News in digest: Run Indy, run!
Indiana Jones doesn’t like spiders. Or is it rats? Or mosquitoes or bedbugs – well obviously, nobody likes vicious little insects that bite you at night. Anyhow, they’re all here in climate-changed Denmark: more dangerous and in more varieties than ever before.
West Nile virus carrier
The mosquito species Culex modestus, which is known for spreading the dangerous West Nile virus, has been found at four ponds in the nature reserve of Vestamager, south of Copenhagen – the second sighting following one in 2014 in Greve.
However, although it could be breeding here, René Bødker from the National Veterinary Institute says there is no cause for concern as one would first have to bite an infected bird and then immediately transmit the virus to a person.
Spider species soaring
Likewise, experts concur there is no reason to fear the explosion in spider species – unless, of course, you suffer from arachnophobia, which affects 48 percent of women and 12 percent of men.
Like with the mozzies, the warmer temperatures are to blame. In Denmark, there are around 500 species, and only a few are capable of biting through human skin. All of them are harmless to humans.
Spiders that arrive in fruit and other goods from abroad, however, are a different story, as was the case in April when a Redback turned up in Vojens in a shipment from Australia.
Bugs under the bunks
Bedbugs have on the increase for five years, and according to Karl-Martin Vagn Jensen from the University of Aarhus, they have become resistant to the poison successfully used during outbreaks in the 1990s.
Fuelled by tourists and Danes bringing them here from abroad, a tell-tale sign that you have bedbugs is black spots on mattresses – blood-filled faeces the size of a full stop.
Rats in, cats out!
And don’t forget the rats. This year has so far seen 500 more complaints in Copenhagen than in the same period in 2015 – a rise experts have attributed to increases in temperatures and food litter.
And it would appear that we’re neglecting our best form of defence: our cats! A new study reveals that only four out of 10 cat owners would take their pet to the vet if it was sick.
While a study by animal protection group Dyrenes Beskyttelse showed that 2,889 cats were simply tossed out by their owners in 2015, making up 82 percent of the total number of animals left behind.
Were the Vikings wrong?
And to think the cats were revered by the Vikings and taken on their travels – primarily for the purpose of killing rodents!
The discovery was made by a team at the Institut Jacques Monod in Paris by analysing the DNA of more than 200 cat remains found at 30-plus archaeological sites across Europe, Middle East and Africa.
If in use, kill it!
But who needs cats, when you’ve got birds-of-prey? Well, apparently the good people of north Zealand who keep on poisoning them with the illegal insecticide carbofuran.
A sea eagle found near Smørum has become the latest of its species to be killed, along with several kestrels, golden eagles and red kites.
It was snakes!
In answer to the original question, Indiana Jones doesn’t like snakes, and it’s bad news for the doctor, we’re afraid.
Because while the spiders, mosquitoes and bugs are harmless, around 20 Danes require hospitalisation every year after being bitten by an adder, although there has only been one death in the past 50 years.