The 10 Most Dangerous Animals in Utah Guide (2023)

Utah is a beautiful state with diverse landscapes and climates. However, along with the unique beauty of the state, there are a variety of dangerous animals in Utah. From mountains perfect for hiking and camping to the majestic national parks near the southern portion of the state, there is endless territory to explore. While it’s tempting to snap a close-up pic of the many animals and reptiles found throughout the state, proceed with caution. If you plan on exploring the great outdoors of Utah, knowing the wild creatures you’re likely to encounter is a great place to start.

Dangerous Wildlife in Utah

Utah is the thirteenth largest state in the country, covering 84, 914 square miles. The state comprises three major geographic regions: the Rocky Mountains, the Basin and Ridge Region, and the Colorado Plateau. These areas include animals such as the Rocky Mountain elk, Desert bighorn sheep, coyotes, and mountain lions just to name a few.

Some of the wildlife causing the most injuries and deaths in the state of Utah may very much surprise you. It isn’t always the lions, tigers, and bears that you need to be afraid of.

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Poisonous Animals in Utah

When you think about what animals in Utah are poisonous, you would probably expect a fairly short list. However, taking into consideration the various snakes, lizards, spiders, and insects that have poisonous venom, the list is a hefty one. Scorpions, rattlesnakes, brown recluse spiders, blister beetles, and the hobo spider are just a few of the poisonous creatures found in the Beehive state.

10 Most Dangerous Animals in Utah

We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 most dangerous animals you might encounter in Utah. Starting with the most dangerous and working the way down, these animals are the ones to be cautious of:

  1. American Black Bear

You may be surprised to hear that there are over 4000 black bears living in the state of Utah. While these large predators won’t attack humans as food, they will charge the moment they feel threatened, especially if their cubs are involved. Bear attacks in Utah are rare but when they do happen, they cause severe injury and even death.

There can be quite a bit of confusion around what to do if you do encounter a black bear. We used to believe that playing dead or curling into the fetal position was the safest way to defend oneself. However, the best thing is to stand your ground. Don’t back away or lie down. Remain calm and see if the bear chooses to ignore your presence and move on.

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Never run away or climb a tree because chances are the bear is a better climber and faster runner than you are. Always hike and camp with bear spray that is easily accessible.

  1. Moose

Moose can seem harmless due to their wide bodies and large antlers, not to mention the way they are portrayed in cartoon form. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. They appear grand and serene when spotted in the

wild but should never be approached. Moose are extremely aggressive and move much faster than you might think. Too many people assume they are friendly and either want to get a closer look or try to pet them like a horse. If you happen to encounter a moose in the wild, keep your distance and look for signs of aggression. This would include lowering their head as if to charge, licking their snout, and noticing if their ears are pinned back. Moose attacks result in being stomped or sat on and being gored by their antlers. It never ends pretty. It’s also important to note that Moose are aggravated by dogs. So leave your furry friends at home when in Utah moose territory.

  1. Rattlesnake

If you live in Utah, you know the dreaded sound of a rattle and a hiss along a hiking trail. Even though rattlesnakes try to remain illusive when it comes to humans, once you enter their habitat, all bets are off. They thrive in the dry, arid Utah climate and in seasons of drought are drawn to more residential areas to find water.

While rattlesnake bites are rare, it’s smart to know how to react if you come upon one in the wild. A snake will strike when it feels cornered or threatened. Keep your distance and give it its space. Poking or throwing things at it will provoke it and things might not end well. The venom rattlesnakes produce can cause long-term damage to your brain and nervous system. If you’re bitten, seek medical attention as quickly as possible.

  1. Mountain Lion

Mountain lion sightings in Utah are rare. Lucky for us, they do their best to avoid humans. Still, when they feel we are a threat in any way, they can pose quite a threat. If you come upon a cougar in the wild, the best thing you can do is make yourself appear as large and intimidating as possible. This involves speaking in a firm and loud tone and raising your arms above your head. Do not run away. This triggers their instinctive response to prey and may cause them to chase and attack.


  1. Black Widow Spider

There are few spiders that strike fear in humans as intensely as the black widow. Typically arachnids don’t become bothersome by entering your home until fall. However, they can still pose a threat during the summer months if encountered doing yardwork or during outdoor recreation. Children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to this spider’s venom. At least the black widow is fairly easy to recognize by the distinctive red hourglass marking on the bottom side of their abdomen and shiny black appearance. Only adult female widow spiders pose a threat. Males have smaller venom glands and fangs, making it more difficult to penetrate human skin. If you suspect you’ve been bitten, call the Utah Poison Control Center or see a doctor.

  1. Gila Monster

The Gila monster is a venomous lizard native to Southern Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and parts of California. It’s the only venomous lizard native to the United States. This lizard is easily recognized by its black and yellow or black and pink beaded skin pattern and is generally around 2 feet long. Because they spend 95% of their time underground or burrowing under rocks, spotting a Gila monster is a rare experience. They are most active during morning hours in the spring or towards the beginning of summer. While they are sluggish and not usually aggressive, you should avoid handling them. They have quick reflexes and can attack very suddenly. A Gila monster’s venom is extremely toxic, similar to that of a rattlesnake. If bitten, seek medical attention immediately.

  1. Coyote

Coyotes can be found throughout the United States and are quite commonly found in Utah. They adapt to a wide range of habitats, including suburban neighborhoods, urban cities, deserts, grasslands, and forests. They feed on small mammals, reptiles, birds, grasses, and fruit. Coyotes are seldomly a danger to humans but tend to seek out your trash and pet food supply. They may also think your pet is food.

To deter coyotes, fence your yard and supply a secure shelter for your pets or farm animals. Actively discourage coyotes from your property by installing strobe lights and sirens to scare them away. And keep in mind that if you encounter a coyote in the wild, make as much noise as possible, never approach them directly, stomp your feet, and throw rocks or sticks at them if necessary to scare them away.

  1. Mosquito

The mosquito is certainly the most common creature on this list. Obviously, the thing that makes mosquitoes so dangerous is the variety of diseases they carry and transmit. Among the most serious are the West Nile Virus and two forms of encephalitis. Lucky for you, mosquitoes may be swarming in Utah in the summer but once the cooler weather rolls in, they aren’t an issue.

  1. Raccoons

Raccoons are cute and cuddly and other than getting into your trash and making a mess can’t be dangerous, right? Well, these animals have extremely sharp teeth and claws and can become very aggressive. This is a problem because they carry rabies which can be fatal if you aren’t vaccinated for it. They have also been known to attack adults, children, and pets and inflict significant harm.

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If you are approached by a raccoon or happen to encounter one, break eye contact and slowly walk away. If they continue to approach or become aggressive, make yourself appear as large as possible. Waver your arms in the air, stand tall, and yell loudly if necessary.

  1. Scorpion

Scorpions may be small but their sting is certainly painful. One scorpion sting can cause excruciating pain, numbness of the body, swelling, and vomiting. Symptoms can last anywhere from 1-3 days. Most scorpions in

Utah are found in the deserts of Southern Utah. They are nocturnal creatures and hide out during the day. If you are bitten by a scorpion, stay

calm, clean the area, use a cold compress on the affected area, then call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Who is Liable for Wild Animal Attacks?

When a wild animal attacks, it can leave the person involved with serious injuries. Unlike domestic animal attacks, such as a dog bite, it can be complicated to determine who is liable, if anyone. If a wild animal was under someone’s care at the time of the attack, there may be a possibility of pursuing compensation for injuries or health concerns. There may have been negligence or lack of restraint when dealing with potentially dangerous animals.

The Most Dangerous Animals in Utah Conclusion

If you’ve been injured due to an interaction with a dangerous animal, the attorneys at Harris, Preston, and Chambers can help. They will review your situation and help you know if it’s worth pursuing your case or not. With all the various dangerous creatures living in the state of Utah, it’s certainly a good idea to be aware of the wildlife around you and how to protect yourself. We serve all of Utah including Salt Lake City, Logan, St George, and Ogden. Contact us to get your free consultation.

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What dangerous animals live in Zion? ›

The top predator in Zion National Park is the mountain lion, but there are no instances of mountain lions attacking humans in the park. Other potentially dangerous animals in Zion include the park's only venomous snake: the western rattlesnake. Mule deer also present certain risks, if you can believe it.

Are there poisonous lizards in Utah? ›

Heloderma suspectum, or Gila monster, is a venomous lizard native to Southern Utah. In fact, it is the only venomous lizard native to the United States. The lizard reaches 2 feet in length and is covered in yellow and black beaded skin unique to each lizard.

What big cats live in Utah? ›

Utah has three species of native cats, the mountain lion, or cougar; the lynx; and the bobcat, a cousin to the lynx.

Are there wolves in Utah? ›

Are there wolves in Utah? Although there have been confirmed wolf sightings — and rare instances of wolf-related livestock depredation — there are no known established packs in Utah. Since wolves were reintroduced in the Northern Rockies in 1995, the DWR has been able to confirm around 20 wolves in the state.

What is the number 1 dangerous animal? ›


Close up of Mosquito (Aedes aegypti) sucking blood on human skin. The mosquito is the single deadliest, most dangerous animal in the world and also one of the smallest. Mosquitoes are estimated to cause between 750,000 and one million human deaths per year.

What is the number 1 most dangerous animal on earth? ›

According to, mosquitos are the deadliest animals in the world, killing an estimated 750,000 to 1 million humans yearly. With up to 110 trillion mosquitoes on the planet, the insects can carry lethal diseases like malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus and Zika virus.

Are there lions in Zion? ›

Mountain lions are very rarely seen within the park, and typically avoid the crowded main canyon. However, sightings have been reported in the Kolob Canyons section of Zion, and motion-activated cameras in Zion's backcountry document the presence of these elusive animals.

Why are dogs not allowed in Zion? ›

Pets can harass or harm wildlife by making noise or scaring wildlife away. The only trail that allows pets is the Pa'rus Trail, which begins at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. Pets are not permitted - on any other trails, wilderness areas, on shuttle buses, or in public buildings in Zion.

Are there wolves in Zion? ›

Zion National Park isn't roamed by bison or wolves, but it does have a surprising amount of wildlife that calls the landscape home.

Are Utah scorpions poisonous? ›

All scorpion species possess venom. Most scorpion stings are relatively harmless to humans. The only species in Utah that is potentially harmful to humans is the Arizona bark scorpion, which has a very limited distribution and is usually found only in the southeastern part of the state (e.g., Kane County).

What poisonous things are in Utah? ›

Poisonous Animals in Utah

However, taking into consideration the various snakes, lizards, spiders, and insects that have poisonous venom, the list is a hefty one. Scorpions, rattlesnakes, brown recluse spiders, blister beetles, and the hobo spider are just a few of the poisonous creatures found in the Beehive state.

Is camping in Utah Safe? ›

With 5 national parks and over 30 state parks, Utah is a great place to camp. From red rocks to snow-topped mountains, Utah has it all. Fortunately, most camping trips are fun and safe.

Are there Wolverine in Utah? ›

"Four different wolverine sightings were confirmed in Utah in 2021.

Are there Panthers in Utah? ›

The mountain lion, also known as cougar, puma, catamount, screamer or panther and properly called Puma concolor, live all over Utah, from the High Uintas mountains to the dry rocky deserts of southern Utah.

Did giant sloths live in Utah? ›

Giant Ground Sloth

Two species of ground sloth lived in Utah during the Ice Age. Jefferson's ground sloth (Megalonyx jeffersoni), named after the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, was the size of a bison and was discovered near Provo in 1992 in a Lake Bonneville shoreline deposit.

Does Utah have lions? ›

Mountain lion numbers have increased in Utah, and they typically follow deer—their main prey—so can also be found in valley floors. After making a kill, a mountain lion will often hide the carcass by covering it with soil, leaves or snow, saving it to feed on later, so finding a carcass means they may be nearby.

Are there lions in Utah? ›

The elusive mountain lion is rarely seen by wildlife biologists, much less tourists, but remains a presence in the slickrock canyon country and forested areas of southern Utah. Mountain lions prey on mule deer and smaller animals but have been known to tackle elk as well.

What is the apex predator in Utah? ›

Utah's largest predator is the black bear which can be found in mountains in spring, summer, or fall. These bears hibernate through the chilly winters. Other predators in the area include scavengers like red fox and coyotes, as well as large cats like bobcats and mountain lions.

What animal kills most humans? ›

In terms of the number of humans killed every year, mosquitos by far hold the record, being responsible for between 725,000 and 1,000,000 deaths annually.

What is the nicest animal in the world? ›

The capybara, considered the friendliest wild animal, has a calm and compassionate nature, even adopting stray and runt animals, and even providing transportation on its back for birds and monkeys. Considered worldwide as the best pets, canines were one of the first species domesticated by homo sapiens.

What is the scariest animal in the world 2022? ›

#1 World's Scariest Animal: Nile Crocodile

All species of crocodiles attack approximately 1,000 worldwide annually, and about 40% of those attacks are fatal. The most aggressive crocodile is the Nile crocodile, which can be found throughout Africa.

What is the number 4 deadliest animal on earth? ›

4. Dogs: 25,000 people per year. Man's best friend can also be a nightmare. Maulings and bites from rabid dogs are both to blame for the 25,000 dog-related deaths each year.

What animal kills the most humans in us? ›

Stanford University researchers say the animals who most kill Americans are farm animals; hornets, bees and wasps; followed by dogs. That's bites, kicks and stings.

What is the world's dangerous dog? ›

Pit Bulls can be lovable animals, but they have the highest rate of fatal maulings of any other dog. Although it should come as no surprise to most people who study dangerous dog breeds, the pit bull is the most dangerous dog breed.

What is the top predator in Zion Canyon? ›

Mule deer are the primary prey of Zion National Park's apex predator, the cougar. Zion National Park was established in 1918. The number of park visitors increased during the early 1930s and by 1938 Park Naturalist C.C. Presnall noted a reduction in the number of cougars in Zion Canyon.

Are there tarantulas at Zion? ›

Tarantulas are rarely seen in Zion—they are nocturnal and spend most of their time in underground burrows--but sightings are most common on park roads in late summer and fall, when the males are out cruising for females.

Where are the most cougars in Utah? ›

Cougars can be found throughout Utah, usually in the foothill and canyon areas, but also sometimes down in the valleys — especially during the winter months when they follow food-seeking deer to lower elevations.

Can you carry a gun in Zion? ›

People who can legally possess firearms under applicable federal, state, and local laws, can legally possess firearms in Zion National Park and must follow all state and federal laws. Discharging firearms or hunting within the park is prohibited. Firearms are prohibited in park facilities.

Are there bears in Zion? ›

Seeing an American Black Bear in Zion National Park is rare but not unheard of. Since bear sightings are so rare each one, even a possible siting, should be reported to park officials. It is important to know the procedure for bear encounters on the off chance that you may see one.

Can you smoke in Zion? ›

Smoking is allowed within designated smoking areas, developed recreational sites, or enclosed vehicles. Discharging, or using any type of fireworks or other pyrotechnic devices, is prohibited at all times on all federal public lands.

Are there venomous snakes in Zion? ›

While Zion is home to many different kinds of snakes, the Great Basin rattlesnake is the only venomous snake in the park. Like other rattlesnakes, you can usually identify them by the triangular head and the rattle at the end of their tail.

Are there alligators in Zion National Park? ›

Visitors have spotted an American alligator lurking in the rushing waters of the Virgin River. Park rangers were dispatched to safely remove the animal but expressed surprise at finding a reptile larger than a whiptail lizard in Zion.

Are there a lot of snakes in Zion National Park? ›

Lizards and snakes flourish in Zion Canyon and other Utah national parks. Chances are, as you walk the many trails, you'll see one of the 16 species of lizards or 13 snake species.

What is the biggest spider in Utah? ›

The biggest spider in Utah is the desert tarantula which also happens to have one of the most significant bites. A desert tarantula can measure over 5.5 inches in length, and they have very large fangs for spiders.

Are hobo spiders in Utah? ›

Hobo spiders are common across the Wasatch Front. In Utah, hobo spiders mature from June to September, but most people notice them around August and September because late summer and fall is hobo spider mating season.

How big can wolf spiders get in Utah? ›

Wolf Spiders are unique in that they do not form webs, instead stalking and running down their prey. These spiders are on the larger size, reaching up to 1.38 inches in length.

Is Utah a toxic state? ›

Utah is the fifth-worst toxin releasing state in the U.S., having generated 183.2 million of the country's 3 billion pounds of toxin releases in 2020. The majority came from the Kennecott Utah Copper mine and power plant, which emitted nearly 130 million pounds of toxins into the land in 2020.

Are there sharks in Utah? ›

Imagine a place where you can have up-close encounters with nurse sharks, emperor and gray angelfish, blue tangs and pufferfish in the dead cold of a Rocky Mountain winter without having to leave the continental United States -- you need look no further than Utah.

Is Salt Lake toxic? ›

The lake bed contains high levels of arsenic and as more of it becomes exposed, wind storms carry that arsenic into the lungs of nearby residents, who make up three-quarters of Utah's population.

What should I avoid in Utah? ›

10 Things You Should Never Do In Utah
  • Never hike in a remote place alone. ...
  • Don't ski past the boundary ropes at the resort. ...
  • Avoid IKEA on a Tuesday, at all costs. ...
  • You'll definitely regret caving in to those out-of-town cousins who insist on trying to float in the Great Salt Lake during their visit in May.
29 Jan 2017

Can you sleep in your car in Utah? ›

Utah encourages drowsy drivers to take a break. Rest areas are provided to the traveling public for this purpose. All rest areas are posted for no overnight camping. However, extended stays are permitted and are monitored by the on-site staff and the Highway Patrol.

What to do if you see a bear in Utah? ›

If you encounter a black bear
  1. Stand your ground. Never back up, lie down or play dead. ...
  2. Don't run away or climb a tree. Black bears are excellent climbers and can run up to 35 mph — you cannot outclimb or outrun them.
  3. Know bear behavior. If a bear stands up, grunts, moans or makes other sounds, it's not being aggressive.
16 Sept 2017

What is America's most deadliest animal? ›

Most DangerousSpeciesThreat
1.DeerGoring and trampling
2.Hornets, bees, and waspsstings
3.Dogsbite wounds
4.LivestockGoring, trampling, kicking, falling
6 more rows
13 Sept 2022

What animal is Utah known for? ›

The official state animal of Utah is the Rocky Mountain elk, a subspecies of the elk, which has provided people with meat and leather for many centuries.

What is America's deadliest animal? ›

Gram by gram, hornets, wasps, and bees are easily the most deadly creature in the entire country. Without a doubt they kill far more Americans each year than any other animal.

How many cougars are in Utah? ›

Currently, biologists with UDWR estimate that there are around 2,700 adult cougars.

What animal kills the most humans? ›

In terms of the number of humans killed every year, mosquitos by far hold the record, being responsible for between 725,000 and 1,000,000 deaths annually.

What are the top 3 deadliest animals? ›

Source: CNET
AnimalHumans killed per year
2Humans (homicides only)475,000
7 more rows

What animals are worried in Utah? ›

Dangerous Wildlife in Utah

These areas include animals such as the Rocky Mountain elk, Desert bighorn sheep, coyotes, and mountain lions just to name a few. Some of the wildlife causing the most injuries and deaths in the state of Utah may very much surprise you.

What food is only in Utah? ›

Attention new Utahns: seven unique Utah foods to know
  • Fry Sauce. Fry sauce might as well be Utah's mascot. ...
  • Funeral Potatoes. ...
  • Specialty Soda Shops. ...
  • Pastrami Burgers. ...
  • Ice Cream Shakes. ...
  • Utah Honey. ...
  • Dutch Oven Dinners. ...
  • Green Jell-O.
13 Dec 2021

Are there grizzly bears in Utah? ›

And while there are no grizzly bears in Utah, black bears are native to the state.

What is the deadliest mammal alive? ›

Slow loris. Poisons and venoms are rare in the mammal world, but the slow loris is an exception. Its bite is so venomous that it can kill a human – and there is no cure.

What mammal kills the most humans per year? ›

Dogs. Man's best friend is actually one of the world's deadliest mammals. Worldwide, dogs are responsible for about 25,000 human deaths from rabies each year resulting from maulings and bites.


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