In our regions we usually do not have to worry about toxic flora and fauna. Yet there are animals that you don't want to pet, and plants that you shouldn't eat.
Because along the road, on the seabed and even in your own backyard, you can be painfully injured or fatally paralyzed within a few minutes.
# 1 Large pieterman - spines with dragon poison© Shutterstock / Laura Dinraths
The great pieterman is the most poisonous fish species in the Netherlands, but has become quite rare due to the use of bottom gear. It is a shy fish that lives on the seabed. When he feels threatened, he lifts the poisonous spines on his head and dorsal fin.
If you then stand on the big pieterman, he will inject you with dracotoxin, or dragon poison. This poison kills red blood cells and weakens white blood cells. That means that your body can transport less oxygen and that your immune system is affected. The symptoms include severe pain, headache, swelling, inflammation, and dizziness.
The great pieterman may be poisonous, you can eat it - in Southern Europe it is even a delicacy.Antidote: The poison of the great pieterman is thermolabile, which means that the proteins in the poison are broken down by heat. You can counteract the effect of the poison by holding the body part in question under warm water or burying it in warm sand for about an hour.
Deadness: The poison of the great pieterman can in rare cases be fatal.
# 2 Spotted Scheerling - has mouse-like odor and probably killed Socrates© Shutterstock / dadalia
The spotted scheerling is a poisonous plant with a two-meter tall stem and small, white flowers. It grows along highways, in parks and in gardens, and blooms from June to September. If you bruise the plant, it will emit a scent reminiscent of mouse urine. That, in combination with the dangerous poison, ensures that you would rather not encounter it.
Both the odor and the toxicity come from the nerve poison coniine. This poison blocks the nerve signals to the muscles so that they can no longer contract. So the poison paralyzes you. It starts with your arms and legs and then slowly but surely spreads to the muscles that regulate your breathing.
The spotted jester was once used to kill criminals - and it is likely that Socrates was killed with the poison of the spotted jester. Yet there are also people who hold the water scheer, a counterpart of the spotted scheerling, responsible for the death of the philosopher - the poison of this plant is even more powerful. Below you can read more about the Waterscheerling.Antidote: There is no antidote.Deadness: A small dose can be fatal within a few hours.
# 3 Monkshood - was used for poison arrows© Shutterstock / Bankiras
The monkshade is a plant with striking purple flowers that, depending on the species, occur in parks, forests or along waterfront. The entire plant is poisonous, but especially the seeds and roots are extra dangerous.
The juice of the monkshed contains the poison aconitine, which has a double effect: it not only affects the nervous system and the signals sent to the muscles, it also affects the blood circulation - including the heart muscles. So if you take a bite from the hood, you will experience a variety of symptoms such as a tingling sensation in your toes and feet, eye irritation, paralysis, nausea, cardiac arrhythmias and breathing problems.
The poison of the monkshade has been known for centuries and notorious and used to be used to experience deadly poison arrows.Antidote: There is no antidote.
Deadness: 2 to 4 grams of monkshade can be deadly within a few hours. If you take a larger dose, you will die almost immediately.
# 4 Hoornaar - 3 x more painful than a normal wasp© Shutterstock / CarlosR
The hornet is a species of wasp that stands out for its large body. It can be approximately 4 centimeters long and has a yellow abdomen with black stripes. It is found in large parts of Europe and can be seen mainly in summer along meadows, in forests and in gardens.
Unlike a bee, the hornet can sting several times and its poison is three times more painful than that of the common wasp. This is partly because the poison contains a high concentration of acetylcholine, which makes the sting feel very painful and burning.
The poison also contains the enzyme phospholipase A, which breaks down the cell walls and is very allergenic. The symptoms consist of pain, swelling and redness. If you are allergic to the poison, you may suffer from severe itching, nausea and swelling in the airways.
In contrast to the bee, the hornet is attracted by artificial light and meat, so that you can have buzzing guests when you are eating a steak in the backyard in the evening.Antidote: Treatment is not really necessary unless you are allergic. If you have an allergic reaction, you can stop the sting with an adrenaline injection. This causes the blood vessels to contract and the airways to open.Deadness: A stab is actually not deadly, unless you are allergic or get stuck in your mouth or throat.
# 5 Waterscheerling - kills in a few minutes© Shutterstock / Kostrez
The water scheerling is the mean little brother of the spotted scheerling. It looks like it, but with a length of 50 to 100 cm it is slightly smaller. You can find it along the beach, in peat areas or along waterways and it blooms by the end of the summer.
The water scheerling is extremely toxic. It contains the extremely powerful nerve poison cicutoxin, which, like the spotted coniin, blocks nerve signals to the muscles and causes paralysis. But at the waterside it goes much faster. Before the paralysis stops your breathing, the poison also causes symptoms such as nausea, cramps, memory loss and coma.
The water scheerling looks a bit like the edible plant chervil, so pay attention if you're picking your dinner outside in nature.Antidote: There is no antidote.
Deadness: A small dose can be fatal within 15 minutes.
# 6 Viper - uses blood poison, hedgehogs are immune
The European adder is a fairly large snake with a striking zigzag pattern that is more prominent in males. They can also only have one color. You can come across the adder in grasslands, meadows, forests or verges and especially in the summer months, when he has to eat his belly around for hibernation.
The poison of the viper is a cocktail of various toxins that disrupt blood clotting, break down red blood cells and affect tissues. The symptoms include swelling, dizziness, and fluid retention.
Although the adder has a common poison, it still has many natural enemies. One is the hedgehog. This animal is even immune to the poison of the viper.Antidote: There is an antidote, but paradoxically the chance that this antidote causes an allergic reaction is quite high.Deadness: An adder bite is basically not deadly. The chance that you will die from a wasp sting is much greater. With children, however, it is a different story. They are more sensitive to adder venom.
# 7 Lily of the valley - looks like edible wild garlic© Shutterstock / Nebuvo
The lily of the valley is a plant with large, green leaves, white flowers and red berries that contain blue seeds. It grows in forests and gardens and blooms from May to June. The lily-of-the-valley has a sweet scent, but don't let it fool you. The entire plant is poisonous and contains various heart glycosides and saponins.
Glycosides are chemical compounds between sugars and an organic molecule. That is why they occur in various compounds, including poisonous ones, such as in the lily of the valley.
The heart glycosides affect the heart rhythm, which can cause heart rhythm disorders or cardiac arrest. The saponins can cause hemolysis, which means that they break down red blood cells.
Like the spotted scheerling, the lily of the valley looks like a non-poisonous, edible plant: wild garlic. However, the latter distinguishes itself from the lily of the valley by emitting a garlic-like odor when you rub the leaves together.Antidote: There is no direct antidote, but there are drugs that counteract the side effects of the poison.
Deadness: The poison can be deadly, especially for children.