Dangerous Animals on Crete
Please view our special
page concerning snakes on Crete.
Like all scorpions, Cretan scorpions are venomous, but their venom is not normally life-threatening. There are at least three species of scorpions in Crete. All three have several subspecies. There are quite a lot of scorpions; in the last five years I have seen around twenty scorpions, which is far more often than I have seen snakes. Stings are rare, but have been known to happen. Scorpion stings hurt a lot. To be on the safe side you should see a doctor or a pharmacist, particularly if you suffer from a rare allergy against this poison Ė in this case, being stung is dangerous.
Cretan scorpions are smaller than most tourists think. Some species like the frequent black Euscorpius Carpathicus are only 3-4 cm long. The species Mesobuthus Gibbosus are lighter and much bigger, growing up to 12 cm long, and pretty scary with it.
Venomous Spiders on Crete
Black widows in Crete exist in arachnid and human form on Crete. Despite this, Iíve never heard of a bite from one in all my years here.
Jumping spiders are another matter; some years ago on the south coast of Crete some people were bitten by them. The first few days after the bite it is not especially painful. However, the small wound has a tendency to get infected. These people had to get treatment from a doctor, and one girl even went to hospital; it took weeks for her big, painful wound to heal. The doctors confirmed that the bite was that of a jumping spider, and that the reaction was typical of someone with an allergy to the venom. That same summer (2003), there were some other bites in Plakias. Having said that, I have not heard of a case of jumping spider bites since. All victims were bitten at night time whilst in bed. Jumping spiders are small (1cm big) and can jump about half a metre.
There are some rumours about the existence of tarantulas on Crete, though not everyone believes them. I canít confirm these rumours, but they shouldnít be completed discarded.
There are some other venomous spiders on Crete, such as the Araneus, a spider found across Europe. Iíve also read on some internet forums that the poisonous brown recluse spider lives in Crete; Iíve never heard this anywhere else, though.
Sharks around Crete
People frequently ask me: Are there sharks around Crete? Are they dangerous?
There are about thirty species of sharks in the Mediterranean Sea. Some of them are big and can be dangerous for human beings. Some of them live in the South Eastern Mediterranean (around Crete).
I do not know of any shark attack around Crete, or even around Greece. On the other hand, millions of people swim, surf or dive around Crete each year, so shark attacks are possible but it is probably more likely that the sky would fall down. Whilst there are hundreds of risks in a holiday on Crete, the most unlikely one is probably being eaten by a shark.
There are sometimes newspaper stories about Great White Sharks in the Mediterranean. There have been rare incidents where Great Whites have been spotted and filmed around Greece, but there have been no reports of a Jaws-style Great White attack on humans here (thankfully!).
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