Aside from crazy driving, food scandals and cancer-causing chemical pollution, what else could you possibly have to worry about living in South China? The answer: several extraordinary members of the animal kingdom.
Below we’ve rounded up seven of South China’s most dangerous creatures – although we’d like to note that most encounters are unlikely to result in bodily harm.
In fact, humans are far more of a danger to these creatures than they are to us. So, before you squash that centipede under your shoe, remember that you have a better chance of getting squashed by a rogue taxi than dying from bug venom.
1. Chinese Bird Spider
Image via @adamandtheeightleggedbeauties/Instagram
Credited with being one of the most venomous spiders in China, this is not an animal you want to encounter while stomping through the bush.
A hyper aggressive species of Old-World tarantula, the Chinese bird spider captures its prey by emerging unexpectedly from dirt burrows to attack and poison its victims. Despite its name, the spider predominantly preys on insects and small rodents, which are dispatched quickly by the species’ strong venom.
The Chinese bird spider is found throughout southern China and parts of Vietnam.
If you are unfortunate enough to have one of these large, eight-legged predators poke its fangs into you, make haste to the nearest hospital – or prepare for severe nerve damage.
2. Chinese Cobra
Image via Wikimedia
Being attacked by a Chinese cobra is not something you want to experience.
If bitten, you could expect a darkening of the bite wound, swelling, pain, blisters and necrosis, as well as slightly more minor (but also shitty) issues such as a sore throat, fever and lockjaw. Ultimately, a bite from a Chinese cobra could prove fatal.
Chinese cobras are found in South China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and parts of northern Laos and Vietnam, according to A Field Guide to the Venomous Land Snakes of Hong Kong.
Since it's considered a vulnerable species (in terms of known numbers), your chances of running into a Chinese cobra are relatively slim (particularly if your daily routine sees you walking from home to work and back). That being said, between 1904 and 1938 there were 593 recorded cases of envenomation in Taiwan, with 87 fatal cases – a 15 percent mortality rate.
Mortality rates are much lower than before, but a nonfatal bite would still suck.
3. Chinese Red Head Centipede
Image via Wikimedia
If this large and aggressive species of centipede cozies up to your skin, prepare for extreme pain, severe swelling, fever and general weakness, according Dr. Robert Norris, professor of surgery and emergency medicine at the Stanford University Medical Center.
The species, also known as the giant centipede, jungle centipede, red headed centipede and Vietnamese centipede (among numerous other names), is also the only species credited as the apparent cause of human death.
The alleged fatality occurred in the Philippines, where a 7-year-old girl was bitten on her head. She lived just 29 hours after envenomation.
The chances of a healthy adult dying from a Chinese red head centipede bite are decidedly low: you will likely experience serious to extreme discomfort but eventually make a full recovery. However, if the bite victim is young, old, or lives with a chronic medical issue, they should definitely get to a hospital pronto.
Recently, researchers in Guangzhou discovered that the Chinese red head centipede can cause you great discomfort if eaten raw, as the species carries a nasty food-borne parasite known as