Winter and second winter are finally over and it's time to be outside and go on adventures. However there are some poisonous plants and creatures to be aware of in Duluth. 

Being a family man, I want to get my family outside as much as possible, but you should always be prepared for everything. After some research I found 2 different species of poisonous spiders and snakes recorded in Minnesota:

  • Timber Rattlesnake - The Timber is a large snake and has a distinctive barred body pattern with a triangular shaped head and narrow neck. They are gray to yellow to dark brown in color, and their tail is always solid black. Rarely found in Minnesota and usually spotted in the Southeast region, but you can never be sure if they decide to slither up north.
  • Eastern Massasauga - There's no established evidence of this species, but they have been spotted in Southern Minnesota and Southern Ontario. They are medium in size and are grayish-brown in color, overlaid by a pattern of dark brown blotches with 2 or 3 rows of smaller spots along each side and a ringed tail.
  • Northern Widow - Closely related to the black wido spider, the Northern Widow have round, shiny black abdomens, with two touching red triangles on the underside of the belly.
  • Brown Recluse - Usually light to medium brown and range in color from whitish to dark brown or blackish gray. They also have a black line that looks like a violin with the neck of the violin pointing to the rear of the spider. Only one specimen has been recorded in Minnesota and two in Wisconsin.

Although rare sightings in Minnesota, it doesn't hurt to be on the lookout for those four creatures. Okay, I'm done talking about creepy crawling and slithering things now. Let's talk about poisonous plants found in the area.

Jon Meier
Jon Meier

According to the Minnesota Poison Control System, there are 72 mildly toxic species of plants and 88 dangerously toxic species throughout the state (check out the entire list here). Here are the three big ones to watch out for in the area:

  • Stinging Nettle - typically found in woodland areas, poorly maintain landscapes, and in prairie plantings. This plant is light green in color, long hairs cover the leaves and stems, leaves are opposite one another along the stem and are jagged along the edges.
  • Poison Ivy - Usually smallish  shrub about knee high, with a single stem and only a few stubby branches or no branches at all, but always with three leaflets.
  • Wild Parsnip - Roughly 6" high in the rosette stage and 4' high in the flowering stage. The leaves are made up of 5-15 egg shaped leaflets which are usually lobed and has smaller upper leaves. The flowers are a flat-topped yellow petaled flower cluster which normally bloom from June to late summer.

Enjoy the beautiful city that is Duluth, but please be careful while doing so.

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