Thailand’s Dangerous Plants, Animals, and Insects

Thailand's Dangerous Plants, Animals, and Insects

Foreign nationals visiting Thailand to scuba dive, learn Muay Thai or for a spiritual retreat, need to get familiar with safety precautions in regard to the local flora and fauna.

Thailand is known for its exotic animals and breathtaking tropical rainforests. Knowing which of these to look out for and how to avoid any associated dangers will ensure an enjoyable hiccup-free trip.

Dangerous Thai Vegetation and Plants

While Thailand’s scenery is lush and green, there are certain plants that can be dangerous when ingested or not handled with care.

In short, it is advisable not to eat anything that resembles fruit or nuts directly off a plant, shrub, or tree. Some of these may be toxic when ingested and cause anything from digestive issues to more serious complications.

Although castor fruit has medicinal properties, it has effects similar to those of snake venom when eaten unprocessed.

Dieffenbachia is a beautiful ornamental plant. However, its leaves and stems contain calcium oxalate crystals that can cause temporary paralysis of the tongue when ingested.

Yellow oleander is a shrub with yellow or orange flowers. Oleander bears small, four-sided green fruit with seeds that resemble nuts that are poisonous if ingested.

Similarly, it is advisable to avoid tearing leaves, branches, and flowers off plants since the sap that some of them release when wounded may cause skin irritation.

Some examples of plants with an irritating milk sap include:

  • Azalea
  • Plumeria
  • Brugmansia
  • Rhododendron
  • Nerium oleander
  • Allamanda cathartica
  • Euphorbia pulcherrima, or poinsettia

There is no need to be afraid of the vegetation in Thailand. In most cases, admiring the greenery while respecting nature —not touching, tearing, chewing nor ingesting anything one isn’t certain is safe to eat— is enough to avoid any danger. Children must be taught the same type of caution.

Dangerous Animals in Thailand

For those wondering: Are there any poisonous or dangerous animals in Thailand? Wild animals are not a major concern for tourists visiting Thailand.

It is extremely unlikely for visitors to come across any dangerous animals such as snakes or jellyfish during their stay.

However, adventure enthusiasts spending lots of time outdoors in Thailand should still keep an eye out.

Precautions to stay safe in Thailand include:

  • Staying away from snakes and scorpions, and checking the inside of shoes before putting them back on
  • Watching out for jellyfish, coral, rockfish and red lionfish when swimming in the sea
  • Avoiding monkeys and street dogs in Thailand since some of them carry rabies

Thailand is home to a large number of exotic mammals, birds, and reptiles worth seeing first hand. As long as visitors take care not to come too close, they shouldn’t encounter any trouble at all.
Thailand’s Dangerous Insects

There are also some dangerous bugs in Thailand —and, as is typical in the rainforest— they tend to be quite large as well.

Mosquitoes in Thailand may carry diseases such as dengue fever. Travelers are advised to wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers in light fabric when outdoors, and to frequently apply mosquito repellent with DEET.

Some centipedes can be quite large in Thailand and will bite if provoked. Visitors should stay away, and in the unlikely event of being bitten by one of these venomous insects, seek immediate medical help.

Hornets are also aggressive when provoked, so avoid swatting it away should you encounter one, best sit still until it leaves.

Spiders such as tarantulas, black widows, giant orb spiders, and huntsmen, are big and hairy in Thailand. Some make their way indoors and hide in dark places, although they are less aggressive and spider bites tend to be less painful.

Caterpillars — although beautifully bright colored— are other Thai insects to stay away from since their spines can be extremely irritating should they stick to a person’s skin or eyes.

Paper wasps might look a little like hornets, but upon closer inspection look more like a big flying ant. These give mildly painful stings, although they are not quite as aggressive as hornets.

And lastly, keep an eye out for red ants around grassy areas. They deliver a quite painful bite and may climb up a person’s leg should someone inadvertently step on their nest.

Other Safety Precautions in Thailand

Now that you know what animals and plants to avoid coming into contact with during your visit to Thailand, make sure to also follow this safety advice:

In order to enjoy all the luscious scenery and friendly smiles, make sure to check out the Thailand visa requirements. Travelers from eligible countries need to apply for a Thailand eVisa online before their departure.