Okay, so we’ve got over the false widow spider panic. We know that they’ve been here for hundreds of years and we know that while a bite will seriously smart, and will probably need a dab or two of cream, it won’t kill us.
But what is living out there in Britain that we should definitely cross the road to avoid?
5. Wild Boar
Asterix and Obelix may have hunted them with their bare hands but they did have magic potion to help them and it’s probably just as well. Wild boar are pretty useful when they need to be.
They are fairly shy for most of the year but catch them when they’re mating or they’ve got young and be prepared to run. An adult boar can weigh over 15 stone and the males have tusks that grow over four inches long. That’s a serious amount of bacon coming at your ass.
4. Asian Hornet
Unlike our docile native hornets these fuckers actively look for trouble, killing up to 40 people a year in their native Japan. Mind you, if you’re carrying a 6mm long sting around in your arse you’d be pretty desperate to show it off.
3. Kellas Cat
We’ve heard the tales of pumas and leopards stalking the countryside and there’s an ever increasing amount of evidence to support the rumours, but folk in Aberdeenshire are quite used to big black moggies scaring the shit out of them.
Called the Kellas cat, after the town, this is a super hybrid of Scottish Wildcat and feral cat that has taken the best genes of both and grown big. They might not have attacked any people as yet, but a cat the size of a collie would certainly shit you up.
2. Alligator Snapping Turtle
Heard the one about the swan breaking someone’s arm? Of course you have and of course it’s bollocks, but there is something lurking in our lakes that could easily take you arm clean off.
The alligator snapping turtle has to be hard with a name like that and it certainly is. Growing up to 250 lbs these monsters happily crunch racoons and armadillos in their native America.
In 2010 an angler caught a four stone specimen from Solihull reservoir and one far larger has found a home in a lake near Horsham. Believed to be discarded pets, they can live for over 100 years so how many more are out there?
1. Great White Shark
Every summer someone panics when they see a basking shark off the Cornish coast and the red-tops have a Jaws frenzy for a couple of days. Then someone points out it’s a plankton eating basking shark and we all go swimming again.
However, beyond the annual August scratching for stories there are actually some pretty viable sightings.
Fishermen in the Hebrides have been reporting great whites for years and these are hardened sea-dogs well used to seeing basking sharks around their boats.
Meanwhile on the Welsh coast a freshly killed seal was washed up which, when studied, was determined to have been chomped by a great white.
The warmth of the Gulf Stream brings all sorts of creatures to our shores – Irish skippers are cashing in on the tuna fishing every summer – so it makes perfect sense that a great white or two might be knocking about.
Paddle carefully this year…
Kevin Parr’s latest book The Twitch, a viciously funny black comedy set in the world of bird watching, is now available on Amazon and Unbound.co.uk