The 9 Most Dangerous Animals In Greece & How To Avoid Them

Wandering our World is reader supported! If you purchase anything through a link on our site, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Last updated on March 3, 2023 by Wandering our World

Greece is a stunning country in Southern Europe with numerous islands throughout the Aegean and Ionian Seas, at least 170 of which are uninhabited – and those are places where nature and wildlife often thrive.

There are three dominant elements creating the landscape of Greece – the sea, rugged mountains, and lowlands. Over the years that diverse landscape has become a popular destination for vacations, honeymoons, and getaways. 

Greece is a beautiful place to visit and when exploring there are many incredible creatures you might be lucky enough to encounter. However, like all places, there are dangerous animals in Greece as well.

That’s why below we show you some of the most dangerous animals in Greece and give you information on where they can be found.

Holy Trinity Monastery on cliff rock top, Meteora, Greece and Kalampaka town in the valley
iStock.com/Kisa Markiza

The 9 Most Dangerous Animals In Greece: Wildlife To Be Aware Of

1. Browns Bears 

Brown bears can be found in Greece, and are most often seen in the Pindus mountains.

It’s estimated that close to 450 brown bears live in Greece. And although often Greece is pictured as a very coastal place, northern Greece is filled with rugged mountainous terrains that are quite suitable for bears. 

Brown bears are large, and their weight ranges from 100 kilograms to 350 kilograms, and their standing height can reach 2.2 meters. 

They have broad heads with a long snout and their ears are noticeably small and round. Brown bears have a distinct shoulder hump and are equipped with long claws that help them dig for food and pick up their prey.

They have large feet, with their front paw averaging around 16 centimeters long, and their back paw measuring around 26 centimeters. Brown bears are excellent climbers too, and with their large paws and strong nails they can quickly climb up trees. 

Brown bears typically have an omnivorous diet, eating plants, berries, and some small animals. As they hibernate through the winter, in the summer months they often consume around 20,000 calories a day. Their bodies store plenty of fat which is used to sustain them through their winter hibernation. 

They are highly intelligent creatures that lead solitary lives. But during the breeding season, you will see them in pairs, however, after mating the males and females will part ways.

Brown bears are also quite shy creatures, they would much rather avoid conflict than have to deal with confrontations. If they feel threatened, or a mother feels that her cubs are in danger, they will respond violently. 

If you see a brown bear, it’s best to stay quiet and move slowly so, the bear doesn’t feel threatened. It’s also worth noting that these bears are at risk of extinction and there are protections in place for them, so don’t try to harm them.

Bear attacks can be fatal and while they don’t look to attack they can be dangerous animals, so stay calm and keep your distance to avoid any possible confrontation if you spot one when in Greece.

Brown bear looking from behind the tree in spring nature
iStock.com/JMrocek

2. Mosquitoes 

Mosquitoes are often a vessel for a variety of diseases, and f they are infected, they can spread the disease they are carrying to any other creature they bite.

In Greece, some mosquitoes can spread the West Nile Virus, and there have also even been a few reported cases of malaria.

The West Nile Virus leads to flu-like symptoms, but in some cases can become more severe, developing into meningitis, encephalitis, or meningoencephalitis, which can be deadly. 

When visiting Greece, it’s good to be aware of what time mosquitoes come out, which varies depending on where you’re staying. It’s also important to bring insect repellents and wear long clothing.

You might get a few pesky mosquito bites but make sure you have vaccines before you go to protect against some of the diseases that can be spread through mosquito bites and use your best judgment.

Keep an eye out for pesky mosquitos, even if they aren’t carrying the West Nile Virus or Malaria, after all bug bites are never fun to deal with! 

mosquito biting someone's hand
iStock.com/Andrei Sauko

3. Mediterranean Moray Eels 

Mediterranean moray eels are predators that hunt shrimp, crabs, cuttlefish, octopus, and fish. They are nocturnal, so during the day, they are often found resting on rocky sea floors or crevices in rocks.

In general they like to stay near lots of vegetation and close to the shore (so be careful near shallow waters), usually between depths of 1-30 meters, but sometimes they can be found as deep as 100 meters.  

Moray eels have a threatening appearance with incredibly sharp teeth and can grow up to 1.5 meters long and weigh up to 15 kilograms and have an elongated eel-like body, triangular heads, and a long mouth reaching beyond their gills. 

They can at times be aggressive, but they often avoid confrontation when they can. Whilst they don’t have any venomous glands although their jaws are coated in a poisonous mucus, which results in quick infections of wounds. 

The Meditteranean Moray eel is often a dark grey or dark brown color, which helps them to easily blend in with their surroundings. Sometimes, it can be hard to spot them when swimming near reefs in shallow waters. 

When exploring the seas surrounding Greece, use caution and keep your eyes open for these dangerous animals. Their bites are painful and can lead to more serious infections if left untreated. 

Moray Eel, Muraena helena, Cabo Cope-Puntas del Calnegre Regional Park, Mediterranean Sea, Murcia, Spain, Europe
iStock.com/Alberto Carrera

4. Weever Fish

Weever fish are usually small, but in some cases, they have been recorded growing up to 30 centimeters long.

Strangely, they have to continually be swimming or they will sink to the bottom! Because of this, they spend most of their time living in the sand and camouflaging themselves into their environment.

Their appearance makes them incredibly hard to spot and they are often stepped on by unassuming people. 

Weever fish have needle-like spines along their back that are associated with venom glands, and when people stand on them they feel sharp pain which usually starts to produce even more significant pain 2-3 minutes after coming into contact with the weever fish. 

If you accidentally come into contact with one of these fish, get out of the water and seek medical help. 

Venomous and poisonous fish Greater weever (Trachinus draco) on sandy sea floor with small young fish around.
iStock.com/jure

5. Common Stingray 

The common stingray is found throughout the waters surrounding Greece, and although stingray attacks aren’t common it’s good to be aware because stingray attacks can be fatal.

Stingrays can grow up to 5 feet across and weigh up to 80 pounds, though they typically average a weight of two feet across and only weigh ten pounds.

They prefer shallow waters, staying between depths of 50-60 meters, and like to stay close to muddy and sandy seabeds where they can bury themselves. They also have small openings above their eyes called spiracles, which allow them to breathe when they are laying on the ocean floor. 

The common stingray is typically a solitary creature but has also been seen in small groups and their diet consists of small sea-dwelling creatures. As they get larger, they become good hunters preying on small fish, crustaceans, and invertebrates. 

Common stingrays have a serrated venomous stinger obscured in their tail and once the point of the stinger pierces flesh, venom is released in the victim. This can lead to dizziness, headaches, and nausea.

In some cases, pieces, or the whole stinger, can break off inside the victim, which will require medical attention in order for it to be removed. This isn’t an issue for the stingray because if they lose their stinger, they can just regrow a new one. 

One of the most notable deaths as a result of a stingray attack was Steve Irwin, a world renowned wildlife educator, and environmentalist. When filming a segment on stingrays, the crew ended up frightening the ray and it stung him in the chest, proving to be fatal.

Although uncommon, stingray attacks can still happen and they are not fun…. Stingray wounds can be fatal if it stings the face or chest, though most accidents happen when divers provoke the stingrays, or they get stepped on by an unsuspecting swimmer.

When stung by a stingray, a lot of blood might be produced but that doesn’t necessarily mean the attack is fatal. If you are stung by a stingray, it’s best to get out of the water and seek professional help. 

Stingray swimming in water
iStock.com/aon168

6. Portuguese Man-o-War 

The Portuguese man-o-war is a siphonophore, which is made up of many organisms that work together.

They are comprised of four separate polyps and their pneumatophores, which float above water, are usually bluish-purple in color. These resemble old battleships, which is partly where the man-o-war got its name. 

Portuguese man-o-war live at the surface of the water and have sometimes been seen in groups of hundreds of other Portuguese man-o-war.

Each man-o-war is oriented towards either the left or right. They are curved and depending on their orientation will sail left, while others sail right. It is believed they evolved this way so that entire groups would not wash ashore and die, helping maintain man-o-war populations. 

They have a 12-inch long float that is seen above the water and their tentacles can grow up to 165 feet long!

Those tentacles are equipped with venom-filled nematocysts, which they use to paralyze and kill their prey. Their stings are incredibly painful, but not often deadly.

You might spot these washed up on the beaches of Greece, and while they are quite beautiful to see remember how dangerous these animals can be! And if you go close to any just stay cautious of the tentacles – they can still sting even after they have washed up on the shore. 

The Atlantic Portuguese Man O' War
iStock.com/Idania Le Vexier

7. Great White Sharks 

Great white sharks are widely known as being the largest predatory fish in the ocean! They have large jaws, and their mouth has 300 teeth. But they never chew their food, instead, they will rip their prey into bite-sized pieces, swallowing them whole.

Great white sharks have torpedo-shaped bodies and weigh 4,000 – 7,000 pounds – they can also reach 16-20 feet in length.

They have a sharply pointed snout, large pectoral fins, and a crescent shaped tail that is very strong and helps them reach fast swimming speeds.

Great white sharks have strong muscles, excellent eyesight, and a great sense of smell to help them catch any potential prey nearby. 

Fascinatingly, great white sharks have complex circuitry systems, which help them conserve heat in their bodies, this often results in their body temperature being warmer than the water around them.

Sadly, their species has been declining over time due to many years of being hunted for their fins and people killing them out of fear. Whilst more recently they have been found caught in commercial fishing nets which often end up killing them. 

Great whites have a frightening appearance and can be aggressive and have been known to attack swimmers and divers without being provoked.

They often only inflict one bite and then leave, not often proving to be fatal. But, it is best to not swim in areas where great white sharks have been spotted to avoid any potential interaction. After all, this is not only one of the most dangerous animals in Greece, but one of the most dangerous throughout the globe.

Smiling Great white shark swimming towards the camera
iStock.com/Rasmus-Raahauge

8. Wild Boar 

Wild boars are one of the widest-ranging mammals in the world. That’s because they can live from 2-27 years old, and weigh from 80-175 kilograms. They grow 55-100 centimeters tall and 153-240 centimeters long and can reach speeds of 48 kilometers per hour!

They are found in a wide variety of terrains and are incredibly adaptable to new environments. Their species is considered to be invasive in many places because they eat any food it can find and easily consume. 

Despite their large size and build, they are fast runners and efficient swimmers. Wild boars are nocturnal creatures that often spend their day resting in nests made out of leaves.

In the evenings, they will venture out to go search for food. Wild boars have elongated, elastic noses that they will use for digging, and they have prominent tusks on their lower lips. When searching for prey, they don’t rely too much on their eyesight and instead use their sense of smell and hearing to find what’s nearby.

Wild boars can be incredibly dangerous for humans, not only are they aggressive in nature but they can carry a wide variety of diseases. As their attacks can be fatal, it’s best to not venture off any trails when hiking and to stay alert in the evenings when in less populated areas. 

A wild boar deep within a forest in Forest with trees around
iStock.com/Cavan Images

9. Mauve Stinger 

The mauve stinger is a jellyfish often found living in open waters or coastal water, however, they can survive in a wide range of places because ocean currents often carry them.

They have no internal organs, but they do have three main tissue layers: the outer epidermis, a gelatinous layer of mesoglea in the middle which is made up of cartilage, and an inner gastrodermis.

Radially, they are symmetrical, and they have only one opening on their body. The umbrella edge of their body is composed of eight lobes, this is where the sensory receptors are located, such as light receptors, odor pts, etc. 

The mauve stinger has eight thin stinging tentacles and its estimated lifespan is two to six months, this is because rough waters often kill them. 

They are predatory creatures, and their diet mainly consists of zooplankton, small fish, crustaceans, and even other jellyfish.

Their stings are venomous to humans and leave behind whip-like scars, but if allergic to their stings it can lead to anaphylactic shock which can result in death.

These dangerous animals are typically pinkish in color, keep an eye out for them floating around while swimming in Greece!

Author

  • Wandering our World

    Hi and welcome to Wandering our World! This article was written by one of the Wandering our World team - a team of travel enthusiasts who live around the globe.