When it comes to dangerous animals in the sea, the first thing that comes to mind for many is the shark. But although sharks also occur in the Mediterranean, shark attacks in Europe are extremely rare. On the other hand, there are numerous other poisonous and even deadly animals lurking in the Mediterranean Sea that can pose a serious threat to humans. According to a report by echo24, among the 20 most dangerous marine animals in the world are from also some in the Mediterranean, such as the weever, luminous jellyfish and stingrays.
These animals are particularly dangerous for barefoot walkers
A particularly venomous animal lurking in the Mediterranean is the weever. The small, rather inconspicuous fish buries itself in the sand and is therefore invisible to bathers – but whoever steps on the weever gets to feel its poisonous sting. Severe pain and long-lasting swelling are the result – those who are allergic can even suffer cardiac arrest. Often an allergy is not known in advance.
On the beach, holidaymakers can also encounter the yellow Mediterranean scorpion or the Spanish funnel-web spider. The Yellow Mediterranean Scorpion is particularly widespread in Egypt and Turkey. It is one of the most poisonous scorpions in the world and is also dangerous for humans – and in the worst case deadly for children.
The Spanish funnel-web spider lives in southern Spain and Portugal, but is also found in Italy. Their bite causes intense pain, numbness, goosebumps, and muscle spasms. After ten minutes, muscle cramps, nausea, shortness of breath and sweating can also occur. For children and immunocompromised, the encounter without an antidote can be fatal.
New deadly beasts are spreading
The warming of the climate ensures that new species advance to the Mediterranean Sea. The same applies to the Indian lionfish: in the worst case, touching it can even lead to respiratory arrest. “In the meantime, the invader even made it to the Adriatic Sea. In the summer of 2021, underwater photographer Damnir Zurub took what are believed to be the first images of an Indian lionfish in the Croatian Mediterranean off the island of Vis,” says National Geographic.
The rabbit head puffer fish can also be a real danger to humans. Although its name sounds harmless, it is not at all: This species of puffer fish is not only poisonous, but also has very sharp teeth, which according to the report can even penetrate metal.
Painful encounter with the stingray
The stingray is a flattened cartilaginous fish with a long tail with a venomous spine. It belongs to the stingrays, grows up to three meters in length and is also found in the Mediterranean. Its sting can also cause fatal injuries in humans. However, an encounter is rather rare and an attack only occurs when the animal feels threatened.
Luminous jellyfish and “Floating Terror” cause painful nettle stings
Under no circumstances should holidaymakers come into contact with the luminous jellyfish. Although such encounters are not fatal, they result in severe burns that take a long time to heal and can also cause scars. The same applies to the compass jellyfish, which is also found in the Mediterranean. Allergy sufferers often suffer weeks later from blisters on the skin.
The Portuguese galley, also known as the “Floating Terror”, is also a cnidarian. And the name says it all: the tentacles of the Portuguese galley have up to 1,000 stinging cells per centimeter, which contain a poisonous mixture of different proteins, according to the report. Anyone who comes into contact with the tentacles suffers burns and severe pain. Red wheals form on the skin. Here, too, allergy sufferers and those with a weakened immune system run the risk of dying as a result.
This is how holidaymakers can protect themselves
You should always be vigilant on the beach and in the water and keep an eye on children. Anyone who is bitten or stung by an animal in or on the Mediterranean Sea should remember their appearance and – if possible – take a photo of the culprit. A doctor or health care professional should be consulted urgently if symptoms develop. If you act too late, you could pay for it with your life.
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