What is the most dangerous animal in the Netherlands?

I grew up in Australia, home to some of the most dangerous animals in the world. You can often hear me say how nice it is to live in a country where there doesn’t really seem to be any real animal threats. As a parent, it’s a relief not to have to be alert or even consider the possibility of our kids getting a deadly spider or snake bite when outside playing.

Australia is famous for it’s dangerous animals. It has more deadly snakes than any other country worldwide, in pretty much every shed or garden you will find toxic venomous spiders. Then you have the box jelly fish, sharks, crocodiles and more….

But what is the most dangerous animal in the Netherlands?

We don’t have any threatening, poisonous snakes or spiders in the Netherlands. The water is too cold for sharks.  We don’t have bears or crocs. On the rare occasion you hear news of a lonely wolf crossing the German border onto Dutch land, but they pose no threat and are more scared of us then we are of them. We can all still safely wander through forests or swim in any body of water without feeling threatened at all.

I have always thought that the answer to this question is perhaps the tick.  These tiny little animals can pack an awful punch if infected with the Lyme disease, a bite from one of these little creatures can change your life. If you notice a redness around the tick bite in the days or weeks after being bitten, best to call your doctor as soon as possible.  But i have done my research and was surprised to find that this is not the deadliest animal in the Netherlands. In fact, although they do cause thousands of chronic illnesses per year, they cause no deaths.

Wild deer and pigs can be found in the Netherlands. When crossing over roads, these animals can cause a car crash. However, this doesn’t make them the most dangerous.

Most of the animals in the Netherlands are not wild. They live with us in our home or on farms. The Dutch share their homes with about 2.6 million cats and 1.5 million dogs. Hmmm dogs. They bite. But do they kill? In the Netherlands, there are about 30,000 serious injuries caused by dogs, from these on average 1 person per year will die due to the dog attack. Most incidents involve children or people who are not used to dogs and don’t know how to interpret the warning signs that the dog may be angry or scared. Dogs are not the most dangerous animal in the Netherlands.

Ever heard of Q fever? This is a disease caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii, which naturally infects some animals, such as goats. People can get infected by breathing in dust that has been contaminated by infected animal feces, urine, or milk. Some people never get sick; however, those who do usually develop flu-like symptoms including fever, chills, fatigue, and muscle pain. It is also contagious. On average, 8 people per year have died in the Netherlands from Q-fever contracted from a goat. Yes i am going to say it. Believe it or not, this makes the goat the most dangerous animal in the Netherlands.

Ticks, dogs and goats, not exactly animals that you would immediately think of when you think of ‘dangerous animals’. Yet, they cause more problems in the Netherlands than any other animals. Still, the fact that these guys are our biggest threats here in this country is quite reassuring don’t you think?

Kristen

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