If you’re like most people, you probably think of cacti as those spiky green plants that are impossible to kill even if you forget to water them for a few weeks in a row. And while it’s true that cacti are pretty tough plants, there’s more to these desert dwellers than meets the eye. Believe it or not, some types of cacti can actually be dangerous — especially if you have small children or pets in your home.
So, is it safe to have a cactus in the house? Let’s take a closer look.
Types of Cacti That Are Dangerous
There are actually several types of cacti that can be dangerous to have in the home. One of the most common dangerous cacti is the Opuntia, which is also commonly known as the prickly pear cactus. This type of cactus has broad, flat leaves that are covered in sharp spines. These spines can easily penetrate the skin and cause serious injury. In fact, Opuntias are responsible for more hospitalizations than any other type of plant in the United States.
Another type of dangerous cactus is the Echinocactus, which is also known as the barrel cactus. This type of cactus gets its name from its spherical shape, which can grow up to two feet in diameter. The Echinocactus is covered in sharp spines that can cause puncture wounds. The largest spine on this cactus can be up to four inches long!
The third type of dangerous cactus is the Carnegiea gigantea, which is better known as the saguaro cactus. This type of cactus is native to the southwestern United States and can grow up to 70 feet tall! The saguaro cactus has sharp spines that can reach up to two inches long. These spines can cause serious injury if they puncture the skin.
Finally, the Ferocactus wislizenii, which is also known as the fishhook barrel cactus, is a type of cactus that is native to parts of Arizona and California. This type of cactus gets its name from its hooked spines, which can grow up to three inches long. These spines can cause deep puncture wounds that are very difficult to remove.
So while a cactus that is sitting in a pot and looking handsome is no problem, these plants can be dangerous to child, pets, and unwary adults. Dogs especially can have problems with a cactus as they don’t expect, or don’t understand, the spikes and can hurt their mouths or body with this cactus’ protective measures.
But Is It Safe?
As you can see, there are several types of cacti that can be dangerous to have in the home. If you have small children or pets, it’s probably best to avoid having these plants in your house altogether. However, if you do decide to have a cactus in your home, be sure to keep it out of reach of children and pets and supervise them closely when they are around it.