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Mosquitos, ticks, snakes, etc.

Easel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Fall 2018
#1
I'm curious if pilgrims are bothered by mosquitos, ticks and similar bugs or snakes OR is this simply an American issue?
 

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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#2
Mosquitoes and ticks - very rarely an issue. Bed bugs are a perennial problem but most people manage to finish a Camino without encountering them. Snakes are rarely seen on the busier Camino routes and in any case the three Spanish viper species - the only venomous species to present any real risk to humans - are shy creatures which generally avoid conflict with people. Bites are very rare and serious long-term injury from bites extremely unusual. In the most unlikely event of a bite then you should of course seek medical help urgently but it is not reason for panic.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#3
The only snakes I ever saw were dead, on the roadway and I never encountered or was bitten by a single mosquito or tick. The only insect encounters I ever had were biting flies a few times passing through areas with livestock, but that was so rare I hardly remember the occurrence.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#4
Coming from NZ where we have NO exciting animals, my kids were always on the lookout for snakes in particular. Over a few Caminos now we have encountered a few dead and even some live ones.
Also slugs the size of a (kid's) shoe (almost).
Bedbugs twice.
And one son brought home a tick in his stomach. Camino 2014 2014-06-18 003.JPG
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#5
In my fall camino of 2016 my face was crawled all over by flies: disgusting and itchy, but not biting.
 

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RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#7
Also mosquitoes, ticks, bugs, snakes, bears, boars etc are hardly indigenous only to North America.
For the Camino uninitiated, it is not a wilderness backpacking trip. Think of it like this. Think of two small, rural towns located wherever you are from. Now picture them being about 25 kilometers apart connected by a pathway made partly of dirt, partly of blacktop or concrete and partly of say gravel. Now imagine waking up early one morning and walking from one town to the other. In a proverbial nutshell that describes most of the Camino.
 
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Camino Chris

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#8
Also mosquitoes, ticks, bugs, snakes, bears, boars etc are hardly indigenous only to North America.
For the Camino uninitiated, it is not a wilderness backpacking trip. Think of it like this. Think of two small, rural towns located wherever you are from. Now picture them being about 25 kilometers apart connected by a pathway made partly of dirt, partly of blacktop or concrete and partly of say gravel. Now image waking up early one morning and walking from one town to the other. In a proverbial nutshell that describes most of the Camino.
Hey, RJM, if I knew nothing about the Camino except what you have written and described in this post, I would never have walked the Camino once, let alone my 4th one, coming up in June.... Lol! Just kiddin' with ya! Actually your post got right to the point. ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Fisterra-Muxia (Sept/Oct 2017)
#9
I had more issues with what was inside (bedbugs) than outside. Never saw single mosquito or snake. I was actually surprised by the *lack* of wildlife.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#10
You can hardly imagine the excitement on the days we saw deer and a fox and even a mole.
Admittedly none of these were on the Frances!
And it took four Caminos to *see* a cuckoo instead of just hearing them.
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#11
You can hardly imagine the excitement on the days we saw deer and a fox and even a mole.
Admittedly none of these were on the Frances!
And it took four Caminos to *see* a cuckoo instead of just hearing them.
I didn't see a cuckoo, could hear them though, and I was looking for one. Maybe next time. Saw the slugs, my sister saw a deer (I was quite jealous), and encountered a really long line of big ants on the Meseta.
 

Camino Chris

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#12
I, too, was surprised at the lack of wildlife on Camino. Didn't even see a squirrel or rabbit, yet where I live I see them every day scampering around. Saw one deer on the alternate route to Burgos running through the spring wheat fields.
 
Camino(s) past & future
First one begins August 13 2017!
#14
There are hay mites that are released during threshing season. Some people have an allergic reaction to them. You can’t see them to my knowledge but my daughter almost had to end her walk after four days in the Mesetas last August due to nasty blister like bites all over her body. We had to cut off the last three days of our trek through that section and take a bus to Leon where we stayed for three days to heal. Cortisone cream and antihistamine tablets calmed it down. She had a few other flair ups along the rest of the way because hay fields are everywhere. We hadn’t read anything about this in our research. But then who knew she would have such a reaction. DC956388-52A9-4D16-A3AB-737DB189CB2D.jpeg
 

TaijiPilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017)
#15
I'm curious if pilgrims are bothered by mosquitos, ticks and similar bugs or snakes OR is this simply an American issue?
Wildest creature I saw was the dinosaur on the Camino Ingles!!! Aside from that, the famous vultures in the Pyrenees, a rabbit, the storks, and a possible snake slithering out of a drain in Lugo. I was also surprised that I did not see more wildlife.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de San Salavador (2015)
Camino de la Costa (2016)
#16
Also mosquitoes, ticks, bugs, snakes, bears, boars etc are hardly indigenous only to North America.
For the Camino uninitiated, it is not a wilderness backpacking trip. Think of it like this. Think of two small, rural towns located wherever you are from. Now picture them being about 25 kilometers apart connected by a pathway made partly of dirt, partly of blacktop or concrete and partly of say gravel. Now imagine waking up early one morning and walking from one town to the other. In a proverbial nutshell that describes most of the Camino.
Boars are common in Spain, Bears less so, we also have wolves, but you are unlikely to encounter them
 

Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Camino(s) past & future
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. (2015, 2016 & 2017)
#17
The OP didn’t mention chiggers, which are a curse in my home region of the US a bit behind mosquitoes and well above ticks or venomous snakes. Chiggers can bite exposed skin but prefer to crawl to where your clothes are tightest - waistband, armpits, ankles and other spots best left to the imagination. Chiggers mostly get you if you walk in tall grass or other dense vegetation, which was every day of my outdoorsy childhood, so they were my constant tormentors.

Today thanks to [Onewithspirit] I learned that Western Europe has chiggers, too, or at any rate has “hay mites” which are their Wikipedia cousins. Are these hay mites as aggressive as American chiggers? Or are they only a threat to people with allergies?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trombiculidae
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#18
As a back-country walker, I just heard on the news that dog ticks (as we call them: the common brown tick) can cause another health issue, besides Rocky Mountain spotted fever: an allergy to meat. I picked up a tick two summers ago in Banff National Park, which I removed with no side effects. That is, unless I did pick up an allergy to meat. As a long-time vegetarian, who does not eat soup when I travel, I may never know. I don't know if Spanish ticks can pass on this allergy, but it could be highly inconvenient to most pilgrims.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#19
In the past and on many occasions I have been bitten by fleas, ticks, chiggers, redbugs, sand fleas, horse/deer flies, mosquitoes, a spider, bees, wasps, a stinging caterpillar, mites, gnats and even a praying mantis I tried to hold in my hand.
Pretty much on all of those occasions I was in the brush, off of trail hiking, sleeping, camping, whatever when I came in contact with the insects, especially the ticks (they don't jump up off of the ground on a road and don't live indoors). I never had occasion or reason to go off of the Camino trail into the bushes and thickets of the wooded areas. That is where most of the biting/parasitic insects live and come out when it gets warm. Stay out the long grass and out of the brush and your likelihood of being a host lessens.
 

LesR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#22
Coming from NZ where we have NO exciting animals, my kids were always on the lookout for snakes in particular. Over a few Caminos now we have encountered a few dead and even some live ones.
Also slugs the size of a (kid's) shoe (almost).
Coming from across The Ditch (aka Australia) where we have lots of exciting creatures, the lack of small or even large bitey things along the Camino Frances in Sept/Oct 2017 was noticed.

Saw a few of the aforementioned slugs and a couple of lizards (dismembered by a passing tractor, methinks.

But NO flies (yes, I do have a distorted view on how many flies is too many flies), mosquitos, and no bed bugs (thank goodness). And I probably wasn't moving fast enough to acth up with anysnake beating its retreat...
 
Camino(s) past & future
On it now
#23
I'm curious if pilgrims are bothered by mosquitos, ticks and similar bugs or snakes OR is this simply an American issue?
I am currently on the Camino Frances, near Fromista, and about 5 days ago had bedbugs in the albergue (cant recall the name ). And there were swarms of some kind of flies for a long while about 3 days ago. But I haven't seen mosquitoes, tics or spiders!
 
Camino(s) past & future
First one begins August 13 2017!
#24
The OP didn’t mention chiggers, which are a curse in my home region of the US a bit behind mosquitoes and well above ticks or venomous snakes. Chiggers can bite exposed skin but prefer to crawl to where your clothes are tightest - waistband, armpits, ankles and other spots best left to the imagination. Chiggers mostly get you if you walk in tall grass or other dense vegetation, which was every day of my outdoorsy childhood, so they were my constant tormentors.

Today thanks to [Onewithspirit] I learned that Western Europe has chiggers, too, or at any rate has “hay mites” which are their Wikipedia cousins. Are these hay mites as aggressive as American chiggers? Or are they only a threat to people with allergies?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trombiculidae
I don’t know if they are. I haven’t met a chigger and although I walked alongside my daughter the whole way, I also didn’t meet any hay mites no did any other others we walked with. She is just lucky I guess. Are chiggers in South Carolina? And what months are they active?
 

Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Camino(s) past & future
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. (2015, 2016 & 2017)
#25
No one has mentioned the REAL terror of the Camino: the many spiny plants, especially the stinging nettles. I swear the nettles can jump half a meter when they want to; at least that’s what it seemed like yesterday when I picked up my stick and got stung by a nettle that was nowhere near it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2018)
#26
Coming from NZ where we have NO exciting animals, my kids were always on the lookout for snakes in particular. Over a few Caminos now we have encountered a few dead and even some live ones.
Also slugs the size of a (kid's) shoe (almost).
Bedbugs twice.
And one son brought home a tick in his stomach. View attachment 42403
have you ever done the Camino del Norte? Any animals there? This is one of my biggest fears (phobia actually) while walking alone...
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#27
Sheep, cattle, fish. Nothing much else to be concerned about. You need a permit to get anywhere near the bears and they are two days hike south of the Norte so you'd need to be very lost. @wayto(compo)Stella I appreciate that phobia can be a very discomfiting thing but for most of us on Camino the thing we are most afraid of is Camino. And when we conquer that fear we know we can do anything.
 

Donna Sch

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Future? Levante-VDLP-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
#28
Lots of flies in chestnut areas of Galicia. Otherwise nothing else that was a nuisance. Saw some deer, boar and lots of rabbits on the Sanabres. I'm hoping to see lots of beasties next year on the Levante because my partner loves to photograph wildlife and has snake catching skills.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#29
oh yes, flies....we almost needed corks dangling from our hats! IMG_1716.JPG
 
Camino(s) past & future
StJPdP/Santigo 18/9-16/10/17
Santiago/Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17
Hendayne/Santiago 21/4-29/5/
#31
We are currently encountering insect bites on the Norte after Llanes that we suspect are chiggers as they were incredibly itchy and looked like sandfly bites, we had been in albergues who were extremely pro active against bed bugs and we are familiar with bed bug bites, and when bite sites were covered in alcohol soaked cotton balls and left for 30 minutes to kill the mites they finally stopped itching and healed. There is lots of long wet grass about that we are in contact with and bite areas are consistent with chiggers. Took a bit of researching to work out the culprit but are confident this little insect is the problem.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2014
#32
I’m so thankful for this post and all of your replies. The weather along the Francés has been so wet (and now hot!) that the trails I walked 4 years ago are terribly overgrown with every kind of vegetation. I’ve only gotten to Logroño and my knuckles have itchy bites on them. I do have a few mosquito bites but those are easy to recognize.

At first I was petrified that I managed to get bed bugs but it doesn’t add up. We’ve had to sleep with windows open and my brother commented on the “no-see-ums” that he could actually see! I’m going to try the alcohol trick. Thanks so much.

Sandi
 
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