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Critters to Beware Of While You're Camping in the Desert
Image Gallery: National Parks
Image Gallery: National Parks

Every wilderness area has its own unique variety of dangerous critters -- and the desert is no exception. See more national park pictures.

Nivek Neslo/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Ah, camping! It's a wonderful opportunity to experience fresh air, beautiful sunrises, nature at its finest and...deadly animals eager to kill the first camper they find?

Well, not quite. Most animals, deadly or otherwise, would rather leave you alone. They see you as a potential predator or at least an annoyance and will tend to run away before you can get close enough to take a photograph. But every now and then an unwary camper stumbles on a creature that's either in a bad mood, defending its territory, or just startled to find a hapless human stepping on its tail. And sometimes these animals are dangerous. Many are venomous, a few carry disease, and some just have sharp teeth. Every wilderness area has its own unique varieties of dangerous critters and the deserts of the American southwest have more than a few, like the Arizona bark scorpion or the mountain lion.

While camping in the desert you'll want to keep a watchful eye out for these creatures. Even if you've brought weapons along to protect yourself, it's usually better just to give these animals a wide berth. Let's look at five varieties of desert animal that could potentially send you to the emergency room -- or worse.

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