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.


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

Candidate supporters stand outside a polling location in the presidential primary election, Jan. 23...

WILL WEISSERT Associated Press

Coast-to-coast Super Tuesday contests poised to move Biden and Trump closer to November rematch

Super Tuesday elections are being held in 16 states and one territory — from Alaska and California to Vermont and Virginia.

28 minutes ago

Bountiful police car...


Teen’s secret signal for help leads to hotel rescue and alleged predator arrest in Davis County

A missing Bountiful teen is home safe. The 14-year-old used a signal to let his parents know he was in trouble and needed help.

54 minutes ago

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) throws during the first half of an NFL football game ...

ARNIE STAPLETON AP Pro Football Writer

Denver Broncos inform QB Russell Wilson they’ll release him when new league year begins

Two years ago, Russell Wilson declared he intended to play a dozen years in Denver, now, it doesn't seem that plan is going to work out.

1 hour ago

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, center, sits with her attorney Jason Bowles, left, during testimony in the t...

MORGAN LEE Associated Press

Ammo supplier says he provided no live rounds in fatal shooting of cinematographer by Alec Baldwin

Ammo supplier testified that he provided dummy rounds to the "Rust" set where Alex Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer.

2 hours ago

The New Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, Miller Family Campus, in Lehi is dedicated at ...

Heather Peterson

One third of Utah hospitals not in compliance with hospital price transparency law

Hospitals have been required to post a list of the prices they charge for services since January 1, 2021.

13 hours ago

Noah Pirkle snowshoes by the Mill B trailhead in Big Cottonwood Canyon on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024....

Carter Williams

Comparing Utah’s snowpack this winter with the rest of the West

Utah's mountains gained 12.9 inches of snow water equivalent, otherwise known as snowpack, between the season start on Dec. 1 to its end on Thursday

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

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