As I`ve probably said countless times before, I`m from the Netherlands.
Now I`m not usually particularly proud of this. I could rant on and on about everything I find wrong with this country. But even I, as a totally cynical person, have to admit that there are some good things about this country. One of those things is the absolute lack of dangerous animals and extreme nature.
Here in this tiny, tiny country, tucked away safely between the UK`s Canal, Germany, and Belgium, we have no real dangerous animals. We have bees and wasps and hornets, yes, but did you know that lately a new type of species of mosquitoes has been popping up around the country, one that *might* spread malaria if infected? It reaches the news every single time a nest of these mosquitoes is found. Every. Time. And they`re not dangerous yet, so far none of them have been found to actually carry malaria, although the government is very happily killing them all off anyway.
We have no dangerous spiders, none, although “it is recommended to leave certain species alone, as their bites can hurt and might make you dizzy”.
There are only three snake species, and trust me when I say that probably 99% of the population has never seen one in the wild here. In fact, a lot of people probably don`t even realise snakes aren`t just creatures in exotic countries but also exist here. Also, only one of these three (the European viper) is poisonous, but although there are allegedly people that get bit, people rarely die of it here. You`re more likely to be hit by lightning.
We do have bats and foxes that might potentially maybe possibly carry rabies, but we get so few cases of rabies that whenever someone has it, it makes the news. Almost every single time, they`ve just been on holiday to a different country.
Other Dangerous Animals in the Netherlands include ticks and, errr….well….pigeons carry diseases? There`s been two wolf sightings in the last 150 years. Two. One of them was dead (hit by a car). The other was just vague video footage. And there was a lot of discussion whether or not it was even actually a wolf (it was). It made the news.
There are also wild boars in one (!) area, but everyone knows to just stay away from those, especially as they get even more violent if there are baby boars around.
Hell, we get excited for seeing a squirrel. Or maybe that`s just me.
The same goes for the weather though. Our climate is very temperate. We have okay rains, okay wind, okay sun. We have no tornadoes, no big earthquakes (just the occasional oh-shit-my-windows-have-cracks-in-them one, if you have really bad luck), no deserts, no real droughts. Nothing extreme. The only thing we`re at risk of is floods, but with centuries of flood-fighting technology we`ve reached a point where we create new parts of country by pumping a huge lake empty. So I`m not particularly worried there either.
However recently, with the climate shift and all that going on, even this safe part of the earth has been getting less safe. Aside from the aforementioned wolf and malaria-mosquitoes, we`re getting more and more bugs from Southern countries, carrying potential diseases with them. Other animal species are returning to the country, and guess who have no idea how to even identify any of them? Yep, Dutch people.
We`ve also been getting some more earthquakes, with special thanks to the huge gas bubble they`ve been exploiting in the North of the country. There`s more storms, hotter summers, colder winters with more snow. We have to be warned all the time about the heat and the cold and how to handle it all. I don`t know what it`s like in other countries, but here we have to be reminded almost daily in winter to take precautions when going somewhere by car (i.e. take blankets and food and water and small candles with you).
Still, while the rest of the world is dealing with mud slides and hurricanes and tsunamis and killer bugs, us Dutch people get to freak out about one lone wolf and an extra layer of snow for children to play in.
And I am perfectly okay with this situation as it is.