Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dangerous species

In the early days Finland has drawn a rather long straw in terms of fauna. We only have one poisonous snake, the worst spider bites are only itchy, no scorpios, the mosquitos are not armed with malaria nor dengue fever.

Tick Bite
Image by KitAy, Flickr/CC

In the past week I read a column where the writer stated that bear is the most dangerous animal in the Finnish nature. In my opinion the most frightening animal in the Finnish wilderness is a tick, punkki. Ticks may carry and infect lyme disease or tick-borne encephalitis, both of the diseases may cause bad neurological disorder. The best way to protect yourself against ticks is to wear long sleeves and trousers when walking in the nature. After your berry picking exploration you should check through your body in case black 1,5 mm spider-like creatures attached to your skin. Punkkipihdit are handy when detaching tick. If there's a red circle on your skin around the area of tick bite, go and get a prescription for antibiotics.

Image by Natalie Lucier, Flickr/CC

The second place of the most dangerous animals goes to elk, in my opinion. Not that it would attack human in the forest, but because of its size and traffic behavior. 500 kilos of meat hitting your windshield is not a nice surprise on the road. Usually motorways are not the problem, but all the other 450 000 kilometers of roads. As cousins of elks, the deers behave in a similar way, jumping cross the road, but since they're smaller they're not that destructive. Up north the reindeers are something to watch out too - but they're usually so lazy that they just lie down on the road and refuse to move.

But all in all, the rest of the fauna is mostly harmless. Perhaps annoying, like those flying little bastards such as mosquitos, biting horseflies, deerflies - and seagulls. But harmless. And let's face it: if you can see a bear in the wilderness, you're lucky.

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