What to do if you encounter a dangerous animal in the wild

Jun 4, 2019, 2:29 PM
what to do dangerous wildlife animals...
Brown bears are just one of many wild animals that can pose a danger to humans if you don't know what to do. Photo: Public Domain

LAYTON — A Utahn was trail running on Antelope Island this past weekend when he encountered a bison – arguably a dangerous wild animal. The bison gored and trampled him.

Dave Noriega is astonished that the man, or anyone, could survive such an attack.

“I can’t imagine many more things more terrifying than a bison,” Noriega says.

You can’t outrun a bison, Debbie Dujanovic adds. The bison can run 40 mph, she adds.

This event led Dave and Dujanovic to look deeper into what we all can do when we encounter dangerous wildlife here in Utah.

What should you do?

National Geographic provides tips on what you should do when you encounter a dangerous animal:

Bison: A bison will charge you and throw you in the air. This may knock you unconscious. What should you do? Hide behind a boulder. Climb a tree. The bison will eventually leave you alone. Bison do not want to eat you.

Mountain lion: You should make yourself look large and scary. If the mountain lion attacks, fight back.

Bears: Like bison, bears can run at 40 mph. If you see one, do not look it in the eye. Turn around and walk away slowly. If the bear approaches you, stand your ground, wave your arms. Speak loudly enough that bear can hear your voice and tell you are a human, not a threat. If you have bear spray, this is a good time to use it. If the bear attacks you, play dead until the bear leaves the area.

Moose: Moose are half-blind. You can conceal yourself by standing behind a tree.

Rattlesnake: Fortunately, rattlesnakes can’t catapult themselves extremely long distances, Noriega says. They can launch themselves about the length of their body. If the rattlesnake is 4 ft. long, stay at least 4 ft. away. If you are bitten by a rattlesnake, don’t wash the wound. The presence of venom on your skin will help medical professionals identify the correct anti-venom. If you go hiking with jewelry on, remove the jewelry because you will swell up, making it hard to remove later.

Dujanovic adds that it’s not a good idea to pick up the rattlesnake and throw it far from you. Don’t pick it up all, Dujanovic says.

Shark: Don’t panic. If the shark appears to just be passing by you, you should curl up into a ball and try to keep splashing to a minimum. If shark starts to circle you, don’t turn your back on it. Maintain eye contact with the shark. Many kinds of sharks prefer to surprise their prey so a shark may leave if it knows you are watching it. Swim away slowly. Punching sensitive spots like the shark’s nose or gills may make the shark retreat.


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What to do if you encounter a dangerous animal in the wild