UK wildlife you must treat with caution
In an early entrant for weirdest news story of the year, infamous rock n’ roller Pete Doherty cancelled an appearance on BBC Radio 5 Live, due to an infection sustained from the spines of a hedgehog.
Though Doherty was hurt in the line of duty (he was trying to extract the hog from the mouth of one of his huskies), hedgehog handling is not wise, and it’s one of several species that belies the UK’s reputation for harmless wildlife.
These ferocious creatures will make you think twice before getting too close to anything on a woodland walk.
Notoriously the only venomous snake in the British Isles, the adder probably doesn’t deserve its fearsome reputation. Small, rare, often in hibernation, and far more afraid of you than you are of it, adders still attract scare stories for being the deadliest fish in Britain’s extremely small pond.
Nevertheless, if you chance upon one steer clear – a nip from an adder may cause severe pain, dizziness and vomiting, and will require a prompt trip to A&E. Adder bites have caused fatalities, but the last was in 1975.
2. Frogs and toads
It will come as no surprise that most frogs are not fearsome predators, but handling them can be extremely bad for their health. Frogs absorb almost everything through their skin, so can be irreparably damaged by the natural oils on dry hands, and the soap residue on hastily washed ones.
We hope that’s enough to discourage you, but for anyone still inclined to selfishly frog-handle, frogs can also transmit diseases like salmonella.
Don’t be fooled by the docile mooing, within every cow lurks a killer so calculating it spends most of its time masquerading as a family-friendly farm animal. OK, we might be exaggerating, but statistically speaking cows are one of the British countryside’s most dangerous inhabitants.
A 2015 study published in the British Medical Journal identified 54 reported attacks by cattle over the preceding two decades, with a 24% fatality rate, mostly the product of stampeding herds or maternal aggression. Dog walkers should take particular care – calves and loud barking do not mix.
Most tick bites are harmless, but if infected these irksome little arachnids can transmit Lyme’s disease – a bacterial ailment causing a high temperature, exhaustion, and a dartboard-like rash.
But how to do you avoid creatures that can be smaller than the head of a pin? The key is avoiding their habitat – do not walk through bracken if you can avoid it, and wear long trousers if walking through woodland away from the path.
The Press Association
Latest posts by The Press Association (see all)
- Quiz: How many of these iconic city nicknames do you know? - August 16, 2019
- 4 types of headaches and what they’re trying to tell you - August 14, 2019
- Garden angels or thugs? 4 plants you might not want in your garden - August 12, 2019
- 5 ways to tackle insomnia by improving your sleep ‘stimulus control’ - August 12, 2019
- 7 ways to keep your hands looking youthful - August 12, 2019
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!