How to Survive an Animal Attack in the Wild
Today we’re going to look at 9 of the most dangerous animals and teach you some tips on how to stay alive if you should ever cross paths.
The Cape Buffalo
It might not have huge teeth or slashing claws, but the African Cape Buffalo is terrifying all the same. Unlike most prey animals, a Cape Buffalo will not run from a fight, choosing instead to turn and face a threat head-on… or horns-on more accurately. If faced with a charging buffalo, your best bet is to find the nearest tree and climb it. If there are no trees around you, however, and you happen to be armed, you’re going to need nerves of steel. That’s because Cape Buffalo can reach speeds of 35 mph (56 kph) when charging and are so powerful that nothing short of a shot directly to the brain can stop one mid-charge. With a 4.5 inch wide brain (12 cm wide), you have to hold your ground and wait until it’s about 65 feet away (20 meters), when a buffalo will typically drop his head in preparation of goring you with its horns. This will give you a clear shot straight to the brain, and your only hope of surviving the attack.
The King of the Jungle: Lion
If you’re hanging around Cape Buffalo, then it’s probably good to know how to handle the next animal on our list: the lion. Surprisingly, most predators actively avoid getting into fights or attacking strange prey because they don’t want to risk unnecessary injury. Furthermore, an unfamiliar prey might have defenses the predator doesn’t know or understand; any injury, no matter how slight, might spell death for a predator by leaving it unable to hunt. Therefore, a lion, while still dangerous, will rarely ever actually attack a human. Instead it will charge at you once or twice in what are known as ‘mock charges’. These are meant to test your nerve; if you run, it will signal to the lion that you are weak and would make a good snack. Your best bet is to maintain eye contact with the charging lion and never break it, slowly backing away and responding to the mock charges by spreading your arms and shouting, making yourself appear bigger and signaling that you are not afraid and ready for a fight. More than likely, the lion will break off the attack and try to find something easier to munch on.
Continuing our tour of Africa leads us to the second most powerful cat of the savannah: the leopard. As solitary hunters, leopards are far more cautious than their lion cousins and thus much less likely to attack you. In fact, leopards are some of the least aggressive predators because they need to stay in peak physical condition to hunt, and will not take any unnecessary risks that might injure them. However, if you accidentally stumble across one as it is feeding or is with its cubs you can expect the leopard to attack. In the event of a leopard attack, don’t run or back away, instead hold your ground and make as much noise as possible, clapping your hands and shouting. More often than not, the leopard will decide you aren’t worth the risk and will leave you alone.
Next up is another African icon, the elephant. Surprisingly fast runners, elephants can reach speeds of up to 25 mph (40 kph). While typically pacifists, elephants kill an average of 500 people a year, and the two times an elephant is likely to attack is if it is with its young, or when a bull undergoes a reproductive phase, during which the elephant is flooded with testosterone and is extremely aggressive. Much like a lion, elephants will typically do one or two mock charges; it’s important then that you hold your ground and make lots of noise, as running will trigger the instinct to chase. Don’t try to climb up a tree as elephants are very powerful and will tear most trees down, though sometimes hiding inside a hollow one or hiding behind it may be enough to discourage the elephant. As an absolute last option, play dead while protecting your head with a bag or other item, the elephant might lose interest, hopefully without stomping on you first.
The next animal on our list is bar-none the most dangerous in all of Africa: the hippopotamus. Surprised? Don’t be! Hippos kill more park rangers, hunters, and tour guides in Africa than lions or elephants combined. Extremely aggressive and territorial, they may be herbivores but their six-inch long tusks are able to crush bone and rip flesh apart. With a top speed of 18 mph (30kph), your best bet if attacked by a hippopotamus is to run. Once committed to an attack, standing your ground or trying to make yourself seem big and loud won’t scare one off. These are animals that other apex predators are so afraid of that young ones are known to play amongst feeding crocodiles and even nip at them without retaliation; the crocodiles are fully aware of what an angry mother would do to them.
Our Furry Friends
Dogs are man’s best friend, except when they are wild or feral. Feral packs of dogs can be extremely dangerous, and can be found in a surprising variety of places, from the streets of Mumbai in India to Dallas, Texas. In May, 2016, a pack of feral dogs attacked a woman in a Dallas neighborhood, biting her over 100 times. As the most likely of all the animals on this list for you to encounter, it’s important to know how to spot an attack and protect yourself. If faced with a pack, look for the smaller or less aggressive members to start fanning out around you while the alphas face you head-on. This signals that the pack is getting ready to attack as they will try to hit you from multiple angles at once. Your best bet at this point is to climb something tall, like an electrical box or the roof of a car. If you can’t get away though, curl up into a ball and make your hands into fists to protect your fingers, then cover your face and neck with your arms. Not very likely to kill, the dogs will quickly lose interest and move away.
The Great White
The Great White Shark- easily the most feared animal in the world, yet the least likely to ever attack you. Once known as man-eaters, sharks actually dislike humans as prey, and often attack only due to cases of mistaken identity; a thrashing swimmer or surfer on a board can often look like a seal from below the water. Despite their enormous power and size, Great Whites actually kill the least amount of humans, and almost always give up an attack after only a single bite, when their taste buds kick in and tell the shark: “yuck, this isn’t a seal!”. If you find yourself face to face with an attacking shark though, your best bet is to not thrash around, as you’ll mimic injured and vulnerable prey. Instead, make your way to shore calmly and slowly, keeping eye contact with the shark at all times. As ambush predators, if the shark doesn’t think it can get the jump on you, it might abort the attack altogether. If it does decide to attack though, thrash and punch as hard as you can; despite the popular advice of going for the nose, remember that right underneath that nose is a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth. Instead, try going for the gills to avoid putting your hand straight into the shark’s mouth.
As the world’s most successful reptile, crocodiles are found almost everywhere that humans are and attack an average of 2,500 people a year. Having been around almost as long as sharks, crocodiles seem to have reached evolutionary perfection all the way back during the age of the dinosaurs, when their distant cousins were the size of school buses and regularly made a snack of even the mightiest dinosaur! The best way to survive a crocodile attack is to never be attacked at all. But if you find yourself in its clutches, you only have one hope: go for the eyes. With the strongest bite in the world at a mind-blowing 5,000 pounds per square inch, you would need a hydraulic jack to pry open its jaws, and with a scaly hide thick enough to deflect lower caliber bullets, even a gun might not help. Like a fully armored knight, the eyes offer the only weak spot in its armor, and a good jab will often make a crocodile immediately let go of its prey.
Thanks to habitat loss, outdoor enthusiasts are finding themselves increasingly more often face to face with aggressive bears. As you’re not on the menu though, most of the time a bear will prefer to avoid you, so your best bet to avoid an attack is to make lots of noise as you travel through the forest, so as to let bears know of your presence. If you do find yourself dealing with an aggressive bear, don’t run or climb; as the old adage goes: you’ll only die tired. Bears can run up to 35 mph (56 kph) and climb better than any human. Instead, stay calm and slowly walk away, but if an attack does come immediately, roll up into a ball with your stomach towards the earth and your hands protecting your neck. Because bear attacks are not predatory behavior, the bear will only continue the attack as long as it thinks you are a threat; So, despite your instincts, don’t try to fight back. Instead, continue playing dead and stay that way, even after the bear leaves; Grizzly bears are known to loiter around an area for up to 20 minutes to ensure a threat is truly neutralized.
How do I stay alive?
It can be confusing to remember which animals you should try to scare off and which you shouldn’t, so your best bet to avoid a wild animal attack altogether is to stay at home and subscribe to The Infographics Show for more great videos! So, which wild animals are you afraid of the most and why? Let us know in the comments!