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The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France

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The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Photo: AFP
15:46 CEST+02:00
While it's nowhere near Australia in terms of dangerous wildlife, France is still home to a number of animals and insects that you should give a wide berth to, if you can.
Although France is better known for its sheep, rabbits and cute little mutts owned by Parisians, it's still home to a number of animals, insects or sea creatures that you wouldn't want to get in a tangle with.
 
Here are some of the most dangerous found in France. 
 
Bears 
 
When bears were reintroduced to the Pyrénées mountains a few years ago, local farmers went wild. Although they didn't so much fear being attacked themselves, they were concerned about the lives of their farm animals. 
 
And numerous attacks on sheep in recent years seem to have proved them right. Although as of yet there have been no reported slayings of humans, the bear remains a potentially dangerous beast.
 
Photo: Timbako/Flickr
 
Wolves
 
Like bears, in that there have been no reported attacks by wolves on humans for a long time. 
However, not many hikers would want to come across a pack of these hunters when walking in the south of France, where they now roam. Farmers are demanding the government order a cull after hundreds of their sheep were slain in recent years.
 
Photo: Arranet/Flickr
 
Asp viper
 
Vipera aspis are found in almost all of France, and have a venomous and extremely painful bite, despite rarely being fatal. 
 
Watch out for them near the city of Montpellier, in the Lorraine region, and in parts of the Pyrénées.
 
Photo: Alexandre Roux/Flickr
 
Jellyfish
 
Swarms of jellyfish have been known to invade the beaches of the French Mediterranean, and authorities have been forced to issue warnings about the arrival of the infamous Portuguese Man o' War jellyfish in Atlantic waters. 
 
If stung by one, they can cause cause sickness, breathing difficulties and shaking.
 
Photo: akunamatata/Flickr
 
Tiger mosquito
 
These disease-carrying pests have doubled their numbers in France since 2012 alone, according to the Ministry of Health. Especially virulent along the humid Mediterranean coast, the tiger mosquito first appeared in the Alpes-Maritimes department in 2004 and since then, the insects have spread from there and caused serious infections over the years.
 
Photo: CDC/Flickr
 
Wild boars
 
Wild boars have caused all sorts of havoc in France over the years. And while they might look adorable taking over a French beach (as they did this summer - see image below), they're one of the biggest dangers caused by boars is the hazard they pose to drivers at night.
 
Wild boar and piglets share French beach with bathersPhoto: AFP
 
Cows
 
Far from the most dreaded creature on this list, but unlike many of the others, French cows have been responsible for the deaths of humans of late. Hikers have been killed in the Pyrénées after being charged in recent years, and hill-walkers were killed in similar incidents in the Alps and the Pyrénées within a matter of days in 2010.
 
 
Violin Spider
 
In 2009, the city of Marseille was overcome with arachnophobia, as one British newspaper described it, when a resident came within hours of dying after being bitten by a "violin spider" in his bed. 
 
Reactions to bites can vary but a gangrenous ulcer can develop in some victims, destroying soft tissue and sometimes taking several months to heal. If untreated, it can lead to death. The spiders are native to the southern part of the United States.
 
Photo: oakley originals/Flickr
 
Asian hornet
 
The five-centimetre insect, which was accidentally introduced in France in 2004, has been decimating local bee populations for years as well as killing a number of people.
 
It has been responsible for at least four deaths in France, most recently last summer when a 60-year-old man with heart problems was stung on his face and neck in Brittany.
 

(Photo: AFP)
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