10 Things Found in Alaska You’ll Wish You Never Knew Existed
Have you ever learned something only to wish you could immediately forget it? If not, you’re about to experience this feeling for the first time. You probably know about a few things that are found in Alaska like bears, huskies, whales, and crazy miners. You may also know that there are no snakes or poisonous spiders in Alaska. Well good for you. Enjoy your peace of mind while it lasts because you’re about to learn about 10 things found in Alaska you’ll wish you never knew existed.
Let’s dive right in
- The Assassin Bug – With a name like that, you know this critter is nothing but pure nightmare-fuel. This spiky bug isn’t very big but it’s equipped with a murder-beak that it uses to repeatedly stab its prey before devouring it. You read that right – it’s an insect with a BEAK. Best of all, the assassin bug is known for inflicting very painful bites on humans with their murder beak before sucking their blood. Enjoy your night camping in Alaska.
- The Bicolored Agapostemon Sweat Bee – You may think that bees aren’t all that scary. Well, let me introduce you to this buzzing terror. The keyword in this bee’s name is “sweat.” You see, this stinging bee is genetically attracted to one thing and one thing only – human sweat. Unfortunately, humans can’t do many things without sweating so the next time you’re mowing the lawn or walking your dog, keep looking over your shoulder because you’re probably about to get stung.
- Tussock Moth Caterpillar – These little furry black and yellow caterpillars have become quite common in Skagway over the last few years because global warming is real whether you believe in it or not. You may be tempted to hold one of these cute little buggers in your hand but that would be a poor choice. Tussock moth caterpillars have urticating hairs, which are capable of causing painful and unsightly reactions with your skin. There are so many tussock moth caterpillars in the fall that they will just fall from the tree all over your head, so that’s something to look forward to.
- The Cow Killer – Let’s start this off by clearing up this simple fact – the cow killer hates you. While the cow killer looks like an ant, it is actually a wasp with a ferocious sting that’s capable of, you guessed it, killing fully grown cows. Now imagine one stinging you and consider you are not anywhere near as large as a cow unless you eat too much ice cream.
- Cow Parsnip – Cow parsnip is proof that nature despises humans. Simply brushing up against this plant can cause you to break out in horrible itchy dermatitis and make you far more susceptible to a third-degree sunburn. These terrible reactions are caused by phototoxic chemicals found in the plant, so now you know that’s a thing. Have fun hiking in the woods!
- Submarine Landslides – In Alaska, submarine landslides are a constant threat. These acts of god aren’t covered by insurance and can generate megatsunamis thousands of feet high. The most famous example of a submarine landslide happened in Lituya Bay, which is less than 100 miles from Skagway. The wave generated by the slide measured 1,720 feet high. A submarine landslide could happen at any moment without any warning, but definitely don’t think about megatsunamis when you’re on that whale watching tour.
- Wood Wasps – While you may think that these small stinging insects aren’t that much of a threat to humans, you would be wrong. Wood wasps like to hang out in woodpiles and while the sting itself isn’t bad, they are prone to infection that causes a necrotic lesion. What is a necrotic lesion? It’s when your flesh starts to rot away, forming a giant open wound that, if left untreated, leads to either amputation or death. Fun!
- Glacial Lake Outburst Floods – As glaciers recede they form moraines, which are like giant piles of rock. Meltwater from the receding glacier then fills the moraine and forms what’s called a glacial lake. Unfortunately, moraines are nothing more than loose boulders so they sometimes collapse under the pressure of the rising glacial meltwater. Suddenly, billions of gallons of water are released, which is very similar to a dam failure. If you’re in the path of the raging water, you’re going to wish you finalized your last will and testament. Global warming has accelerated the formation of glacial lakes exponentially, so you may want to pack a life preserver on your next Alaskan hike.
- Moon Jellies – Speaking of global warming… Moon jellies use harpoon-like cells on their tentacles to force toxin into their unsuspecting prey. While this toxin only causes a mild stinging sensation in humans, global warming has caused their numbers to dramatically increase. It’s not uncommon to see tens of thousands of moon jellies at one time in Alaska, so you’re totally fine unless you fall overboard and forever disappear amidst the stinging hoard.
- Volcanoes – You probably know that there are volcanoes in Alaska already but you’re probably unaware of their ever-present threat. You see, you’re unlikely to be directly affected by an eruption but a particularly catastrophic event could plunge Alaska into a sudden ice age that lasts a generation. It happened about 600 years ago in an event called the Little Ice Age. If it happened tomorrow, glaciers would start to advance as much as two miles in a 24 hour period. Planes couldn’t fly and roads would close. You would be stuck in Alaska as ice gripped the land and almost every food source was cut off. Fun fact: It will happen – sooner or later.
Enjoy your visit to Alaska!