If you wonder whether there are any dangerous animals in Sweden and hope to receive the answer “No, you’re fine. You’ll be on top of Sweden’s food chain”, I’m sorry to disappoint you, you won’t be.
Thare are indeed a few animals which you should try to avoid meeting in the wild…
Where you’re safe in Sweden
That said, you can be sure that you won’t see any dangerous wildlife in the cities of Sweden (apart from that Swedish party life during the weekends, of course, wich can be quiet animalic and worth observing from a safe distance.
More: How to drink (alcohol) like a Swede
What to look out for on signs
Any sign saying: “Varning för … “- meaning “Beware of …” should make you stop and think twice whether you’d like to continue and possibly get yourself into a risky situation where you might be confronted with a bad tempered … bear or bee.
Dangerous animals in Sweden
Now, these are the animals you should be most afraid of (because they can potentially attack and kill you):
- Wild Boar
- Common European Vipers (probably won’t kill, but can certainly hurt you)
- Bee (well, only if you have an allergy, or if it stings you right into the inside of your throat after you swollowed it unnoticedly when the bee was observing your delicious cinnamon bun during a midsummer celebration.)
Also not that cuddly but very rare and shy
There are a lot of moose in Sweden. About 300 000. Many of those get shot during the yearly hunting season in Autumn. Those who manage to escape have about a year time to take revenge for the death of their moose mates by kamikaze like jumping in front of fast driving Volvos. Often resulting in casualties on both sides.
So, whenever there’s a sign saying “Beware of the moose” have an extra careful look at the side of the road and stop fiddeling with your Spotify playlist.
In 2013 about 2800 bears were registered in Sweden. (With their own personnummer, I imagine.)
Bears are mostly like found in the north of Sweden. You don’t have to be afraid to bump into one during your hiking tour in the woods outside Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö or any other more southern city or village.
Regularly, you can read about Swedes walking in the forest, spotting a bear along the path and taking shaky videos with their mobile phones.
Swedish people tend to be shy. So are their bears. If you decide to walk around in the forests in the north, make sure to make a lot of sound (have a bell around you neck or talk to your imaginary friend). If you still meet one, well, there are several ways you can avoid becoming a delicious meal:
What to do when you meet a bear in Sweden
Three options (according to a Swedish bear scientist)
- Walk away (calmly)
- When a bear lunches a “bluff charge” (running towards you but stopping a few meters in front of you): continue walking (not running) away
- In case of a real attack: lay down in fetal position and play dead
If you run and thereby make the bear conclude “The only species that are running away from me is prey. That human is running away. Fooood! Uuuaaarrrgghhh!”
Efforts have been made to increase the wolf population during the past years. Successfully. Today about 400 wolves stalk in Sweden. Again, mostly in the forests of the north. So just don’t go there!
But, surprisingly, a few lonely wolves have found their way to the south in recent years. They have been spotted walking along the road or in peoples’ gardens.
Of course, wolves are very shy, too, normally. But you don’t want to provoke or get too close to any them. Because they can be very cruel to you, just the way the Brothers Grimm taught you during your childhood, didn’t they?
While in other countries, people have fallen prey to a wolve pack (Greece), there hasn’t been any report about a wolf vs. human battle in recent years in Sweden at least.
- How many wild boars live in Sweden: 100 000
- Where: central and southern Sweden
- Wild boars can be located by their distinctive scent. Sometimes you can even smell them from a larger distance, those stinky fellas.
Do you remeber the movie Jurassic Park? The claw of a Velociraptor? That looked scary, right? Wild boars have two of those in the middle of their face. And they aren’t too hesitant to use those to protect their little piglets when they believe you might be a potential predator.
What did the guys in Jurassic Park do to protect themselves from an attack? … Right? They were hiding behind a kitchen cabinet. Since you’re less likely to carry one of those with you while hiking in the forest, you can jump behind a tree instead. If you’re out on a field an no tree is available, a hunter once told me, you’re supposed to try to jump over an attacking wild boar. Honestly, I’m as sceptic as you that this could actually work. So let’s just hope we only get attacked by wild boars in dense forests or kitchens.
Common European vipers
This slightly venomous snake, the common European viper, can be found in Sweden as well. It’s the one with that zig zag pattern on the back. They can grow as long as 90cm. If it bites you, no worry, you’re not gonna die from it. At least, there is a very low risk. Every year about 200 Swedes get bitten by a common viper. But the last fatal incident was recoreded in 1994. But you should definitely go to the hospital as soon as you find vampire like bite marks on your skin after an encounter with this sneaky snake.
Although not too common, you can spot them all over Sweden, except in the mountains of the north east.
No tigers in Sweden
Don’t be confused by the clothing brand “Tiger of Sweden”! Apart from appearances in circus and zoos, no tiger has ever been spotted in Sweden’s wild.
To sum things up…
… you’re more likely to fall prey to Sweden’s wild party life than to its wildlife.
Have you heard of any other dangerous animals in Sweden? Please write you comment below (and potentially rescue someones life)!
- Moose in Sweden – Why Swedes avoid their national animal
- Travel to Sweden – Tips and tricks for your trips to Sweden
- “Allemansrätten” Swedish right of public access – what you can and can’t do in beautiful Sweden’s nature