Is it poisonous?

A Closer Look at Sweden’s Venomous Wildlife



Sweden is known for its beautiful landscapes and diverse wildlife. While most of the country’s wildlife is harmless, it is home to a few venomous species that can pose a danger to humans. In this article, we will take a closer look at Sweden’s venomous wildlife and explore the characteristics of these creatures.

1. Common European Adder (Vipera berus)

The Common European Adder, also known as the Vipera berus, is the only venomous snake species found in Sweden. It is easily recognizable by its distinct zigzag pattern along its back. The venom of the Common European Adder is potent and can cause local pain, swelling, and in some cases, more serious symptoms such as dizziness and nausea. However, fatal bites are extremely rare, thanks to the availability of effective antivenom.

2. Northern Viper (Vipera ursinii)

The Northern Viper, scientifically known as Vipera ursinii, is a venomous snake species found in the southern parts of Sweden. Unlike the Common European Adder, the Northern Viper prefers dry and sunny habitats. Its venom can cause similar symptoms to the Common European Adder, but bites from this species are extremely rare due to its limited distribution in Sweden.

3. Horsefly

While not a reptile or amphibian, horseflies (Tabanidae) are venomous insects commonly found in Sweden. Although their bites are often not dangerous, they can be quite painful. Horseflies typically bite large mammals, including humans, to obtain blood for nutrition. The bites can cause local swelling, itching, and in some cases, allergic reactions.

4. European Hornet (Vespa crabro)

The European Hornet, also known as Vespa crabro, is a large stinging insect that is found in Sweden. While its venom can cause significant pain and discomfort, the European Hornet is not usually aggressive and will only sting when provoked or threatened. Most people experience local reactions to the stings, such as swelling and redness, but severe allergic reactions are rare.


Sweden’s venomous wildlife, although limited in number, should not be taken lightly. Visitors and residents should be aware of the potential dangers and take necessary precautions when encountering these creatures. It is important to remember that fatal encounters are extremely rare, and swift medical attention should be sought if bitten or stung. By respecting Sweden’s wildlife and their habitats, we can coexist with these fascinating creatures safely.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Are there any other venomous creatures in Sweden?

A: Apart from the mentioned species, Sweden is not known for hosting other venomous creatures. The venomous wildlife in Sweden is relatively limited compared to countries with more diverse ecosystems.

Q: What should I do if I encounter a venomous snake?

A: If you come across a venomous snake, it is recommended to stay calm and keep your distance. Do not attempt to handle or provoke the snake. Slowly back away and leave the area to avoid any potential bites.

Q: Are venomous bites common in Sweden?

A: No, venomous bites are not common in Sweden. The venomous species found in the country are generally shy and prefer to avoid human contact. Most bites occur when humans unintentionally come into contact with these creatures.

Q: Is there antivenom available in Sweden?

A: Yes, Sweden has antivenom available for the treatment of venomous snake bites. It is important to seek immediate medical attention if bitten and follow the guidance of healthcare professionals.

Q: Can venomous bites be fatal?

A: While venomous bites from Sweden’s wildlife can cause discomfort and potential complications, fatal bites are extremely rare. With proper medical treatment and access to antivenom, the risk of fatality is significantly reduced.

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