Six Gnarly Bugs You Do NOT Want To Mess With In the Texas Hill Country

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This critter wins the award for “Most Likely To Give You Nightmares.” This 23-legged centipede, which can grow to over eight inches long, feeds on small vertebrates and is venomous. It injects a neurotoxin into its prey, and its bites have been described by humans as being quite painful and resulting in nausea, headaches and even skin necrosis.

4. Tarantula Hawk

tarantula hawk

Photo: Flickr/Brian Van de Wetering

You thought tarantulas were scary? Well, the truth is that tarantulas pose little risk to humans; however, this arachnid’s fiercest enemy can cause a sting that will bring a grown man to his knees! The 2” long tarantula hawk preys on the bodies of tarantulas. A member of the wasp family, the female tarantula hawk stings the tarantula until it’s rendered paralyzed and then lays her eggs on the body. Over the course of several weeks, the larvae eat the tarantula alive. Occasionally, a human will get in the way of a mama tarantula hawk and her nefarious work and become the victim of a sting. The sting is said to hurt worse than most any other insect on the planet.

5. Red Velvet Ant (“Cow Killer”)

red velvet ant

Photo: Flickr/Alex Murry

The sight of a red velvet ant will stop you in your tracks for sure, with their bright red bodies that seem to scream, “DANGER!” However, these insects aren’t actually ants at all. The red velvet ant is a member of the wasp family, but because the females are wingless, they’re often mistaken for ants. Best known for having a painful sting–hence the name, “Cow Killer” (even though no reported deaths to bovines were found), the red velvet ant is a Hill Country bug that you want to give a wide berth.

6. Asp

Photo: Facebook/Onestop Petshop