BEING a human living in England, you may rightly think that we are at the top of the food chain and have little to fear from any natural predator.

This is indeed mostly the case.

There used to be a few wild animals in Britain that if desperation threw them into the position would predate humans but our ancestors have long since driven both the wolf and the bear into extinction.

There are a few marine animals that have a record of predating humans whose range theoretically could bring them to the coast of England.

For example, the great white shark has a truly global range, however, I am unaware of any records of this or any other similar beast being found anywhere near our coast.

While, of course, there are animals that have the potential to kill us still out there these animals have no interest in as prey.

These animals fall into two categories.

Firstly, there are those that if threatened by us can potentially defend themselves with lethal force such as cattle, horses and the much persecuted adder but this is just self defence.

Then there are the parasites such as lice, fluke and worms. Fortunately for us, in this country these animals are becoming much more of a rarity due to modern hygiene standards and medicines.

However, there is still a host of animals that do see humans as food and these are the micro predators.

A micro predator is an animal that like any predator stalks and hunts its prey before going for the attack and if successful feeding off the prey before moving off to digest its meal and then await for its next victim.

The difference is, when a micro predator attacks and consumes its victim the damage it causes due to its small size is far from fatal.These are mosquitoes, midges and horseflies (and I suppose leeches but these are now exceptionally rare).

These animals are highly successful predators, as anyone who takes a country stroll on a summer evening can testify to.

They have evolved amazing sensory and physical adaptations. These include the ability to detect the CO2 emissions from our bodies, legs that act as shock absorbers that then allow them to alight so softly as not to arouse the suspicion of their intended victims.

The latter is just as well as life as a macro predator is harsh as nothing likes being bitten on retribution from an animal many times your size is nearly always a fatal slap.

With this in mind, some of the horsefly species have developed amazing lightweight armour that if slapped spreads the impact and allows the stunned fly to recuperate.

This armour, however, only works when slapped directly from above so when dishing out retribution on a horsefly always go with the slap then roll.