Perhaps you are out on a hike or camping—typically, the number one fear for those adventuring around the state is being attacked by a bear. Don't get me wrong, I fear that too, sometimes just walking to my garbage can.

Photo by mana5280 on Unsplash
Photo by mana5280 on Unsplash
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But there are a few more things the outdoor enthusiast should be aware of—especially when we've got a fair number of tourists coming to the area to accomplish things on their "Montana Bucket List," who are perhaps a bit naive.

Besides bears, these are three common things you should also be on the lookout for when visiting Montana.

Prairie Rattlesnake

This is the only venomous snake in Montana and is in the "Pit Viper" family. This is the snake that has the tail that "rattles," for those of you that may not be familiar. Growing up in an area where rattlesnakes were actually quite common, I recall a wooden plaque hanging in the basement of my grandparent's house that had all the tails of rattlesnakes that were killed on the farm.

Photo Credit: The Nature Conservancy
Photo Credit: The Nature Conservancy
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This is really the only snake in Montana that poses a serious threat. With a head shaped like a triangle and a body that is black, brown, and tan, the rattlesnake typically only strikes when it feels trapped.

Black Widow Spider

There is a reason this creepy crawly thing is called the Black Widow. The most common venomous spider in Montana, and it is deadly. You can find these little buggers in  long grass, irrigation ditches, and crawl spaces, just to list a couple. They typically won't bother you unless you touch them or come close to their babies. Their bite can lead to severe neurological responses.

Poison Hemlock

The only good thing about this plant is its beauty and as we have learned, it's what's on the inside that counts. We love to pick flowers, it's in our nature, but the Poison Hemlock has a brown liquid in it that will leak when the root is broken or cut.

Photo Credit: King County/Pinterest
Photo Credit: King County/Pinterest
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Symptoms that may occur if you were to come in contact with the brown liquid include increased spitting, dilation of the pupils, muscle spasms, seizures, and eventually coma (just to list a few). Ultimately, if you were to cut this plant and then ingest it from your hands by accident, you could face death within 15 minutes.

Whether you are hiking, working in the field, or taking the pup for a walk, these three things are definitely worth watching out for.

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