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Turkey's most dangerous animals

Prospective buyers often ask us about dangerous animals in Turkey. Here, we give you the rundown on the various animals you may encounter while living in Turkey - and your chances of surviving an encounter with one.

Snakes

Back Viper SnakeThere are around 45 species of snakes in Turkey, and of these around 10 are poisonous. The most common venomous snake is the black viper. However, unless you’re planning to take up a career as a farmhand while in Turkey you will be safe, as snakes are rarely seen in tourist areas. It may also comfort you to know that between 1995 and 2004 (the latest period for which we could find data), while 550 people visited to clinics or hospitals due to snake bites, there were no deaths. Most snake bites were contracted in Marmara, Central Anatolia and Turkey’s Black Sea region. If you do get bitten by a snake please seek medical assistance. Try and get a look at the snake so you can describe it to your doctor.

Spiders

black widow spiderA few venomous spiders call Turkey home, including the brown recluse spider, the black widow, the hunter spider and the yellow sac spider. While you might see the odd spider in your home, the chances of it being one of the spiders mentioned above is very, very rare. Not only are these spiders mostly found along Turkey’s southeastern coastline, eastern border and far inland, they are extremely shy creatures who will take pains to avoid dangerous humans. Furthermore, even if one of these spiders did bite you it’s very unlikely that you’d experience anything greater than pain and some swelling. It’s impossible to find any mention of spider deaths in Turkey, which should reassure most arachnophobes. If you get bitten by any spider, treat the bite area with a cold compress and take a painkiller if it starts to smart. If after 24 hours the area is still swollen or looks any worse, see a doctor immediately. Again, try to get a good look at the spider so you can describe it to your doctor. 

Scorpions

Scorpion in TurkeyThis feared creature is reasonably common in Turkey and there are around 15 species, the most common of which are those from the buthidae family. As well as being largely nocturnal, scorpions are so shy and wary of humans it’s extremely unlikely you’ll ever encounter one in Turkey’s tourist areas. While there are a number of scorpion stings each year, fatalities are rare. In tourist regions, which are generally built up, you generally won't see scorpions unless you go looking for them in old stone walls and under logs. Scorpion bites can be painful, but rarely fatal unless you're in poor health or very young. If you are stung by a scorpion use a cold compress to assuage the swelling and head to the nearest medical centre to get checked over. Try to get a look at the scorpion - or carefully apprehend it - so your doctor is better able to treat you.

Centipedes

Centipede in TurkeyTurkey’s creepy centipedes live under rocks or in the sand and can grow up to 30 centimetres in length. Centipedes dole out around 5000 bites each year in Turkey, mostly to people working and living in rural areas.

However, most bites are completely harmless, causing only a small rash and a bit of swelling. If you get bitten by a centipede, wash the area thoroughly and apply a cold compress.

Take a painkiller if it starts to hurt. If the bite area becomes itchy, apply hydrocortisone cream. See your doctor if you think you might be developing an infection.


Mosquitoes

Mosquito in TurkeyMalarial mosquitos are not found in Turkey’s tourist regions, but in the unlikely event that you travel to southeastern rural Anatolia (Turkey’s eastern borders) you will need to take malarial medication between May and October. 

Malaria is a disease that can kill if left untreated. Symptoms appear up to three weeks after a mosquito bite and include shivering, fever and sweating. See a doctor immediately if you think you have malaria - but again, there is no risk of malaria if you’re in the populous Aegean and Mediterranean areas.

The mosquitoes that carry malaria also carry the Zika virus. However, due to geography, the Zika virus has not reached Turkey (as of October 2016) and is not expected to.

Jellyfish

Moon JellyfishGlobal warming and overfishing have contributed to a rise in the Mediterranean´s jellyfish population. The two most common types of jellyfish you’ll encounter - the moon jellyfish and the rhizostona pulmo - are not dangerous and are considered more an eyesore than a threat. Lately, a relative newcomer - the rhopilema nomadic has been spotted in Turkish waters. This species has migrated to the Mediterranean from the Red Sea. Its sting can be painful but is only dangerous to the very young or the infirm. 

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