4 Ways to Avoid & Survive Animal Attacks

The List Top of the List
By: Todd Covelli | Teresa Strasser Posted: 5:13 PM, May 30, 2018 Updated: 8:29 AM, Feb 11, 2019

You may have noticed a bunch of animal attacks in the news lately. Some are because us humans do dumb things, while other attacks are unprovoked. Either way, when a critter creeps up on you and your family, you’ll want to know how to deal with the situation. So we spoke with animal expert Mike Foley of the Phoenix Zoo, who showed us the safest way to handle animal encounters. Read on for a lesson in animal diplomacy!


1. Brown Bears


We’ll start with the brown bear. Found all over the United States, brown bears are most dangerous after hibernation. “They have just slept for a long period of time. They need food, and they need it fast,” explains Mike. “Campsites, our backyards, parks, will certainly attract them.” Mike also says black and brown bears are opportunistic omnivores who will eat anything on the menu. So if you find yourself face-to-face with a bear, how should you act? “It’s important to leave the area the way you came,” instructs Mike. “If you make noise, walk, don’t run, and slowly walk away. You should be fine.” He also recommends wearing your jacket open so you look larger – bears will totally fall for this!


2. The Alligator


The alligator is found mostly in the Gulf Coast area in backyards, golf courses, and parks. If you get caught in a gator’s grip, Mike says there’s only one chance for survival: “You need to fight…Hit it in the snout, in the eyes…That alligator is going to release and try to get a better hold. During that period of time is your chance to get out.” In other words, get your Floyd Mayweather on!


3. The Mountain Lion


Pouncing into the last spot on our list is the mountain lion, also known as the cougar and puma, found mostly out west. Mike says you just might find one of these in your neighborhood: “Mountain lions like to eat deer, and as most of the country is in drought, it’s forcing deer into urban and suburban areas. The deer are chasing water, the mountain lion is chasing the deer, and then we might see one in our backyard.” Yikes!

So how can you protect yourself against these ferocious felines? “In mountain lion country, if you are a runner or avid bike rider, you definitely want to be aware of dawn and dusk when they are most active,” advises Mike. The number one rule is to have a buddy with you. And if you encounter a big cat, make lots of noise, but do not run. “[Walk] away backwards so you don’t turn your back on them. A lot of cats like to attack something from behind. That instinct kicks in when something is running away, or in the case with someone riding a bicycle, that chase instinct will take over,” adds our expert. Duly noted!


4. Smaller Animals

It’s not just the big predators you have to worry about. There are smaller animals to watch out for, too! Mike says raccoons, woodchucks, and skunks are among the top three most common animal bites in North America. Avoiding bites from these critters means avoiding rabies. If you notice any of these animals acting strange, stumbling, or unafraid of you – stay away, as they could be rabid.


Mountain lions, gators, and bears – each one of these predators can pose a serious threat to us humans. But now you’re armed with four things to know about animal diplomacy!





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