Britain’s twenty most dangerous animals, ranked by how likely they are to mess you up

20. Badgers

Britain’s largest carnivore, the badger, isn’t very large and more of a bumbler than a fighter. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that one might knock over a pot plant while snuffling around your garden and that you could trip over it the next day, grazing your knee or something, but don’t lose any sleep over it.

19. False Widow Spiders

The clue is in the name. It’s just pretend. Britain’s most dangerous spider requires you to do three things before it becomes actually dangerous. First you have to find one, then you have to contrive a situation where it will bite you, then you have to have an abnormally intense reaction to its venom. Not worth worrying about really, though I don’t advise you to go looking on Google for images of False Widow Spider bites that have gone a bit gammy before you have your tea.

18. Wasps

Wasps are bastards but they aren’t very dangerous. 10 out of ten for effort though, guys.

17. Arctic Terns

An arctic tern defending its nest will dive bomb you. Occasionally it will make contact with your head and draw blood. They can be quite nasty.

But, what were you doing near its nest, dude? You didn’t have to be there, did you? It’s not like they nest in branches of Aldi, is it. You can avoid them quite easily. Just leave them alone.

16. Red Ants

Their bite is comparable with a wasp sting but they are slightly more difficult to avoid, being smaller and less buzzy.

15. Killer Whales

If you aren’t in the sea they aren’t going to eat you. If you are in the sea you will almost certainly freeze to death or drown before a killer whale finds you. Stay out of the sea and you’ll be fine.

14. Swans

I know, theoretically swans can break your arm, but can you picture a situation where a swan has unfettered access to your arm? It’s not going to happen, is it? I mean, if you rock up to your local beauty salon for a manicure and a swan is sat there waiting with the pink, white and clear nail varnishes required for that classic French look AND a glint of malevolent intent in its cold dead eyes then yes, proceed with caution. But otherwise, stay away from cygnets and you’ll have no problems.

13. Foxes

Once believed by the aristocracy to be as dangerous as dragons, so deadly that it would require a pack of hounds and dozens of humans following on horseback to kill a single animal. Modern science has revealed that foxes are actually small dog like creatures.

12. Herring Gulls

Absolute bastards.

11. Rats

Mostly dangerous because they carry disease (which they shouldn’t get any credit for really. We don’t claim vans carrying paracetamol are good for us, do we?). Still quite high up the list though, because of the whole eating that girl’s foot while she was sleeping thing. Did you hear about that? My mate’s big brother said it ate like three toes before she woke up. It’s well gross.

10. Wild Cats

Cats are, at the best of times, to be loved but not trusted. Everyone knows they eat dead nans when no one is looking. They can’t help it. They are born mischievous. Wild cats are like normal cats but wilder. Not a lot wilder, but enough to give you something to think about.

9. Robins

Yeah, I know what you are thinking: “Fucking robins, mate? Dangerous? Fuck off.” Well, mate, have you ever had one go for you? Because I have, and it shit me up big time.

8. Ticks

Anything that bites you and then its head stays in you forever is to be feared.

7. Adders

Snakes are basically massive worms that can bite you and fill you all up with poison. It’s mad when you think about it.

6. Some of those weird jellyfish that turn up in the summer sometimes

Unlike killer whales, jellyfish just float all the way up to the shore, all stingy, rubbing up against unsuspecting holidaymakers, all of them, even toddlers and cute grandads with their trousers rolled up to their knees. They’ll sting anyone, jellyfish. They don’t give a shit mate. They look weird too, and don’t even have the decency to taste nice. Have you ever tasted jellyfish? It’s like trying to eat a wet shoelace.

5. Cows

Cows are big, and surprisingly easy to disgruntle. Unbelievable as it may seem, last year cows killed more people in Britain than ninjas did.

4. Loose dogs

You don’t hear much about loose dogs anymore, but they are probably still everywhere, attacking postmen and unnerving the Secret Seven, forming loose political allegiances with space aliens, and solving crimes but at what cost? I had this dream once when a loose dog made me eat my own face off. I don’t like to even think about it.

3. Wild boars

Society’s desire for more and more interesting sausages has led to hundreds of wild boar farms opening across the country and from these farms unknown numbers (but like, probably loads) of wild boar have escaped and gone wild. And while wild boar might be all cute and stripey when they are escaping, squeezing through chain link fencing like so many Aardman plasticines, they can grow to be like twenty feet long or something, and probably eat ponies when they get hungry. That’s what Steve told me.

2. Escaped leopards

Could happen.

1. Canada Geese

Canada Geese brains have thoughts only of injury. They don’t like people. They strut around, dreaming only of damage, unloading massive green-and-white turds. If they had their way, every park in Britain would look like the Battle of the Bastards, every canal path would resemble the first twenty five minutes of Saving Private Ryan, but with abandoned bikes and pushchairs instead of tanks, if there are tanks in that scene, I can’t remember, it’s been years since I saw it. I can remember where I saw it, a pub on the outskirts of Hanley, but whether there were any tanks in it? Who knows. Probably. It’s a war film, innit?

Which is just a roundabout way of saying that Canada Geese are vile, spiteful, cunning little bastards, the most likely of Britain’s animals to ask you (metaphorically speaking) who you are looking at, what ‘it’ is to you, and whether you would, on reflection, like to make something of it.