What’s the worst that could happen while you’re out on a hike or camping in the woods, or even taking a dip in the ocean? Well, a UFO can suddenly appear, abduct you, and perform ghastly experiments on you. Or a horde of zombies, the kind that runs fast, emerges and chases you. Even worse and probably a little more realistic, you may have a wild animal encounter.
It seems like bears are the likely culprit when it comes to wild animal encounter. Bear attacks are not that frequent, however. As of 2017, there were only 25 recorded fatalities from bear attacks in North America in the last 20 years. While this is a small figure, a loss is still a loss and we could only imagine how their loved ones felt at the time and until now.
Fortunately, fatal bear attacks can be avoided. You just need to know what to do in case of such wild animal encounter.
For one, always have a bear spray with you, especially if you’re going to a known bear country. Nobody goes to battle without a weapon. Well, except Desmond Doss but he’s on an entirely different level of courage than most people. Back to wild animal encounter, make sure your bear spray is easy to reach in case you need it.
Make your presence felt. Most bear attacks occur because the grizzly was caught by surprise. If you think there are bears in your vicinity, make some noise. Talking and singing are good ways to let them know you’re there. Bear bells and bear horns also work.
At camp, always pack your food properly, especially leftovers. Sadly, bears and other wild animals invade camps for food because they’re hungry and humans are mainly responsible for that. Avoid visits from bears by using bear canisters.
If you do have a wild animal encounter with a bear, don’t run. Stay calm and stand tall and still. Slowly reach for your bear spray and back away slowly still. Stop and stand your ground if the bear follows you. If it charges at you, use your bear spray when it’s about 40 to 50 feet from you. If that doesn’t work, get down on your stomach flat on the ground with your hands covering your nape. You can also assume the fetal position with your knees under your chin.
Pretend to be dead once the bear attacks. It will only stop once the threat, in this case – you, is neutralized. Stay still until the bear thinks you’re dead, which takes around 20 minutes at the least.
If here’s no other option, fight back. Hit its eyes and nose. If you managed to break free, back away slowly. Don’t run. You’re unlikely to outrun a bear anyway.
Wolves are dangerous, especially in a pack. The best way you can survive this wild animal encounter, aside from not wandering through wolf territory in the first place, is to back away slowly while maintaining eye contact. Never turn your back on them or their instincts will tell them to attack.
You can’t outrun a wolf, much more a pack out for a hunt. If you start running, their predatory instinct is to run after you.
If a wolf approaches you looking to attack, start acting aggressively. Take a step forward while shouting, clapping and making noises to scare it off. Again stare into its eyes and never turn your back.
If you have to fight, you must not panic. It’s easier said than done but if your life depends on it, you should keep calm and not let your enemy smell fear. Take deep breaths and prepare to fend off the wolf with a stick, rock, pepper spray or anything you can use as a weapon. You can also use air horns to scare it off.
If you’re alone, stand with your back against something such as a tree. This will prevent the wolf from attacking from behind. When you’re in a group, form a circle around the weaker ones to protect them. Wolves tend to attack the young, old and weak preys.
Sharks are notorious creatures and perhaps the scariest wild animal encounter you could ever have. They don’t attack that often despite what Hollywood depicts but if they do, few can be as lucky as Mick Fanning. In 2015, the pro surfer was caught on live TV fighting off a shark, which came out of nowhere. Fortunately, he came out in on piece.
As they say, prevention s better than cure. In this case, knowing where NOT to swim is better than having to fight off a shark. Don’t go in known shark-infested areas. Avoid waters where a fishing boat is nearby. Sharks are attracted to struggling fish. Also, don’t swim early in the morning or late at night.
Sharks are also attracted to blood so if you’re bleeding (or menstruating) don’t go into the water. And please, don’t pee in the water, as well.
If you do have this kind of wild animal encounter, don’t panic. If you splash around, you’ll pique the shark’s interest even more. Stay calm and don’t swim away. Face it and keep eye contact all the time.
Once a shark starts attacking, you have no other choice but to fight back. Perhaps that’s the reason why Manning was able to escape. He said he gave the shark a few punches on the back. It’s better to aim for its eyes and gills. Be careful with punching its nose as you may end up with your hand in its mouth.
Use anything you have as a weapon. Hitting a shark with a snorkel, paddle, underwater camera, or a shark billy will give you a better chance of surviving.
If you find yourself face to face with the king of the jungle, you don’t have time to sing Hakuna Matata. What you have to do during this wild animal encounter is stay calm, stand your ground, and do not run. Make it feel like you’re a threat by adjusting your position so you’d be side-on-side with the lion. Make loud noises by shouting and clapping your hands while also waving your arms to make you look larger.
Move back slowly while still acting like a threat. If the lion charges at you, yell even louder than before and keep your arms up. If the lion turns away, stop being aggressive and turn sideways then walk away. This will help you avoid a fight during this wild animal encounter. But if the lion still attacks, stand still and be ready to attack, as well. Hit its face, especially the eyes, when the lion jumps at you.
Bees, Hornets and Wasps
The previous animals in this list are huge and imposing. Bees and their relatives, meanwhile, are small and kind cute but equally deadly, maybe even deadlier.
To avoid this wild animal encounter, don’t go poking at their hives and nests. You should also take extra precautions if you’re allergic to them. Don’t wear bright colored clothes and perfumes or lotions that smell sweet. You should also have an epinephrine injection pen or EpiPen with you always.
If bees, wasps or hornets are hovering near you, don’t try swatting them. This will make them attack you. If you are attacked and stung, get out as fast and far away as possible. Don’t wait until the other bees show up. But if a swarm is attacking you, stay as calm as possible. If you make noise and more movements, they will think you’re a threat and won’t stop attacking you. Just move away slowly with your eyes closed before running for a shelter with your head covered. Contrary to popular belief, jumping into a body of water is not an effective response to this wild animal encounter.
Some animals in this list are actually peaceful beings who are often provoked leading them to become violent. Just remember that one wild animal encounter is different from the other. You can’t play dead when a shark attacks you. That will only work with bears. Make sure you remember how to react to every possible wild animal encounter so your chances of surviving are better.
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