Look­ing for an adven­ture in the great wide some­where? Know what to do if you run into a bear? A moose? If you’ve not giv­en much thought to ani­mal encoun­ters beyond the usu­al sus­pects, you might want to read on. Turns out we share our wide open spaces with an array of pret­ty dead­ly crit­ters. Here’s how to make sure you’ll walk away with only pho­tos and good memories.

The King Cobra may rule the forests of India and South­east Asia, but the Boom­slang of Sub-Saha­ran Africa is by far the more attrac­tive species. These ven­omous snakes can reach lengths of up to around five feet, with every inch of its scales mes­mer­iz­ing in their col­oration; often a bright green with black or some­times blue pat­tern­ing, all the bet­ter to blend in with their arbo­re­al homes. Although these snakes fright­en eas­i­ly, their ven­om can be fatal to humans with­out treat­ment, so don’t try to harass or han­dle them.

http://media.eol.org/content/2015/01/05/13/38845_orig.jpgHood­ed Pitohui
This bird, a com­mon native of New Guinea, is renowned for its strik­ing black and orange plumage. Don’t let the feath­ers fool you, though. They’re cov­ered in batra­chotox­in (BTX), a dead­ly poi­son that stops all elec­tri­cal impuls­es in the ner­vous sys­tem (it’s the same stuff pro­duced by the infa­mous gold­en poi­son frogs in Colom­bia). Touch­ing this fine feath­ered crea­ture won’t kill you, although lick­ing one is def­i­nite­ly a bad idea.

©istockphoto/SubaqueosshutterbugBlue-Ringed Octo­pus
This teen­sy cephalo­pod might not have the infamy of its krak­en cousins, but a sin­gle, often pain­less bite makes up for its lack of bulk with a vengeance. Though able to fit in the palm of your hand, the blue-ringed octo­pus car­ries enough ven­om to kill twen­ty-six grown humans. The beau­ti­ful sap­phire blue rings for which it is named are a warn­ing that only the care­less fail to heed. If your vis­it to the Pacif­ic and Indi­an Oceans includes tide pools and coral reefs, keep your eyes open for this tiny, dead­ly denizen.

Because ostrich­es aren’t col­or­ful enough, Aus­tralia and New Guinea offer the cas­sowary, a beau­ti­ful flight­less bird with glossy black feath­ers along its body and an elec­tric blue head and neck. Though typ­i­cal­ly a shy bird who prefers the seclu­sion of its rain­for­est home, a pro­voked cas­sowary may charge and slash at its per­ceived offend­er with the five-inch claw on either foot. Provo­ca­tion in this case typ­i­cal­ly refers to a bird who has lost its fear of humans and expects food; in a study of a year of attacks, over three-quar­ters involved habit­u­at­ed birds who may have expect­ed or tried to snatch peo­ple food. Don’t feed the birds, kids.

©istockphoto/GreyCarnationSlow Loris
“Cute” is prob­a­bly a bet­ter descrip­tor for these tiny pri­mates from South­east Asia, but that only increas­es the rel­a­tive dan­ger of the slow loris. As a defen­sive mech­a­nism against pre­da­tion, the slow loris employs a tox­ic bite: a gland along its arms pro­duces a poi­so­nous secre­tion, which is acti­vat­ed by the loris’ sali­va. This same tox­ic com­bi­na­tion may also be spread along its fur dur­ing groom­ing. If you catch a glimpse of these guys in the wild, don’t pan­ic! Don’t touch them, don’t pick them up, don’t hand them tiny umbrel­las or try to tick­le them, and you should find it easy to avoid being bitten.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e3/Lonomia-obliqua-citsc-1.jpgAssas­sin Caterpillar
The name says it all, real­ly. The lar­val stage of the Giant Silk­worm Moth might look as fes­tive as a Christ­mas tree, but all of those bris­tles are deliv­ery sys­tems for a very potent ven­om. And while a sin­gle bris­tle isn’t a threat to a human, the prob­lem with these cater­pil­lars is that they’re often very suc­cess­ful­ly cam­ou­flaged away in their tree homes in Brazil. Com­bine their cam­ou­flage with their ten­den­cy to clus­ter in num­bers, and you’re unlike­ly to ever come into con­tact with a sin­gle bris­tle. The answer is to stay aware of your surroundings—oh, and check your shoes before you put them on.