Discover the Top 15 Most Dangerous Flying Animals in Oklahoma

Written by Rob Hayek
Updated: October 9, 2023
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Key Points

  • Several flying animals in Oklahoma can be dangerous to humans.
  • Oklahoma is not as dangerous as other states, but it still presents some danger in certain situations.
  • Oklahoma hosts 75 percent of the world’s population of Whooping Cranes, which is an endangered species.

Oklahoma is home to numerous animals with the capacity of being dangerous to humans. However, you always hear about the typical threats, such as the American Bison. You also hear about the dangerous animals found in Oklahoma’s lakes and rivers. Today, we will discuss the most dangerous flying animals in Oklahoma and what makes them so dangerous to humans.

15. Goldenrod Crab Spiders

Goldenrod crab spiders can fly. Yes, you read that right. There are spiders that can actually fly! As the name suggests, it looks like a crab. Also, it has an amazing ability to camouflage itself so no one can see it. They do have venom. However, it is not generally dangerous to humans. But it can irritate the skin. Thus, that irritation can lead to other ailments. That is why Goldenrod crab spiders make the list as one of the most dangerous flying animals in Oklahoma.

Goldenrod Crab Spider

Goldenrod crab spiders have irritating venom!

©Ihor Hvozdetskyi/

14. Tarantula Hawks

Tarantula Hawks are the first on this list. Ultimately, they will sting if they feel someone is threatening them. Tarantula hawks are not actually hawks. No, they are actually one of the many forms of wasps you will see in Oklahoma.

Tarantula hawks can grow as big as 11 centimeters long. Additionally, there are allegedly around 133 species in the world. You will find these little critters in Oklahoma. While they will not generally attack unprovokedly, they still can be dangerous.

Tarantula hawks are generally black and orange. Also, their life will generally span between a few weeks to possibly five months.

tarantula hawk eating nectar

Tarantula hawks allegedly have the second-most painful sting out of all the insects.


13. Little Brown Bats

Little brown bats are generally harmless to humans on a grand scale. Regardless, they will attack if you enter their habitat. The little brown bat is an endangered species. Therefore, there are not many of them. But you will see them in Oklahoma if you go looking for them.

Little brown bats typically live in the Oklahoma forests. Ultimately, the first thing you will notice about them is their large, massive wings. They are the only species of their kind. Impressively, they can fly as fast as 21 miles per hour. These bats also will live between six to seven years. Additionally, little brown bats are typically red, gold, dark brown, and olive colored.

Little Brown Bat flying in the forest.

The little brown bat will attack if you provoke it.

©Bernd Wolter/

12. Hoary Bats

Hoary bats are similar to the little brown bat. Like most bats, they generally do not attack unless you provoke them. The U.S. Geological Survey reports that bats with rabies are rare. Regardless, some hoary bats can carry them with them, and that makes them dangerous.

Hoary bats can come in five different colors. Ultimately, they may be brown, gray, yellow, black, or white. One key feature of hoary bats is their white-tipped fur. Currently, they are in danger due to habitat loss. You can find them in forests and trees in Oklahoma.

Hoary bats can fly at approximately 13 miles per hour. Furthermore, they can weigh up to one kilogram. Hoary bats also live between 6-7 years.

Hoary Bat

One main feature of hoary bats is their white-tipped fur.

©Larisa Bishop-Boros / CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons – License

11. Geese

Geese are usually harmless to humans but with conditions. Regardless, they can still attack with ferociousness. It is a very rare occurrence, as their first instinct is to walk away or fly away. However, they are also territorial animals and will not tolerate anyone threatening them, and this includes humans.

Oklahoma is a landlocked state. Yet, you will still find numerous geese in lakes, rivers, and ponds across the state. There are about 29 different species of geese, and they populate the entire state. Amazingly, they can fly up to 55 miles per hour. That top speed and their temper make them one of the most dangerous flying animals in Oklahoma.

There are four different colors of geese that you may find. Significantly, a goose can be white, brown, gray, or black. Geese can live anywhere between 12-26 years.

Snow goose, chick. Chen caerulescens.

Geese are territorial animals that will bite if you come near them.


10. Mississippi Kites

In most situations, Mississippi Kites will not attack humans. In fact, they are generally harmless if you stay far away from them. But they can still attack if the situation presents itself. For example, there was a strange phenomenon in 1991 when Mississippi Kites attacked joggers for getting too close to their young kites. These birds generally do not wish to attack. Yet, they are also very territorial.

The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation reported that Mississippi Kites will defend their nests aggressively from anyone they deem a threat. Likewise, their attacks can cause scrapes and potential infections if you do not get them checked.

Red eyes are the first thing you would notice about Mississippi Kites. Ultimately, their glare can freeze you in your tracks. They are gray, yellow, black, and white. Additionally, they can live up to eight years in the wild.

Mississippi kite (Ictinia mississippiensis) perched on tree snag with green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis) in its beak.

The Mississippi kite will aggressively defend their nests if they feel there is a threat nearby.

©Chase D’animulls/

9. Blister Beetles

Blister beetles generally do not pose a threat to anyone’s life. However, they can still distribute a potent chemical called cantharidin. Cantharidin can also cause blisters on the human body when it makes contact with the skin. These blisters can be incredibly painful and very difficult to deal with. Therefore, the blister beetle is not an insect you want to come into contact with. While you cannot die immediately from the beetle, the effects of the Cantharidin can be lethal if you swallow it. Additionally, it can cause kidney damage.

Blister beetles have broad heads that are wider than their necks. Also, you will likely find them in warm habitats across Oklahoma. They come in numerous colors, including black, yellow, and gray. Furthermore, there are about 7,500 species of blister beetles, and they can live between 1-3 months.

Blister beetle

Because of their ability to produce caustic chemicals, they are sometimes utilized in traditional medicine.

©D. Kucharski K. Kucharska/

8. Ferruginous Hawks

Ferruginous hawks are birds you will only find in North America. Moreover, they have been seen in Oklahoma and are predatory birds. Similar to other large birds, they generally do not attack humans unless provoked. Likewise, they can attack, and will, if they feel someone is threatening their nests.

They are the only species of their kind. Also, they have a wingspan of 4-5 feet, which makes them even more impressive. A distinct feature of them is their rust-colored plumage. Furthermore, they prefer trees, cliffs, and other unreachable high structures.

Ferruginous hawks can appear brown, red, black, or white. Also, they fly as fast as 150 miles per hour and span in length between 22-27 inches.

Ferruginous Hawks

The ferruginous hawk can be a very aggressive bird when agitated.

©abenton/ via Getty Images

7. European Paper Wasp

European Paper Wasps are the first true wasps to make this list. Ironically, these critters look like a hybrid of a yellow-jacket and a paper wasp. You will not have to look hard to find these insects across Oklahoma.

The thing that makes the European paper wasp so deadly is the fact that they will sting repeatedly. However, it will only be fatal to those who are allergic to bee or wasp stings. Those allergic reactions can arise in people and cause severe reactions. Moreover, some of those severe reactions can include difficulty breathing or swallowing, along with noisy breathing and increased heart rate.

European paper wasp, Gallische Feldwespe (Polistes dominulus)

European paper wasps can create a painful sting, especially for those who are allergic.


6. Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-tailed hawks generally mind their own business, like many other birds. However, there have been situations where they have attacked humans. It has happened across several states, and these same hawks live in Oklahoma.

They are among the most common hawks found in Oklahoma. Moreover, they are everywhere and sometimes hover above office buildings or other structures. Its aggressive behavior makes it on this list as one of the most dangerous flying animals in Oklahoma.

Bottom view of a red-tailed hawk flying, seen in the wild in South Oregon

Red-tailed hawks have been aggressive to humans in the past.


5. Asilidae

Asilidae, or the “Assassin Fly” or “Robber Fly,” are flies that imitate the behavior of bees and wasps. Moreover, they have an impeccable ability to attack their prey mid-flight. They do not attack humans without provocation. However, if you do provoke them, they will bite with an intensity that is painful.

The Missouri Department of Conservation reported that their bites can implement an excruciating venom. Therefore, the best way to get rid of one that lands on your body is to gently push it away instead of slapping it.

One unique thing about them is their point head, as well as their long, hairy legs. Additionally, you are likely to find them in open-air spaces. They are usually brown or black and can live between 1-3 years.

Robber fly

The robber flies include more than 7,000 species.

©Seema Swami/

4. Mosquitos

Mosquitos are one of the insects in the world that almost everyone fears. Consequently, many people across the world have experienced a mosquito bite at one point. Mosquitos can also cause several forms of disease, and that’s what makes them incredibly dangerous. Significantly, some of those diseases include West Nile virus, malaria, dengue, Zika virus, and yellow fever.

Oklahoma has mosquitos like any state in the nation. Likewise, these mosquitos can take down any human with one bite. It is definitely one of the most dangerous animals in Oklahoma based on its ability to harm in such a short amount of time.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency reported that mosquitos not only can affect humans, but they can also infect pets. Moreover, they can transmit diseases to cats and dogs, who can then unintentionally infect their owners. The EPA also related that mosquitos lay their eggs in various spaces, including tree holes, old tires, buckets, and even toys.

The most distinguishing thing you will notice about mosquitos is their piercing mouthparts. Also, they are usually brown, red, black, or white. They can only fly as fast as 1.5 miles per hour. Ironically, they typically can live only a few days.

macro normal female mosquito isolated on green leaf

Mosquitos can produce painful bites, especially in large numbers.


3. Africanized Honey Bees

Africanized honey bees, also known as “killer bees,” are incredibly dangerous creatures. Unfortunately, they have killed people. Africanized honey bees are a mix of the typical European honey bee and the African honey bee. Also, they look almost identical to the honey bee.

They have caused terror across the southern United States for years. Furthermore, they have established themselves as one of the most dangerous flying animals in Oklahoma. They are so dangerous they may chase anyone that intrudes their hive for up to half a mile. Amazingly, they also have the ability to relocate their hives when feeling stressed.

Africanized honey bees often burrow themselves in the ground to store their hives. Therefore, people can sometimes accidentally run into them. They are incredibly aggressive and can fly at 20 miles per hour. Consequently, approximately 1,000 humans have died from their stings throughout the years.

Africanized honeybee

Africanized honey bees are always a threat when they sting.


2. Yellow-Jacket Wasp

Yellow-jacket wasps are just as dangerous as killer bees and potentially more fatal. Unfortunately, their stingers are different from bees. It allows them to sting repeatedly. Somehow, they have two different ways of killing people. The first way they kill people is by repeatedly stinging someone, thus distributing toxic effects. Likewise, they can also kill someone who is allergic to bee or wasp stings.

The best way to counter a yellow-jacket wasp is to wear heavy clothing when walking in areas where they might be present. Additionally, people who live in areas where these wasps frequent should also cover their trash containers. It is important for parents to inform their children about the dangers these wasps cause.

A sting from a yellow-jacket wasp to someone who is allergic can cause death within 20 minutes. Initially, it starts with someone feeling an itch and eventually moves toward the entire skin. It eventually makes it hard for the victim to breathe.

It is one of the animals on Earth that is distinguishable thanks to its yellow-and-black appearance. Additionally, there are 17 different kinds of species. Yellow-jacket wasps can live between 12-22 days.

Close-up of a live Yellow Jacket Wasp

Yellow jacket wasps are known for their aggressive behavior.


1. Bald-Faced Hornet

Bald-faced hornets are a species ranging from the yellow jacket. Like many other bees and wasps, the bald-faced hornet will attack anything that invades its space. While they are smaller than the Asian Giant Hornet, they can still pack a deadly punch.

Bald-faced hornets build their nests three feet off the ground. Additionally, they can sometimes hide their nests even further, going as high as 60 feet off the ground while making them practically invisible. Bald-faced hornets eat bees, which is amazing when you consider these two are from similar species. Also, they can take down about 40 bees in a minute.

But bald-faced hornets have an impeccable memory. Unfortunately, it means they will remember someone who has wronged them and attack in retaliation. These hornets are one of the most intelligent insects on the planet and will use that to harm humans. Consequently, it is another thing that makes them one of the most dangerous flying animals in Oklahoma.

A Bald-faced Hornet is resting on a green leaf. Also known as a Blackjacket, Bull Wasp, and White-faced or White-tailed Hornet. Taylor Creek Park, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Bald-faced hornets are among the most feared insects in Oklahoma.

©Paul Reeves Photography/

Summary of the Most Dangerous Flying Animals in Oklahoma

1.Bald-Faced Hornets
2.Yellow-Jacket Wasps
3.Africanized Honey Bees
6.Red-Tailed Hawks
7.European Paper Wasps
8.Ferruginous Hawks
9.Blister Beetles
10.Mississippi Kites
12.Hoary Bats
13.Little Brown Bats
14.Tarantula Hawks
15.Goldenrod Crab Spiders

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Susan Rydberg/

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About the Author

Rob Hayek is a writer at A-Z Animals where his primary focus is on animals, sports, places, and events. Rob has been writing and researching about animals, sports, places, and events for over 10 years and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Cal State University Fullerton, which he earned in 2009. A resident of California, Rob enjoys surfing and also owns a sports group which allows people from the local community to come together to play sports recreationally.

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