Surviving an Animal Attack

With the summer months coming quickly upon us, many of us will be camping in the great outdoors. With that camping, the probability that we will run into a wild animal increases drastically.

We put together this document to highlight some of the things you should and shouldn’t do when encountering a wild animal. Take a look and tell us what you think!

General Rules

1. Do not approach unfamiliar animals even if they look friendly.
2. Stay calm and do not scream or make loud noises if the animal approaches you
3. If the animal is demonstrating odd behavior, remember that you are a predator - act like it!
4. Animals are more likely to attack children - pick them up if you see an animal.
5. Usually, animal attacks occur because people don’t make enough noise, get too close to a carcass or other food source or startle an animal with their babies.
6. Don’t hike at night.

Bear AttackStatistically, a bear attack is very unlikely. Bears tend to avoid humans except to steal food. A grizzly bear is more likely to attack than a black bear.

If you encounter a bear, don’t sit around to watch it. The bear is most likely doing its business and encountered you too. Continue along your business but begin to create space between you and the bear. Do not run directly away from the bear or at the bear.

If the bear follows you, separate yourself for the items of food that you have. If the bear seems uninterested in the discarded food, turn around and face the bear. Usually, the bear will back down. If it doesn’t, bring your arms to your side or above your head to make yourself look larger in an effort to scare the bear.

As a last result, play dead. Cover your head and face with your hands. The bear may sniff and paw you. You may even get a few bumps or broken bones but he probably won’t eat you. Humans don’t really fall anywhere in the fish and berry diet of a bear.

Do not run away from the bear, he can run faster than you. You can also climb a tree or try to out swim the bear.

DogsMean Dog
If you come across an aggressive dog, avoidance is the best plan of action. As you back away from the dog, locate a stick or something to arm yourself with. Try and use calm, soft language that shows that you are not a threat.

If the dog lunges at you, try to stay tall and erect. Use your legs to try and kick the dog in the face or ribs. Avoid lying down or stooping.

SnakesAggressive Snake
Snakes will usually sense vibrations in the ground as you approach. They will typically hide behind rocks, logs or thick brush. Usually, they do not attack unless provoked.

Be sure to watch your path if you are turning a trail corner quickly or picking something up that has fallen in a hidden area.

Cougar & Mountain LionsMountain Lion
You should try and avoid mountain lions just as much as any other animal. However, it’s been reported that some mountain lions have made unprovoked attacks on humans. However, this is also very unlikely.

If you are attacked by a mountain lion, use anything and everything to fight back. Try and stay standing and protect your face, neck, and head. Try and scream as much as possible for help.

Usually, alligators and crocodiles will avoid humans by retreating back into the water. If you happen across a nest they will usually chase you out.

If you need to run away from an alligator or crocodile, run in a zig-zag motion away from them. They run well in straight lines but not usually from side to side.

Scorpions & Other Insects
Be sure to shake out your shoes or clothing before putting them on. Insects and scorpions like to nestle into closed, dry locations like that.

Firstly, avoid shark-infested waters! If you’re in the water, be sure to keep an eye out for sharks and if you see one, get out of the water. If you can’t get out of the water, remain calm and stay in a defensive position. Try and reduce the shark’s angles of attack by using other obstructions as protection. Sharks also don’t like bubbles from scuba divers. If the shark attacks you, don’t play dead. Fight back as much as possible by hitting them in the gills, eyes or snout.

Velociraptor-Prehistoric-TimesIf you come across a velociraptor and they seemed surprised to see you, don’t be fooled! This is a trick they use in their hunting techniques. Jump and weave your way out of the area as quickly as possible. According to the Jurassic Park movies, all velociraptors are girls and they are very clever.

Be sure to use locks on doors. They have evolved to use door handles so that will not help you. Install smooth round door handles in your home if you fear an imminent velociraptor attack. Your best bet is to trick the velociraptor using mirrors or other reflective surfaces.

26 thoughts on “Surviving an Animal Attack”

  • Eric

    If your in the backwoods, carry a sidearm if possible. Remember, there are predators on two legs as well as four.

  • mrs julie a neary

    preditor.....wasnt i only walking past

    aint i just supposed to walk away and hope i dont get followed

    i am more chat to the animals if they dont look too ferocious

    he doesnt look well and he is too hot that bear is he

    is that a healthy mouth for a bear

    i have been 75 feet from a brown bear
    mine just went sort of ohhhh after a growl and went back into hiding

    the poor defenceless schizophrenics bigtime
    and morphing
    dont like being fired at or shot with arrows

    but whether you are supposed to know which sort need
    a little something to help it stay stable and humanoid just from looking

    i dont know !!

    perhaps without the vet you shouldnt be trekking it at all
    TA for the pics

  • Joanne Ryan

    For the first response, when you are hiking you should make alot of noise. the animal will hear you and avoid you.once you have encountered the animal you should use these strategies. I learned this from a trail guode at glacier national park.

  • Pam

    Walking in the woods...was always told to make A LOT of noise, carry bells, an airhorn that you sound every now and again. Also have been told to NOT wear earbuds for your mp3 player or get lost in a conversation on your cell phone (if you should have reception)...PAY ATTENTION to your surroundings. If you see the bushes moving make some noise. Also, using some type of walking stick helps, it provides some type of weapon should an encounter happen. As for the velociraptor bet is carry anything that makes a big hole in 'em...but, remember, they hunt in pairs/packs...and if you should happen to see a nest of raptor eggs...leave them alone.

  • CM

    And the most important thing to remember, wild animals are not Disney characters. I've heard horror stories of mothers telling their own children to go hug a bear cub just so they could take a cute nature picture.

    With most people living in urban environments who would disdain even the thought of stepping onto a farm, their only exposure to nature is the anthropomorphic cartoon characters they see on TV. Heck, some of these geniuses do not even know that meat actually comes from cows and pigs!

  • mthowdy

    If in Grizzly Country it is imperitive that carry BEAR can even rent it in Glacier. If you carry a gun in Griz Territory you are a Fool! Even the best would be infinitly fortunate to stop a Griz before suffering terrible damage or death. You see...even a .45 would only piss off a Griz...if you could hit him between the eyes you might make it...but, really, how many of us are that good even at the range...the bear will be on you before you even draw the gun.

    Oh, did I mention bear spray
    I am a veteran of 4 summers as a hiking guide in Glacier.

  • JoAnn Hopes

    The Black Bear advice is incorrect and dangerous. As another poster stated, make a lot of noise. The two most common reasons in my area (Black Bear country) that a human encounters a Black Bear is 1. the human(s)was too quiet. It is common to sing a song, talk loudly etc... in the woods in my area. The other reason is that you have something on you or with you that smells like food or is food. Interesting examples include having gum or mints in your pocket, having just eaten pizza or other messy food without washing your hands with soap and water afterwards, or having a baby who is wearing a dirty diaper, or having a dirty diaper in a plastic bag inside the diaper bag. Definitely make yourself known by being loud. Also, a Black Bear is an avid tree climber and swimmer. NEVER ATTEMPT TO CLIMB A TREE TO GET AWAY AND NEVER TRY TO OUT SWIM A BLACK BEAR. You will not win.Instead, 1.Stay calm, 2.assess the situation to make sure you are not between a mamma and her cubs, 3.make loud noises, 4.wave your arms above your head and 5.back away slowly. Never turn your back on a Black Bear or run from it (both engage its chase instinct), and do not show fear. Black Bears are timid by nature so as long as you follow the protocol they understand, you should be fine. One good piece of advice in the article; seperate yourself from your food. Place your backpack or other food source on the ground and back away. Do not come back in 15 minutes to retrieve it. Forget it and leave it.

    • Notbearfood

      Good advice on how to avoid black bears. Most people consider Grizzly bears as more dangerous than black bears because of reputation, which is incorrect. Black bears are more numerous then Grizz, most have been in closer contact with humans then the Grizz, and they generally don't act aggressive, but the truth is that they are omnivores and will be able to get closer to humans because they don't appear aggressive. Grizz will decapitate you prior to eating you, where black bears will just knock you down and then start to dine on your soft belly parts (OK, I'll say it....guts) WHILE YOU ARE STILL ALIVE!! There is a small possibility you may survive until he gets full. So stay away from the "cute little teddy" as even a small black bear is much heavier than he looks, much more stronger than he looks and will not miss an opportunity to dine on any creature he judges as easy prey. I lived in bear country until I was in my 20's and I am speaking from experience.

  • SFM

    I was told yrs ago that campers had pie plates and if a bear approached they would hit the tin plates tgether to scare the bear away. So Noise definitley is a weapon.

  • Robert Fisher
    Robert Fisher May 28, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Make noise....if possible try & make yourself look large, moving arms up & down while yelling, "hey bear" or something similar as you slowly back away....advice of Not making noise is Totally wrong...also make noise while walking path so as not to "surprise" animal

  • Irish-7

    I was attacked by dogs a few blocks from my home in DEC10. It was a harrowing experience. While kicking, punching and screaming to repel their attack, I managed to call 911 with my cell phone. The operator asked me a whole bunch of irrelevant questions before telling me that the State Police covered my area. He even chastised me for yelling on the phone. Instead of him calling the State Troopers, he merely patched me through to their line. They answered on the 5th ring, then asked me all those questions again. Luckily, some stranger drove by and allowed me to jump in his car. The State Police did not show. I had to call them again. Ever since, I carry a loaded gun. If I walk up to the mailbox, or take out the trash, I am armed. You can keep your spray there hiking guide. I will bank on the .45 Long Colt 300 grain bullets. In fact, they are called "Bear Loads".

  • Rusty

    Most important that has not been mentioned. If there is a four legged predator in the area, ie. cougar, bear, coyote, wolf etc. the birds will be silent. So listen to the birds, if they all of a sudden get silent it a guarentee that you have a predator. Heads up and follow some of the other advice. Living in an area where I have had black bear try to break in my door, bells, noise of some kind other than screaming gives them time to get out of your way. Your first weapon is awareness.

  • waykno

    Well, some say this and some say that. So, is there a consensus? Personally, I would make noise and slowly back away while keeping an eye on the bear. Hell, it is a bear--maybe 8 or 9 feet tall on it's hind legs. Fear will be hard to disguise. And a .45 would not tick off a bear. It may not kill it with one or two shots, but it would be better than a walking stick. And if I had to use a pistol, I would most likely empty it, time permitting.

  • Sabrina

    My grandma, who will be turning 99 in September, has a story she tells about her cousins coming home from school one day when she was too little to go. There were five kids and thank goodness they had been taught what to do if they saw the mountain lion before it was in it's attack spring. The best and only defense if out of shelter or without a weapon is to look directly at it, make yourself look as big as possible, and yes definetly make the loudest noises you can. All five of those children immediately turned and looked right at the lion near the path on the way home from school. They all walked backwards, screaming with their arms outstretched and waving wildly the rest of the way home and the cat followed them till just outside of the yard. It probably wasn't hungry, but if those children had acted frightened or especially ran at any point, that cat would have killed them. Please add this to your article because it could save someones life sometime. Thank-you.

  • RamboMoe


    I found this article to be very interesting.

    The velocoraptor part was a hilarious final touch.

    5 stars

  • Irish-7

    For the Raptor I recommend something larger than a pistol, perhaps a semi-auto 12 gauge shotgun with slugs and #00 buckshot. On a more serious note, I appreciate the informative articles on this site. I think there should be a screening process though. The info on keeping quiet was not only wrong, but could be fatal.

  • millenniumfly

    You had me at velociraptor! :)

  • Maria Stahl

    Irish-7, I have noticed the same thing. Generally very helpful articles, but with frequent factual errors and pervasive errors in grammar and proofreading. This article is over a year old and nobody has gone through and fixed even the typos.

  • gena

    I understand that bear spray works very well on human predators as well, and in areas where guns are controlled, or if you just don't have a gun, a can of bear spray near each door and the master bedroom bed stand, can save lives if someone forces entry into your house. Can cause permanent harm, use is not to be taken lightly, but if your life, your kids or grandkid's lives are on the line, and no gun is available, bear spray will disable them long enough for you to get to safety. And could leave them blind. Has to be kept out of children's reach.

  • Carol

    Thank GOODNESS for smooth, round door handles! I don't want to have to worry about velociraptors.

  • TomK

    Make noise noise noise! And get some bear spray, it works on dogs and other critters too, including the two-legged kind. I am much more likely to use bear spray than I am to shoot someone or something.

  • Fred Shearer

    Never look a predator in the eyes. You could be challenging his territory.

    If you are on a trail, get off it. Walk into the woods. A worn trail is their trail for traveling.

    If you are moving away from a bear, do not travel in a straight line. Circle. Bears have poor sight and a keen sense of smell. Try to get down wind from the animal.

    Berries are one of bears favorite foods. If you come to a berry patch, be alert.

  • Selina

    and if you should happen to see a nest of raptor eggs…leave them alone.


    Sorry, that was too funny! :)

  • Madelaine

    If you can take a dog on the trail, do so. The sense of smell of even the tiniest dog is a hundred times better than ours and they will "alert" or pose if they smell a predator and go no further on the trail. Our lives were probably saved by a little Bichon Frise who alerted while on a trail known for lots of wildlife. When I asked him if we should go back to the car, he instantly turned and started to trot back from whence we came until we were safe in our vehicle. What a champ!

  • warcher

    When I go to the woods to camp out I take a .45 cal pistol and a 7.62x51 semi auto rifle with a good supply of ammo...You know...Just in case the bells,whistles,and bear spray don't work...Camping is fun but do not take stupid chances....

  • don

    In the event of a moose coming at you, QUICKLY put something between you and him! (i.e. tree, even saplings if nothing else available.) Moose are probably the STUPIDEST of the wild critters you'll encounter in the woods. They will stomp you to death for NO reason other than you're there.

Leave a Reply