GREEK WILDLIFE

As a cyclist you have an excellent chance of seeing wildlife; only walkers do better in this respect. And there's plenty to see in country districts in Greece. There are lots of insects (butterflies, moths, praying mantises, hornets, etc.). In some areas you find small scorpions in houses, though their sting is said not to be too serious. I once encountered a huge spider, with pinkish markings on its back, in a hotel in Arachova.

There are some large birds (vultures, eagles). There are still wolves and bears in the Pindos mountains though I've never seen those.

There are plenty of reptiles. Lizards of various kinds are common. So, too, are tortoises, which grow to quite a size; if you pick them up you can hear them breathing loudly. There are also snakes. You don't see them all that often, though on a tour I did in the Pindos some years ago there were many big ones sleeping on quiet roads in the mountains. They should be treated with respect since some kinds have a dangerous bite, although when I was bitten by one which appeared in the bath in our house just outside Athens nothing happened at all (see A snake in the bath).