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The animal horror picture show

The Local · 2 Mar 2010, 12:07

Published: 02 Mar 2010 12:07 GMT+01:00

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Wild animal numbers are on the increase in Mother Sverige and this has put the willies up Sweden’s urban population. A recent survey found that almost half of Sweden’s population is afraid of being attacked by a bear and this percentage increases the further into urban areas you go. In theory, waving a teddy bear around in Stockholm’s Central Station could cause mass panic.

How far has Sweden come from the days of the Vikings when bears were wrestled as a warm up to a good old pillage? Ben Kersley, animal lover and urbanite, decided to see just how scared of the wild the average person is.

Fearlessly disregarding the very high probability of being attacked by a Polar bear, Ben hit the streets of Linköping with a camera to find out which members of the animal kingdom keep people awake at night.


"‘Birds. All kinds of birds… big ones and small ones. I’m totally scared of birds it’s the way they, you know, flap.… Yes, birds… and sharks too."


"My husband is a Björn (bear), but he’s not dangerous. Actually, when I think about it, he’s quite scared of me."


"Mice, rats, even field mice… any kind of rodent makes me freeze in a panic. I saw a rat by the bins once and had to go and get my neighbour for help."


"I’m not scared of anything. I’m as hard as nails."


"Wild boar. I’m so scared of wild boar…. No.. I’ve never seen one, but I get terrified if I see where they’ve turned over the soil in the woods, I think they’re disgusting."


"Oh. I’m not scared of animals… just people. People on drugs with knives."


"Snakes… I don’t know, I never used to be scared of snakes, but my mum used to tell me these horrible stories… now I just panic when I see a snake. How often do I see a snake? About once every other year."


"In Guatamala, where I come from, there are all sorts of horrible snakes. I didn’t think there were any in Sweden, until I saw one last year. I jumped out of my skin."


Story continues below…

"Spiders. I think they’re really creepy. If there’s one in the bathtub I put both taps on full to wash it away."

Mats Höggren, director of animals at Kolmården Animal Park, doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry when he hears about people’s animal phobias particularly as the chances of being attacked by a wild animal are incredibly slim.

He believes that many people in Sweden have lost touch with the natural world that is on their doorstep. The greater the distance between the population and their contact with nature, the more these unfounded fears seem to increase.


Ben Kersley is a writer and performer based in Linköping. He is also Sweden’s only Svengelska stand up comedian. Read his blog ‘110% Lagom’ on The Local.

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

20:58 March 3, 2010 by xykat
I am actually a little scared of bees and wasps but this is mainly because I am allergic to them. The last time a bee stung me my whole leg swelled up! If I got bitten on my upper body I guess it could be dangerous. But dying by bee sting is almost poetic. How many insects do humans kill every year?

Otherwise I love nature and we are so lucky to have a planet with such amazing and beautiful creatures. I think we should totally change our attitude about nature and try and create a paradise on earth again. We are not the only creatures on this earth and we should respect other life forms and revel in the fact that in this great and dark universe we are that shining blue and lush planet called Earth!
21:57 March 3, 2010 by scanbyheri
I am scared of frogs, the Bofo ones from Columbia - big fat things as big as dinner plates - ugly creepy vile urchants that I like to splatter all over someone elses yard. Ug, those things really really bother me - I do like bears, they taste like horse.
08:49 March 4, 2010 by spongepaddy
xykat: "create a paradise on earth again"? Which paradise were you referring to? The golden age when people lived to 40 if they were lucky, everything was always damp, all food had to be killed, people were dumb as hell and you could get eaten if you took the wrong trail in the forest? THAT paradise? :)
12:59 March 5, 2010 by tadchem
The most terrifying beast in any breed is the mother who has been separated from her young - which I did once when I married her daughter.
00:19 March 15, 2010 by Coalbanks
HUMANS are the most common & inventive killers of humans, other than viruses, bacteria, famine. Wolves, bears are very unlikely to harm let alone kill a human. Such killings are horrific but very rare. Dogs maul more humans in a year in Sweden than do bears, wolves, foxes, wolverines combined. Elk? Boars? I would be more worried about farm animals.
12:55 March 17, 2010 by asee
I love animals :)
14:16 July 12, 2010 by kolmarden
http://kolmarden.tel/ All what you to need to know about Kolmarden ZOO (djurpark) you will find out on our web page - Kolmarden tourist guide
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