France is not exactly a “country at risk” in terms of wildlife. Few animals represent a real danger to humans. But little does not mean none and above all, the most fearsome critters are not always the ones we fear the most. Here is a list relayed by Geo, to give you pimples and give you insomnia…
We don’t see her very much because generally speaking, when a viper detects a human presence, she opts for flight rather than attack.
However, every year about a thousand bites are recorded in France. These accidents most often occur when they are walked on or touched involuntarily while lifting a stone or picking up wood, for example. This is why the vast majority of bites occur on the hands or feet.
A viper bite requires medical advice, an anti-venom injection being sometimes necessary. Between one and five people die each year in France after being bitten by one of the four species present in France (asp, Peliade, Orsini and the Pyrenean viper).
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The black widow of Europe
This spider has a spine-chilling name. If it is much less dangerous than its American and Australian cousins, the black widow of Europe – also called “false black widow” – is no less formidable. The bite of this spider to cause significant damage, in particular because of the bacteria resistant to the antibiotics it carries.
Originally from the Canary Islands, the European black widow is particularly widespread in the south-west of France. She is particularly fond of window sills and rainwater drainage manholes.
Surprised to find the mosquito in the ranking of the most dangerous critters in France? Not really… You still have to get along and agree on the type of mosquito in question. In this case, it is not the “common” mosquito, the one that is content to rot our nights and leave us with a few (many?) pimples as a souvenir when we wake up.
It is the tiger mosquito to be wary of. This one does not disturb our nights: it is silent and mainly stings during the day. Its bite is dangerous since some individuals are carriers of viruses such as chikungunya, Zika or dengue fever.
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Here again, it is not a priori an animal that we would spontaneously designate as frightening. However, we must be wary like the plague of this mite 3 to 5 mm long.
The tick bite causes severe itching, but that is not the problem.
If the tick is a danger to humans, it is because approximately 15% of specimens carry the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease.
To limit the risk of bites, avoid walking in shorts in tall grass as well as in wooded and humid areas. The best parade is to wear light and covering clothes, especially on the legs.
Bad news, the tick seems to be gradually gaining ground and getting closer to our living spaces. Tall grass and forests are no longer its exclusive playgrounds, it is sometimes also found in public and private gardens.
The Asian hornet
Is it still necessary to present this newcomer – arrived in France in 2004 – classified as harmful? In addition to unbalancing the ecosystem by decimating bee colonies in particular, the Asian hornet is not completely harmless to humans.
In the vast majority of cases, the insect is not aggressive. It is near the nests – which can shelter a thousand specimens – that the danger arises and that most attacks occur. Reason why it is prudent not to approach within five meters of a nest. When threatened, the Asian hornet can sting, and its venom is painful.
Note that in this summer of 2022, the European hornet demonstrated that it too could be dangerous. The misadventure of three cyclists stung dozens of times in the Loire marked the spirits.
Rare cases of death following bites are recorded each year in France, but these tragedies are not directly caused by the bite of the Asian hornet. They are the result of a dazzling allergic reaction or anaphylactic shock.