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Peru: Poisonous Spiders, Venomous Snakes, Bugs, Dangerous Animals, Insects, and Lethal Diseases

Updated on April 19, 2018

Venomous snakes and poisonous spiders and dangerous animals and insects in Peru.

The beautiful South American country of Peru is home to some of the worlds most deadliest reptiles and arachnids. Fatalities amongst human victims, as well as amputations and serious on-going medical issues plague some tourists whom have visited Peru.

The Peruvian rain forests are home to almost 200 species of snakes, many of which are harmless to humans. But poisonous or venomous snakes in Peru are abundant and can be found close to human habitats.

Some snakes have been caught in hotel rooms and rental apartments. With a worldwide shortage of fresh snake bite anti-venom, its only a matter of time before it runs out.

The tropical climate of Peru allows the breeding cycles of many dangerous insects and bugs to escalate. Potentially life threatening diseases can be averted if vaccinations are taken prior to departure from home.



Defensive Stance
Defensive Stance

Brazilian Wandering Spider

The Brazilian Wandering Spider lives up to its name. It does not create a nest, it meanders through the forest and jungles at night seeking its prey.

Referred to as the banana spider or the armed spider and appeared in the Guinness Book of Records in 2010 as the worlds most poisonous spider.

Even with this reputation, if anti-venom is administered in time then human fatalities are limited.

The spider searches for food after the sun has set, and during the day can be found in rock piles and under wood as well as in human habitats such as out houses, garages and other dark, moist places.

The potent neurotoxin venom is used for defence as well as paralyzing rodents, small bites and frogs before devouring them.

Many bites on humans are considered 'dry', this is where no or little venom is injected into the victim. Lethal amounts of venom will initially result in a redness, swelling around the bite area, and severe pain.

Quite quickly, the bitten victim will begin to lose muscle control, develop headaches and be short of breath.

This may eventually lead to total paralysis and asphyxiation as the respiratory system fails then death.

NB: This spider has a leg span of approximately 15 cm and a 2" body.

Goliath Bird Eater Spider.

The Theraphosa blondi is from the tarantula family of spiders and can have an 11inch leg-span.

Their defence mechanism is their irritable body hairs, which are released when the Peruvian spider feels in danger.

The hairs can be harmful to humans and pets if breathed in. The irritant in the hairs can cause inflammation of the throat and possible asphyxiation.

Their bite is allegedly similar to that of a wasp sting, but their sheer size can scare the pants off of most people.

Although the name suggests that this over-sized tarantula eats birds, its' main diet is insects. It does however eat small birds, snakes, and lizards.

Brown Recluse

Poisonous spiders in Peru come no more deadly than the Brown Recluse spider. This arachnid goes by many different names including the violin spider and is closely related to the venomous Sac spider.

Its intolerance to many climate conditions has seen this spider spread throughout the world. Its bite is usually neglected and passed off as a small itch.

But that is where the bite can be the most devastating to human life.

The venom is hemotoxic, and can cause necrosis on the skin. This is where the skin will literally melt leaving gaping wounds if untreated.

These lesions or viscerocutaneous symptoms are difficult to heal and allow infections to multiply.

Free link: Brown recluse bites (Warning, graphic images)


Tarantula spiders in Peru represent limited harm to humans. It is their size and girth that frightens most people.

The genus Avicularia is native to tropical Peru and South America. Their first instinct is to run away or 'jump' when frightened.

Another way of defence for this spider is to launch a short jet of excrement at the would be agitator. The jets from adults can reach 3 feet.

These are the types of tarantulas which are pets in many peoples eyes. Although virtually harmless to larger prey like humans, if bitten, always seek medical advice.


Green Tree Viper.

Growing to a maximum size of 123cm, the Green Tree Viper is found in the Peruvian rain forests. It usually dwells where there is a good supply of water such as lowlands and near streams and rivers.

A nocturnal reptile which ambushes its prey rather than hunting for them. Can be found in the daytime in thick grass or foliage, tree hollows, on branches or any other place with little or no passing traffic.

Due to the natural habitat of this creature, which is in the trees', most bites occur on the upper body, face and hands.

Bite victims will initially feel pain, bruising and redness. The venom contains an anti-coagulating agent. Spontaneous bleeding will occur from gums, nose, eyes, and other soft tissue. A fever will set in as well as possible shock.

The victim may well have headaches and will slip in and out of consciousness. At this point the victim may die if anti-venom has not been given as soon as possible.

Boa Constrictor Eating a Bird
Boa Constrictor Eating a Bird

Boa Constrictor

Boa constrictor snakes in Peru are absolutely beautiful. A very heavy snake weighing in at 27kg (60lb) and growing to a very impressive 10 feet long for the females.

Constrictors prefer to reside in rain forests where they are close to water. They can be found in semi-arid areas also. They can be found in most types of foliage as well as in the trees and even in the rivers and streams.

As the snakes get older and bigger, they tend to spend most of their time in the trees. The bites are not considered dangerous to humans, but they can really hurt.

This nocturnal snake can be found basking in the sun during the daylight hours. Its diet consists of small birds and mammals, with rodents taking the highest percentage of its intake.

After a single meal, the Boa Constrictor may not eat again for several days or months.

South American Bushmaster.

The largest specimen ever found was 15 feet long, but this species of snake usually grows nearer to 8 - 10 feet in length.

From the vicious viper family of snakes, even a bite from a juvenile Bushmaster snake can kill a human.

Each snake can bite its victim multiple times in seconds, causing severe trauma almost instantly.

This snakes usual prey are rodents and other reptiles but has been known to eat young dear like muntjac.

Bushmasters are quite rare in Peru, and coming into contact with them is quite scarce.

NB: As there are over 200 types of snakes in Peru, most of which are not dangerous to man, always avoid them if possible. Never run from a snake, always walk away calmly.


There are almost 100 species of scorpion patrolling the land areas of Peru. Not only in the jungles, but also in towns and cities, in hotels and apartments.

The scorpion can be found throughout the world in virtually every climate. It was reported (JVAT 1995) that out of 6000 cases of scorpion stings on humans, 100 were fatal.

Various tropical locations have seen an increase in the poisoning of humans from scorpion stings. Most scorpions stings are harmless to man, but some are not.

There are 2000 species of scorpions worldwide and only 30 have venom which is fatal to humans. The Brazilian Yellow Scorpion (pictured) has immigrated to most parts of South America, including Peru.

The venom will cause headaches, nausea, stiffness of muscles, loss of consciousness and then death, if not treated immediately.

Wild Cats

Jaguar & Puma

Beautiful, endangered, and protected by all wildlife laws associated with big cats. These near extinct wild cats possess little threat to humans. It's the humans that possess the biggest threat to them.

The Manu National Park in Peru, some 15,000 square kilometers, is home to these magnificent beasts. Poachers hunt them for their pelts which fetch a fortune on the illegal black market.

Will shy away from anything that is human in reality, and may only attack if they are threatened or cornered.

After becoming extinct within the USA, protection of these animals has seen up to 6 Jaguars being spotted in Southern Arizona.

Untreated Sandfly Bite
Untreated Sandfly Bite


The 'sandfly' is a group of flying blood sucking insects which can cause fatalities in humans. With the exception of antarctica, they can be found on all continents.

The danger comes not from the bite itself, but from the diseases which are injected into the skin whilst the blood is being sucked out.

Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, headaches and fever as well as pain and possible muscle cramps. Serious and untreated bites will result in loss of consciousness and even death.

The US army suffered greatly in the first stages of the Afghan war with many of their troops being infected by sand fly bites.

Always take insect repellent away with you on vacation.



Much of Peru is still not a modernized country. Many vacations take the average tourist to rain forests and areas where medical help may not be immediate.

As well as Malaria, Rabies and Yellow Fever, there are many waterborne diseases as well as:-


Widespread in the mountainous regions of Peru. Also in Ecuador and Columbia. Spread by flies, rodents and insects. This disease can be treated with antibiotics


The Bubonic Plague or Black Death still exists in certain areas of Peru. After killing off a third of Europe during the 13th century ( estimated deaths between 75 - 200 million ), this disease still kills. Antibiotics are available, but even these are not 100% effective.

Rodents and flies spread the disease and any affected areas should be sealed off by government officials.

It is also spread by Guinea pigs, which in Peru are eaten as a delicacy.


Obtained by eating undercooked meats or being bitten by rats or pigs. Wolfgang Mozart was meant to of died of this disease.

The parasites invade the skin and begin to multiply in the muscles. They can grow large enough to be visible to the naked eye. They then make their way through the blood system to the brain and the heart as well as most other internal organs. A slow and painful death soon follows.


Have you been to Peru?

What did you encounter if you have been to Peru?

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Do you live in Peru?

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Please add your experiences or fears below.

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    • profile image

      Roger Casement 

      2 years ago

      Out of context, exaggerated or downright incorrect. Read up on, among many other things, the difference between risk and hazard.

    • profile image

      Marie Atwell 

      3 years ago

      Oh god I'm going there inJulywith the school for a month . I won't sleep now .

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      "The Bubonic Plague or Black Death still exists in certain areas of Peru. After killing off a third of Europe, this disease still has NO CURE."

      What a goddamn bullshit.

      Several classes of antibiotics are effective in treating bubonic plague. These include aminoglycosides such as streptomycin and gentamicin, tetracyclines (especially doxycycline), and the fluoroquinolone ciprofloxacin. Mortality associated with treated cases of bubonic plague is about 1–15%, compared to a mortality of 40–60% in untreated cases.


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