JUN 21, 2018 04:17 AM PDT

Better think twice before you bite

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Everyone knows that when foraging for mushrooms, it's best to have an expert at your side, so as not to take an accidental nibble out of a noxious fungus. But if you happen to be mushroom-hunting in the North of California, you best have a few experts, because this is the home of the Death cap mushroom, Amanita phalloides. One single death cap has enough toxin to kill a human being, and as the young mushrooms look quite different from their mature counterparts, differentiating between these deadly shrooms can be a matter of life or death. 

The scary part of the Death cap is that it starts working before you even know it; for the first 6-12 hours, you may not show any symptoms. Meanwhile, the toxins have already started destroying your liver cells. And while the Death cap isn't native to northern California - it has European origins - it's presence is indisputable now, with reports of several people dying due to Death cap consumption. Want to see how this mushroom works its black magic? Watch the video! 

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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