Creepy crawlies Brits should avoid in Europe or risk stings and hallucinations

Millions of Brits go on holiday every summer and short haul trips to Europe are some of our favourite.

Whether you choose to stay at a hotel or go camping staying nearer to the UK is often miles cheaper.

You can find holiday deals to Spain, Turkey, Greece and Portugal even now when summer is approaching.

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However, those Brits who like to spend time in the outdoors while on holiday – from hiking and cycling to swimming should be aware of the dangers.

While sunburn and heatstroke are avoidable it's also important to know what insects and other animals to stay far away from.

Overseas property experts atPropertyGuides.comhave revealed five creatures that naïve Brits should try and avoid.

Those who don't may find they need medical attention for stings, bites and even nervous system damage.

Asian Hornet – France and Spain

The Asian hornet is a species of hornet indigenous to Southeast Asia, but they entered France in 2004 and later Spain in around 2010.

While it is not regarded as being especially aggressive, they do tend to sting if feeling threatened or if its nest is attacked.

So it’s best to keep them at arm’s length…

They’re typically around 3-4cm long, but the queens can exceed 5cm – so they’re hard to miss!

Long-nosed Adder – south-eastern Europe

Found in south-eastern Europe from Hungary and Austria to Italy, Romania and northern Albania, this small viper is commonly found in farms, open fields and rocky slopes.

The long-nosed Adder is responsible for many bites which can be fatal, though chances of survival are good with medical aid.

Its venom is haemotoxic, causing severe pain and massive tissue damage.

Processionary Pine Caterpillars – Spain

These caterpillars might look cute and furry, but they can be dangerous to children and dogs – so steer clear!

Those seemingly ‘fluffy’ hairs are actually severely irritating as they are toxic, causing rashes, eye irritation, coughing and allergic reactions.

The hairs are also carried in the wind, which can be problematic.

They can be found all over Spain, and some have even made their way to parts of the UK, as global warming is causing the species to move progressively further north.

Mediterranean Funnel Web spider – Coastal Mediterranean

Linked to their lethal cousins in Australia, Mediterranean funnel web spiders are impressive arachnids that weave and live in funnel-shaped webs – hence the name.

It’s one of the largest spiders in Europe measuring at around 30 millimetres (1.2 in) long; but females are typically larger.

They’re active all year along the Mediterranean Sea and the coastal areas and their bites can cause a nasty sting, so best to avoid them where possible.

Black Widow spider – France

In Corsica, Provence and even along the Atlantic coast, you might encounter the most dangerous spider in France: the Black Widow.

Their venom is about 15 times stronger than rattlesnake venom, meaning the bite of this insect can damage the nervous system, causing hallucinations or even behavioural disorders.

However, it’s important to note that most victims recover without serious complications.

This spider is also commonly found throughout the Mediterranean region more generally, ranging from southern Iberia to southwest and central Asia.


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