal bleeding and unbearable pain at the point of entry. Oh, and death. Whoop.