Has an observation ever got dangerous?

Have you ever been attacked (or tried to attack) by something while taking a pic for making an observation at Inat?
It happend to me once, i almost got my finger cut off by an Moray eel, while observing it, i tried to bring it back into the water
Be careful, fellow observers!


Bumblebees will charge you if you get too close to their flowers, and I’ve also been charged by a digger wasp, and stung by an ant I was handling, but insect photography is usually low risk unless you approach nests of bees or wasps (Or touch something that stings)


The only time I’ve ever been stung by a wasp was when I was trying to photograph some wasp larvae in a nest: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/61997536. I admit it probably wasn’t a great idea!


She stung me. I picked her up, so whose fault is it really? Also, native bee stings aren’t dangerous, but I think it mostly fits the topic. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/180350080


I got stung by a yellow jacket while trying to retrieve the memory card from my trail cam. I ran off and did a loop on the trail and the nest had calmed down by the time I came back. I saw where the nest hole was since there was one hovering at the entrance. I would have to walk right by it to get to the camera. I came back early the next morning when it was still cool and got my camera so I could put it somewhere else.

I never finished posting all my footage (I’ll get around to it eventually) but this is what I have so far: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?d1=2022-04-03&d2=2022-05-18&place_id=any&user_id=lappelbaum&iconic_taxa=Mammalia


This wasn’t an attack, but it was definitely dangerous, so I figure it’s worth mentioning so that other folks who might be making underwater observations can be aware of the risk.

The last time I went scuba diving I was taking photos of organisms in the rocks at the bottom to log as observations. Unfortunately I wasn’t paying attention to my trim (orientation of my body in the water), and I ended up nearly face-down. I suddenly started rising through the water, I think because the feet of my drysuit started to expand as air collected there. I was rising too fast for my buddy to pull me down, and I panicked and forgot two important solutions I could have tried; spin and straighten out to vent my drysuit (the vent is on the shoulder so your shoulder needs to be highest in the water), and use the secondary vent at the bottom of the BCD to vent air when facing downward.

I ended up suffering an uncontrolled ascent to the surface, which is very dangerous. Luckily I was in quite shallow water and I didn’t experience DCS, but it was very scary, and could easily have become a medical emergency if I’d been deeper.

Right now I’m going to pause taking photos underwater, and use my next dives to practice drysuit buoyancy skills until I feel more comfortable handling that sort of situation. It’s also made me consider getting a bit more formal training too, like a rescue diving certification. It was a real wake-up call not to get complacent or distracted by the fun of observing, even if I thought I was pretty comfortable with diving.


I immediately clicked on that to see how aggressive a species it was, and yeah, that is one of the most aggressive wasps in the world

I wan to add a clarification to this: You cannot really divide hymenoptera into species with dangerous stings and species with non-dangeorus stings, for the most part whether or not a single hymenopteran sting is dangerous depends not on the species but on whether you have a sensitivity to that venom and whether you are stung in an unusually vulnerable location (eg eye or mouth), though you could have a sensitivity to one species and not another.

That said, being stung by numerous insects at once can give you a dangerous venom dose, and some species are particularly prone to sting in groups. There is also great variation in venom dose and potency by species, and the number of stings needed to be dangerous is much smaller for the more venomous species, for the largest vespoid wasps and perhaps some poneromorph ants it may even be in the single digits. Also stings from a few mostly tropical species have been alleged to be incapacitatingly painful, even if not enough to cause poisoning.

Children are also more affected by the same dose of any toxin, so single stings by some species may be harmful to children

Native bees are not abnormally venomous and usually (always?) not eusocial, so they are not likely to sting in large groups and are not generally dangerous unless one is allergic, so I’m not disagreeing with the general sentiment expressed by egordon88, I just wanted to correct the implication that hymenoptera stings can be divided into toxic and non-toxic the way snake bites can.


Bald. Faced. Hornets.

Aggressive little assholes.


While standing uncomfortably on a rather steep scree slope, nasty little zombie penguins started dive-attacking me. Photographing them without falling was tricky.


Interesting, I’ve actually handled them several times (gently, of course), and never been stung (knock on wood).

My only “dangerous” observations have been taken on the edges of cliff-sides or with half of my body leaning over a fast-flowing stream. I generally don’t handle things unless I feel comfortable with them.


I had one chase me down a trail last year, stung me, chased my husband, who lost a shoe, and then it spent like ten minutes trying to kill his shoe.

It was the end of the season though, and afaik they get more territorial in the falls


Bumblebees charging at you is always a jump scare. I almost dropped my phone once :D

Accidentally grabbed a twig wilter bug - like being stabbed with a hot needle!


What species? (or finest taxon you know)

I actually am in a stance where I am ready to jump back whenever photographing them with my macro lens, this happens enough that I plan for it.


Bald faced hornet. Dolichovespula maculata. At least as far as could tell - but there arent many species of black and white aerial yellowjackets in my area


I don’t know about dangerous, but the most frightening was an old man confronting me about taking photos in front of his house and once I showed him what I was doing, he started telling me the Latin names of all his garden plants. Haha
(It was quite wholesome, but I was not prepared for the encounter)

I never actually did anything more dangerous than balancing on the side of a pond where the biggest threat was me falling in.
I only really observe arthropods or sessile things, with the occasional mollusc or bird if I can get a good photo thrown in. European species in those categories aren’t really all that dangerous.


I’m too, usually, but sometimes, especially when on the ground, there’s just no possibility to get a good picture other than getting really “close and personal”. Haha

These give obvious warning buzz-bys, made more alarming because of their size, including stingers.


This was long before I started using iNat but I do did make an observation after the fact. When I was a young I was obsessed with shows like The Crocodile Hunter and loved catching reptiles, and had always wanted to catch a rattlesnake. I finally got the opportunity when I was a teen. I found one sitting an a rotted out stump near the house so I decided I’d catch it to move it away from the house. While attempting to pick up the snake with a stick I noticed something was crawling on my legs. Turns out I was standing on a carpenter ant nest. I was determined to catch the snake though so I dealt with the bites. Eventually I got the snake in a bin and moved it to another part of the property, but still suffered, my legs were burning and irritated from all the ant bites and acid spray. It could have been worse though, I didn’t get bitten by the snake.


Sounds right, only other black and white vespines in the lower 48 outside the extreme northern edge are D. arctica, which is workerless, and Vespula consobrina