Estonia is a beautiful country in Europe that borders the Baltic Sea, putting it in a fantastic location for some stunning wildlife. Alongside some of its other Baltic and Scandinavian neighbors, Estonia is home to some of the most fascinating creatures in Europe, as well as some of the most dangerous animals in Europe.
Outside of the beautiful architecture of its capital of Tallinn, Estonia’s rugged landscape and coastal areas make for the ideal spots for animal watching, hiking, and exploring the beautiful terrain of Estonia. However, among the beautiful scenic expanses of Estonia and the gorgeous animals that reside there, you may find some particularly dangerous animals in Estonia, including some of the same of the dangerous animals in Norway, a nearby country to Estonia.
Luckily for you, we have compiled a definitive guide to the most dangerous animals in Estonia that you should keep an eye out for while exploring this beautiful country. While the wildlife in Estonia should not pose too much of a great threat to humans and tourists, it is always advisable to be cautious and respectful of the wildlife, especially its most dangerous residents.
Table of Contents
1. Gray Wolf
The gray wolf is known to be the national animal of Estonia, both due to the abundance of gray wolves in Estonia and as a symbol of Estonia’s wild terrain and nature. Unfortunately, the wolf population dwindled during the Soviet occupation of Estonia, but that has by no means detracted from their cultural impact on the country, as well as the international impression of Estonia’s wildlife. However, while these luscious lupine creatures may be majestic and awe-inspiring from a distance, they are, of course, carnivorous predators and so can pose a threat to humans if they are too close to them or perceived to be threatening to them and their pack.
Wolf attacks on humans are relatively uncommon all over the world, and Estonia is no exception. Due to hunting and humans posing an increasingly higher threat to wolves than they do to us, wolves are now very wary of humans and will tend to stay away from them whenever possible. However, while this may well be the case, wolf attacks are not non-existent, and if they feel as though humans are posing a threat to their pack or their habitat, they may well attack out of a need for survival and self-preservation.
Their habitats tend to be in rocky or wooded areas, and so if you find yourself wandering through one of Estonia’s many beautiful forests or woodlands, the chances are that you might not be too far from a pack of wolves. As long as you are respectful and calm, and do not do anything to antagonize or threaten them, they will most likely leave you alone. If you come into close contact with one, remain calm and slow and do not make any sudden movements. The chances are that they will leave you alone quicker than you will be able to leave them alone.
2. Brown Bear
Brown bears are one of the most common breeds of bears in the world, and it is no different in Estonia. In fact, Estonia is home to the largest and most dense population of brown bears in Europe, with over 700 of them living in the country’s forests and woodlands. Bear watching is a popular activity for tourists in Estonia’s more rural areas because of their natural majesty and abundance in the wild there. However, as always they must be treated with caution and respect because they are large predators that are capable of killing a human.
Being the largest predator in the Estonian woods, there is an obvious need to exercise caution when traversing their habitat. A brown bear is unlikely to attack a human on sight, like many other large predators, and feel more threatened by us than we do by them. However, brown bears are also notoriously unpredictable and so there are no guarantees for how they might react to you should you encounter one in the wild.
Most bear attacks by brown bears on humans are from mothers with young cubs nearby and so it is important to exercise even more caution when dealing with bears if you can see young ones around. Most importantly, it is imperative to be calm, quiet, and non-threatening when exploring their habitats so that they do not perceive you as a threat that needs to be attacked.
3. Eurasian Lynx
The Eurasian lynx is another beautiful creature whose numbers have dwindled because of human impact on their population, habitat, and food chain. This is truly unfortunate as the lynx is extinct in many countries on Earth where they used to inhabit since the Ice Age, and now only a few remain globally, including in Estonia. These beautiful felines can be found residing in the forests and lowlands of Estonia in small communities.
Due to how much the population of the Eurasian lynx has suffered at the hands of humans, the lynx is very wary of humans and will not make its presence known to you out of fear and their instinct for self-preservation. However, they also have a very strong pack mentality and will defend themselves ferociously if they feel that they or the pack is under threat.
If you do encounter a Eurasian lynx, it is important to stay in a group (if you are traveling in a group) and do not make the lynx feel threatened. Be calm yet firm, and do not make the lynx feel as though it is being cornered. As long as you maintain a calm, non-threatening, yet firm presence you will most likely remain unscathed. In fact, lynx attacks are incredibly rare due to their distrust of humans, but it is still important to know how to protect yourself should you find yourself face-to-face with one of these fierce felines.
4. Common European Adder
The common European adder is the only venomous snake you will find in the wild in Estonia, and they can be found everywhere. While the common European adder, also known as the common European viper, is only a mildly venomous snake it is still important to know how to handle a bite from one of these slippery little guys. After all, not only is the venom painful and still dangerous to humans but there are plenty of common European adders in Estonia and so if you are venturing anywhere near their habitats you will most likely have to sidestep a couple of these serpents.
The common European adder can be found in a whole host of habitats: woodlands, mountains, meadows. This being the case, bites are quite common in all the countries where these snakes are native, and Estonia is no exception. However, this is not to say that they attack disproportionately frequently, or that their venom is fatal. In fact, as they are so common there is a wide variety of antivenom available to combat this snake’s poison.
Furthermore, the symptoms are usually quite mild. This is not always the case, though. In fact, anaphylaxis and even fatalities can occur, as well as hospitalizations for other more severe symptoms from the venom, so it is important to be cautious when exploring Estonia’s snake habitats and wear long clothing and sturdy shoes to be extra sensible.
5. Wild Boar
Wild boars are native to Estonia, as they are for most of Eurasia. Despite the fact that they are herbivores and do not prey on humans for food, they can still be dangerous. In fact, as they are so abundant in Eurasia, they are considered dangerous elsewhere too, such as being considered one of the most dangerous animals in Korea. For the most part, you will find these wild boars living in the more mountainous and wooded areas of Estonia, and so you should keep an eye out for them when exploring the wildernesses of Estonia.
While wild boars do not pose the same threat to human life as venomous snakes or ferocious and carnivorous predators do, they can still cause bodily harm and injury to humans if they are startled or threatened. As one of the most dangerous animals in Estonia, it is important to recognize that these wild boars are still strong and territorial, so if you go on any wildlife hikes or excursions through Estonia where these creatures may be residing, you must treat their habitat with respect and do everything in your power to avoid startling them or encroaching on their territory.
There are fourteen different species of bats that have been recognized as being native in Estonia. In fact, bats are so common and abundant in Estonia that they were named as Estonia’s ‘animal of the year’ for 2020. Furthermore, with so many different species of bats in Estonia, there are plenty of different habitats in which they reside and so it is important to be on the lookout for them both in the suburban and urban areas of Estonia, as well as the woodlands and mountains. For anyone who does not like these creepy flying mammals, a hefty dose of bravery should be on your packing list for Estonia.
Bats are one of the most dangerous animals in Estonia, not because of their inherent viciousness or ability to attack unprovoked, but because of the diseases that they are notorious for carrying, and which can be incredibly harmful to humans.
Bats are part of the vampire mythology for a reason: their bites can cause awful symptoms in humans as a result of the infections that they are known to carry, including rabies, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), and even ebola. While diseases such as ebola are not prevalent in countries like Estonia, bats are still capable of passing on other diseases to humans. In particular, rabies is an especially common disease that can be passed on from bats to humans. Furthermore, rabies disorientates bats and makes them more prone to bumbling into humans and potentially biting them and causing injury. To be on the safe side, make sure that all of your vaccinations and inoculations are up-to-date before traveling to Estonia and ensure that you follow your country’s travel advice before flying.
The wolverine is an interesting animal that you can find in Estonia. Solitary and deceivingly cute, the wolverine mostly resides in forests, woodlands, and rocky terrains. So, when exploring the scenic expanses of Estonia, the chances are that you may well encounter one of these unusual creatures. However, unfortunately, the wolverine population has depleted massively as a result of human hunting and trapping for fur. Consequently, these are another of the dangerous animals in Estonia with a deep-rooted distrust of humans, meaning that attacks are relatively infrequent.
Nevertheless, the wolverine is absolutely one of the most dangerous animals in Estonia. Despite its cute appearance and small stature, the wolverine is notorious for possessing an acute ferocity and enormous strength in comparison to its body and size. In fact, wolverines are known to be able to attack, mortally wound, and kill both prey and predators that are far larger than the wolverine itself.
While attacks on humans are rare and very unlikely, due to their distrust of us, they are certainly capable of inflicting great harm upon humans. And, especially pertinent for those looking to travel with dogs, the wolverine is absolutely capable of killing a small animal such as a dog, even if they are larger than the wolverine itself, so you must exercise caution if you take a pet with you on your stroll into the wolverine’s habitat.
8. Sea Lamprey
The sea lamprey is a frightening-looking bottom dweller that can be found in the waters in and around the country of Estonia. The sea lamprey is also known as the ‘vampire fish’ occasionally because of its teeth and parasitic nature. In other parts of the world where they are found, such as the Great Lakes in the USA, the sea lamprey is considered to be a pest and so measures are taken by humans to try and control the population. While this is not necessarily the case in Estonia, the sea lamprey is still considered a pest of a sea creature and one of the dangerous animals you can find in the waters of Estonia.
As a parasitic sea creature, the sea lamprey feeds off of the blood of its other fellow sea creatures, so it is a nuisance and a danger to the ecosystem in the waters of Estonia. Plus, this vampire fish is capable of growing up to lengths of around two feet, and so it is definitely able to cause harm to any humans that it may encounter.
Unprovoked attacks from sea lampreys on humans are incredibly rare; there is no natural reason why a sea lamprey should need to attack a human. However, they have taken place, and their fanged teeth can result in incredibly painful bites. So, if you plan on wading into Estonian waters, be that the country’s oceans, rivers, or lakes, be careful of the vampire fish that may well be dwelling around your feet.
9. European Eel
The European eel is one of the most common species of eel in the world and can be found in many different countries throughout Europe, including Estonia. In fact, eel is a traditionally very common delicacy in a number of different European countries because of its abundance. Everywhere from the United Kingdom to the Netherlands, Poland to Scandinavia to Estonia, you can find eels on the menu at a number of local and traditional restaurants and stores.
However, the European eel does pose a threat to humans when treated as food. While in the wild they are fairly placid and unlikely to attack or bite, the blood of a European eel is in fact poisonous to humans. Since eels are popularly consumed as food in these countries where the European eel is native, it is important that they are cooked and prepared properly in order to prevent the eel’s poisonous blood from affecting or harming any human that ingests it.
So, when you are in Estonia and you feel like sampling some traditional and quintessentially Estonian cuisine during your travels, exercise caution. You will almost definitely be fine if you decide to feast on some Estonian eel while you’re there, but it is important to note that if the eel is not cooked thoroughly, you may become unwell because of the poison in the eel’s blood.
What is the most dangerous animal in Estonia?
The gray wolf is the most dangerous animal in Estonia due to its potential killing power, territorial nature, and abundance. Wolf attacks are relatively few and far between in Estonia, but they do happen. There is no other animal in Estonia with the killing power and potential of the gray wolf.
Are there dangerous snakes in Estonia?
There is one species of dangerous snake in Estonia. The common European adder, also known as the common European viper, is the only type of venomous snake in Estonia. These snakes are very common in Estonia and their venom has the potential to cause great discomfort and pain and, in extreme cases, death.
Are there wolves in Estonia?
There are approximately 200 wolves in the wild of Estonia. In fact, the gray wolf is so symbolic and characteristic of Estonia’s wildlife and environment that the gray wolf is now considered to be the national animal of Estonia.
Are there crocodiles in Estonia?
There are no crocodiles in the wild in Estonia. While you may encounter some crocodiles and alligators if you decide to visit a nature park or zoo while exploring Estonia, you will not find any of these reptiles in the wilderness.