The Best Ways to Survive Wild Animal Attacks
UPDATED on August 7, 2020
The last thing you want is an animal trying to rip you open, unfortunately, that’s what you might get.
At home, your pet(if you have one), with moist brown eyes, cute noses, and a comforting nature is nothing like real, man-eating animals.
Animal attacks happen every single second, in fact, I can guarantee you an animal attack is happening right now.
Animals from mosquitoes(yes, insects are animals) to lions attack humans. The likelihood of actually getting attacked by an animal is low. In fact, animals have a deep fear of us humans, and their normal reaction is to flee.
However, if you consistently spend time outdoors, then you are definitely at risk of an animal attack, and it is good you found this guide before the disaster strikes.
Animals will typically attack humans if they feel threatened in some way(even if you aren’t trying to harm them.) Animal attacks are done typically done in desperation(starvation, starving kids.) On the other hand, there are animals that are man-eaters, and they are definitely rarer.
The survival strategy will vary depending on the man-eating animal you are up against. There is no single way to defend against every animal, however, there are best-practices for each man-eating animal attack.
In this article, I will discuss animal attack survival tips, what to do when you encounter wild animals, how to protect yourself from wild animals in the wilderness, and how to prevent animal attacks.
Unless you live in an area that hippos are native to, you probably see hippos as they are depicted in many children’s books; a lumbering gentle giant. However, much to the contrary, the hippopotamus is considered to be the deadliest of the large land animals in the world.
Hippos or Hippopotamuses live primarily in Africa. They spend most of their time in the water to keep their skin cool and live together usually in schools of 10-30, rarely larger.
While they are herbivores, they can be a big danger to anything seen as encroaching on their territory, humans not excluded. Hippos are responsible for the deaths for over 500 deaths(primarily in Africa) each year.
Hippos can grow to be around 5 feet tall and adults can weigh upwards of 3,000 pounds. While they seem like they could have sluggish movements due to their size and the way they glide gracefully through the water, the opposite is true. Relative to the horse, a hippo can run close to 19 miles per hour(31 kilometers per hour.)
These aggressive animals have large tusks and teeth to fight off any potential threats. Mother hippos are especially aggressive when it comes to protecting their babies (known as calves).
During Mating season for the male hippos, they are the most aggressive, and they kill the most people in that period of time.
First off, you want to be aware of your surroundings to prevent meeting hippos. Hippos are unique because they can attack you with ease on both land and water, so I will cover both for you.
How to Avoid the Hippo Animal Attack on Land:
- Try not to meat by looking around you.
- Don’t go out at night, hippos are nocturnal(sleep for very short periods of time during the day.)
- Keep an eye out for manure, hippos make a border of manure, spread out, and the last thing you want to do it enter their territory.
- Do not mess with the children, or even attempt to go near the children, a hippo will charge at you faster than you think.
2. Go the other way the school of hippos is going
However, on rare occasions, hippos will still attack, hence they are referred to as man-eating animals. If they still attack you, then you are in trouble, but there are things to do and not to do.
How to Survive a Hippo Animal Attack:
- Climb a tree
- Go over a hedge
- Climb a wall
- Find something natural you can use for cover that they can’t get on or over
- In the water, do your best to go back in the direction you came
- Don’t try to outrun or kill
- If you still get attacked and survive, request for medical attention
Snakes, located world-wide and spend all their time on land, usually around their nests, and if they aren’t in their nest then they are scavenging for food. Their nests can be found in forests, deserts, swamps, grasslands, underground burrows, and even under rocks.
Snakes are carnivores, which means that they will even feast of humans. Although the exact number of humans snakes kill are unknown(because there are so many), there are about 138,000 deaths from snake bites alone(excluding crushing bodies.)
Snakes usually don’t gather in large groups, so the chances are if you do see a snake, you typically won’t see another for a little while. Snakes can range from inches long to over 50 feet(15 meters) long!
There are also venomous snakes, where you can die from bites, and even touching the snake. So now, we need to differentiate whether a snake is venomous or non-venomous.
1. Cat-like eyes(vertical pupils)
2. Pits above their nostrils
3. Triangle shaped head
Snakes typically will not attack out of anywhere, they will have reasons to attack you.
How to Avoid a Snake Animal Attack:
- Watch where you step, if you step on a snake, it will most likely defend itself by biting you or crushing you.
- Do not go close to smaller snakes(don’t even spectate), because it could be a child, and the parent could see it as a threat and defend itself/ child. To add on to that, even small snakes and baby snakes can kill you.
- If you do get in contact with a snake, slowly back off and give it room(while checking for other hazards around(more snakes, rocks, etc)
- Stick to well-used trails and avoid tall grass, weeds, and bushes
- Step over rocks and trees, not under. A snake might be hiding just out of sight on the other side.
- Check stumps, rocks, and logs before sitting down, and check your sleeping bag before use.
- Don’t wear sandals(or expose any skin) on a hike or camp.
1. RUN(snakes typically won’t chase)
2. Don’t Try to grab the snake or try to strike it.
If I still get attacked?
- Do not wipe the snake venom off, because the paramedic must identify the snake venom to treat it properly.
- Apply pressure by tying a shirt, pants, or bandage extremely tight on the edge of the limb(around the hips for the legs and shoulders for arms.)
- Get help, and request for immediate medical attention
- Don’t move your infected limb(the whole body is better)
Most deadly bees are located in Africa, and they spend all their time on land. They are related to wasps and ants. Most bees are not dangerous, like the stingless and sweet bee. However, you do want to be on the lookout for Africanized bees like the Killer Bees(Africanized Honey Bees.)
Bees eat fruit, and they don’t eat meat(obviously.) The main threat is their stingers. Some bees have more venomous stingers than others. Bees kill about 100 people every year.
Bees usually gather in groups of hundreds or thousands and if you are deemed as a threat, the whole group will simultaneously sting you.
Bees like the Killer Bees have golden fur with black stripes and a shiny bottom. However, most bees are very small and if they are big then they’re even more dangerous and you should still apply these tips.
How to Avoid a Bee Animal Attack:
- Wear lighter colored clothing that is not red(Bees have natural defense mechanisms against badgers and bears which are darker and red appears black to bees)
- Do not approach or disturb beehives
- Run far away if you feel a bee is aggressively bumping into you
- If you already have dark clothing on you, take it off and swing it around.
2. Cover your head and face with a piece of cloth(blanket, sheet, shirt, hands)
6. Don’t jump into a body of water, the bees will just be waiting for you
Crocodiles and alligators are very similar, so I will just put both of them under this category. Most attacks occur in Africa and Asia, however, if you do not live in those areas, then you should still be alarmed because there are crocodiles located worldwide.
Crocodiles are carnivores and their diet does consist of fish, however, they will make acceptions. These man-eating animals travel individually, most of the time.
Crocodiles can range from a few feet to over 20 feet long and can run up to 20 mph(32km/h). Most large crocodiles are located in seawater, so if you are planning to be in seawater, be careful. Crocodiles alone kill 1,000 people every year.
How to Avoid a Crocodile or Alligator Animal Attack:
- Be on the lookout for warning signs
- Never swim outside the safe zones and designated areas
- Know where you are fishing or boating and what the potential threats are before starting
- Use extreme caution when in the water with a potential animal threat because crocodiles and alligators are known to attack overturned boats
- If you are boating or fishing at night, use a lamp or headlamp to check your surroundings frequently
- If an alligator hisses at you, you should run in the opposite direction as fast as you can.
- Keep your distance if you see them
- Never approach an alligators nest
- If you fall into infested waters, don’t squirm and yell, that will only increase your likelihood of getting attacked
- Back off slowly if you come across a crocodile or alligator on land
2. If the animal is following you while biting, aim for palatal valve(tissue behind the tongue) and that will make it stop breathing and force it back into the water
3. If the animal bites you and let’s go, that means it was a defense mechanism and you should run away as fast as possible
4. If the animal bites you and does not let go, then you must attack its eyes
5. Seek medical attention
Elephants, located mainly in Africa, and are the largest land mammals in the world. They spend most of their time on land.
Elephants are huge and can weigh up to 30,000 pounds and can have a height of 13+ feet! They are at the same time faster than you think, with a speed of up to 40 km/h or 25 mph. Elephants kill 500 people a year.
Although elephants are herbivores, they will still attack out of nowhere, or if they see it as a threat. They will not eat you, but they can pierce your body with their tusks or trample you with their massive weight.
Elephants are very unpredictable and do animal attacks out of nowhere, so, be on the lookout for these subtle attacking signs.
How to Avoid an Elephant Animal Attack:
- Look out for them and try not to go too close
- Analyze them to see whether their ears are pinned back, this is their body’s response if they’re ready to attack.
- Check to see if their trunk is curled, this is also what they do when ready to attack
- Check to see if one leg is twitch or swinging, this is also a sign they are ready to attack
How to Survive an Elephant Animal Attack:
- Find something tall(at least 10-15 ft/3-4.6 m) to climb(trees, boulders)
- Jump into a narrow ditch where the elephant’s feet cannot enter(has to be deep enough for the elephant not to reach)
- Throw a decoy at it
- Make as much noise as possible to pose as a dangerous threat
- Do not show your back to the elephant
- If you still get attacked and survive, get immediate medical attention.
Knowing these tips will help you a lot if you get attacked by an animal. However, I would like to remind you that if you don’t threaten them(or unintentionally threaten them), they probably won’t attack you. If you want to protect yourself from mosquitoes(something that kills more than 1 million people) than you should choose a mosquito band.