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How to Survive a Bear Attack & 5 Other Wild Animal Encounters

Posted by on Apr. 18, 2014 at 11:01 AM
  • 14 Replies

How to Survive a Bear Attack & 5 Other Wild Animal Encounters

by Kiri Blakeley

A woman was shocked when she surprised five bears going through her garbage in Orlando, Florida. Her shock turned to horror when one of the bears attacked her, getting her head in its mouth and dragging her towards the woods. But the bear suddenly released her and she got away. She has 40 staples and stitches in her head but is thankfully alive.

Wild animal attacks are rare, usually they are scared of humans and just want to get away from you. But if you surprise them, this is when they can go into defensive mode and attack. Here's how to survive six wild animal attacks.

Bear attacks. Of all the wild animal attacks, bears can be the most confusing to defend yourself from. Grizzly bears can be more aggressive than black bears, and your chances of survival if one attacks increase if you do certain things -- but they are polar opposites for each type of bear. For grizzlies -- located in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho -- if you see one coming at you, you want to keep your eyes on it, and back away slowly and quietly. For black bears, you want to make noise and try to scare the animal away. If you can't tell the difference, it's probably safest to make noise and try to scare the bear.

If the bear actually gets as far as to attack you, as it did the Orlando woman, you want to fight back. Punch, kick, and go for the nose or eyes. If that doesn't work, then be passive, curl up in a ball, and protect your head and neck.

The best defense, however, notes Christine Wilcox, a research scientist with the National Resources Defense Council, is bear spray -- much like Mace for animals. It can work with other animals too.

Coyote attacks. A coyote attack is rare and would most likely only happen if the animal felt threatened. It's best if you are walking where there might be coyotes to make noise as you walk, so the animal knows you're there and can leave. You can walk with a bell. If a coyote attacks, fight back the best you can -- kicking and punching.

Snakes. "Snakes are tricky," says Wilcox. Making noise won't deter a snake so your best bet, if you see one, is to get away from it. You can back up slowly keeping your eyes on the reptile or simply run -- a snake won't catch up with you. If it bites you, it will usually bite just once, it won't latch onto you. So once it releases you, get out of there quickly.

Raccoon attack. Raccoons can burrow in your garbage or garage looking for food, so to try to avoid surprising one, make noise as you enter. Fighting a raccoon is likely to be extremely challenging, but if one attacks, try to bite it on the part of the body near your face. "It's not the most hygienic way to fight back, but it can be effective," says Wilcox.

Squirrel attack. Odd to think of a cute little squirrel attacking, but ooohhh they can. "Squirrels attack when someone is trying to feed or pet them," says Wilcox. If one does, it will usually go for your face, so grab the squirrel off of you and then throw it far from you. Then run.

Shark attack. While it seems like we read aboute shark attacks every day, the reality is, it's very rare. If a shark attacks, it likely mistook you for easier prey. Should you find yourself in the unenviable position of coming face to snout with a shark, marine biologist Jeremiah Sullivan says not to panic. Try to remain calm. "Screaming and splashing is the worst thing to do," says Sullivan. "That just stirs them up."

As hard as it might be to remain calm in the face of such a fearsome creature, keep your eyes steadily on the animal. Sharks apparently do not like being stared at. Now slowly back away. If it starts to attack, it will likely "bump" you first -- and you have a chance to push its snout away from you. You can also tap it on the nose. A shark, not expecting any trouble, will likely leave you alone. But in case it doesn't and actually bites you, now is the time to fight for your life by punching or kicking it in the nose or gills.

Remember, the best way to survive a wild animal attack is to avoid one. Keep food securely locked, and use common sense. Do not approach an animal -- not even a squirrel -- too closely. Do not try to get a selfie with that bear! If you're in an area with wildlife, travel in packs and be loud.

Have you ever been a victim of or witnessed an animal attack?

by on Apr. 18, 2014 at 11:01 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Bmat
by Barb on Apr. 18, 2014 at 3:34 PM

No I've never been a victim of nor witnessed an animal attack, other than cats- and I learned to not approach and try to calm a cat if it is excited about another animal in its territory.  I also witnessed dogs attacking my cats. My husband jumped into the fray and got the cat out of the dogs mouth and held the mouth closed. He was bitten and had to get antibiotics. We knew the owners of the dogs and knew they'd had their shots.

Ilovemybbgrl
by Bronze Member on Apr. 18, 2014 at 3:41 PM
I had about 15 raccoons not let me out of my front door once. I've had bears in my trash but always stayed away from them!
Bmat
by Barb on Apr. 18, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Wow! I've heard that raccoons can be aggressive, but I didn't realize this aggressive. :(

Quoting Ilovemybbgrl: I had about 15 raccoons not let me out of my front door once. I've had bears in my trash but always stayed away from them!


Ilovemybbgrl
by Bronze Member on Apr. 18, 2014 at 3:44 PM
Oh yes. When there are many of them they absolutely will attack!

Quoting Bmat:

Wow! I've heard that raccoons can be aggressive, but I didn't realize this aggressive. :(

Quoting Ilovemybbgrl: I had about 15 raccoons not let me out of my front door once. I've had bears in my trash but always stayed away from them!

Bmat
by Barb on Apr. 18, 2014 at 3:46 PM

I've seen raccoons in our bird feeder. I'll be more cautious now, thank you for the alert.

Quoting Ilovemybbgrl: Oh yes. When there are many of them they absolutely will attack!
Quoting Bmat:

Wow! I've heard that raccoons can be aggressive, but I didn't realize this aggressive. :(

Quoting Ilovemybbgrl: I had about 15 raccoons not let me out of my front door once. I've had bears in my trash but always stayed away from them!


504bbymami
by Bronze Member on Apr. 18, 2014 at 3:50 PM
I've been attacked by the strangest animals.

A goose
A duck.
A squirrel TWICE
And a tea cup pig.
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Randi02
by Platinum Member on Apr. 18, 2014 at 3:55 PM

I'm not worried about any of those animals.

It's cougars that make me nervous. They stalk their prey, and if they do make any noise - they sound like a crying baby, so people might go looking for them and get attacked.

I was hiking on a fairly busy trail and saw a cougar grab someone's LEASHED dog and climb up a tree with it. We could hear the dog screaming, and it suddenly just stopped. The animal was too far up the tree for us to see what was happening.

Samann818
by Member on Apr. 19, 2014 at 10:41 AM

We we have coyotes in our back yard I was sitting on my back porch and I was looking at my phone I looked up and there was a coyote sitting right beside me!!! It didn't try to hurt me but I bolted inside...they did kill off my parents cats though and at night I have to keep my dogs inside cause they are little...I also live in gator country never been attacked but was taught if one comes after you run in squiggly line like a snake because they can run super fast in a straight line but it's hard for them to move back and forth quickly...also HOGS are bad here but I have only ever been told always have a knife or pistol on you cause they aren't scared of anything me and dad went hunting when I was little and came upon a group of hogs and we had to hide in the bushes till they left so we could get in the deer stand..and dad has his gun ready...hogs are deadly around here they are huge, strong, deadly, and they aren't scared of anything! I have stepped over a ton of snakes water moccasins and copper heads...if you live in an area with copper heads they travel in pairs! So if you find one look for the other..! This gets people bit a lot cause they kill one and don't know to look for another this happened to my aunt...my dad got bit my a rattle snake that was scary, also DO NOT SUCK THE VENOM...and if you get but on the foot or hand do not tie it off to the point where there isn't any circulation...say if you get bit on the hand you should tie a something around your forearm just enough to slow down the venom not to stop it! Just wanted to tell y'all what I've learned living in the sticks lol

JTE11
by Bronze Member on Apr. 20, 2014 at 6:26 PM

I have lived in a rural area my whole life and have never been attacked or witnessed an attack, but I have come face to face with bears and coyotes in my yard. One bear came right up behind me while I was down in the drainage ditch by the road clearing out some weeds. When I turned around and found it standing there (probably ten feet away) watching me I actually yelled "What the hell are you looking at?!?" and it ran off across the road and down the other side of the bank. I have no idea what it thought it was doing, but I was about to punch it in the nose if it got any closer. When I'm outside I generally carry a weapon of some sort (even if it's just a golf club)  because geez. I don't need curious bears up my backside while I'm doing yard work. Oh, I forgot, I was stalked by a tom turkey for one whole spring a couple of years ago. He never attacked me but the entire time I was outside he would follow me around. When I turned my back to him he'd sneak in close and when I turned around he'd run off , but then come back again.  Fun times in the country.

lamborah
by New Member on Apr. 20, 2014 at 10:25 PM

its called a 5.56, yes i have and yes i did shoot and kill a cougar. without a second thought, because it was threating us and trying to attack. 

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