Pet Threats and Animal Dangers in Belgium

Information on what to do about insects, snakes and other things that may threaten the health and safety of animals living in Belgium...

There are some threats to domestic animals from insects and snakes in Belgium. However, these are not as serious as in some other European countries.

Belgium's official Anti Poison Centre (Centre Antipoisons belge/Belgisch Antigifcentrum) provides information on all types of poisoning (animals and humans).

Snakes

Belgium has only one venomous snake – the common adder (vipera berus). The snake is found only in certain areas of the country and avoids contact with humans. The effects tend to be only in the area of the bite and are unlikely to prove fatal. However a vet should be consulted.

For more information on poisonous snakes:

Ticks

Ticks can be a problem for animals in Belgium. They tend only to be a problem in the summer months, and are usually found in areas of forest or long grass. Animals can be bitten or carry the ticks, which then move on to their owners. Two of the most common diseases are Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis. Take advice from the local vet in order to ensure that the pet is adequately protected. Drops and collars are available.

Note: If tick bite disease is ignored it can be fatal.

Processionary Caterpillars

The processionary pine caterpillar (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) is usually three to four centimetres long, brown and hairy. At the start of spring, the caterpillars come out of round, white, fuzzy nests built in pine trees (normally property owners will burn these nests if they see them) and travel down the tree and across the ground in single file, sometimes stopping in writhing circles. This phenomenon will continue well into the summer.

These caterpillars are extremely dangerous as they "burn" the flesh of any animal, child or person that touches them. A small animal can die from the burn on contact. If a pet comes into contact with these caterpillars it is advisable to seek veterinary assistance immediately.