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Nature’s creatures are best appreciated from a safe distance, but some things are beyond your control. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the "Top 10 Tips on How to Survive Wild Animal Attacks."
For this list, we’ll be looking at tactics, strategies, and tips that might help should you get closer than comfortable to wild animals.
#10: Gorillas: Be Small & Diminutive
The chances of encountering a gorilla in the wild are slim to none, but should you be out on a wilderness adventure, lose your group and stumble into one… your next move might just save you a world of pain. Gorillas are territorial and when you invade their personal space, they tend to take it as a challenge. They’ll likely begin to make noises, pounding their chests and posturing. You, however, should make yourself as small as possible by crouching low, avoiding their gazes and slowly backing away. Should you fail to convey a submissive attitude, the gorilla’s next move is likely to be an attack.
#9: Lions: Be Big, Be Loud
Let’s get this straight: you should do everything possible to avoid getting up close and personal with a lion in the wild unless under the guidance of a professional. Should you find yourself under threat however, it’s crucial that you take the opposite approach to the one used with gorillas. If you come across as weak around a lion… you become potential prey. Instead, you should make yourself appear as large and confident as possible by standing up tall and speaking loudly. Eye contact and noise—like clapping —is crucial, as it shows confidence. Doing all of this, slowly back away… don’t run.
#8: Hippos: Climb a Tree
With lions, climbing a tree is the last thing you should do, given that they’re definitely better at climbing than you. Hippos, on the other hand, not so much. They might look cute, cuddly, slow and docile, but in reality hippos can be quite vicious. In fact, they’re actually considered to be the most dangerous large land mammal in Africa, if not the world, claiming roughly 500 lives per year. Extremely territorial and protective of their young, they will give chase and are surprisingly fast. You’re unlikely to outrun them, so getting out of reach by climbing a tree can save your life.
#7: Elephants: Don’t Run, Find a Barrier
These beautiful, unique creatures are often depicted as gentle giants in popular media—a reputation only worsened by tourism that allows you to get up close and personal with them in captivity. Make no mistake though, in the wild, an elephant will attack if it feels threatened, and when they decide to, they can really move. If you run, it will likely continue to charge after you. Instead, use their size against them and calmly get behind something like a large rock, or vehicle where it will be difficult for them to get to you, and where you can also obscure yourself.
#6: Jellyfish: Don’t Pee on Your Leg
This is one of the most enduring popular myths in all of the animal kingdom, but it's a myth nonetheless. Not only does urine not neutralize the pain of a jellyfish sting, but it could actually exacerbate the problem by encouraging the barbs to release additional venom. Instead, rinse the affected area with the same liquid from which the jellyfish that stung you likely came from—the ocean. Saltwater helps to deactivate the pesky nematocysts, while freshwater, or the urine of a well-hydrated person, will only aggravate them. More importantly… give jellyfish a very wide berth to avoid getting stung in the first place.
#5: Snakes: Don't Suck the Venom
Getting bitten by a snake can be absolutely horrifying. Not only is the attack itself painful and terrifying, but also because the average person can’t identify a snake on sight, meaning that the possibility of venom often remains a foreboding question mark. Though you might be feeling desperate to get the venom out, all those old westerns have led you astray —sucking the venom won’t help. Tourniquets are also a bad idea. You’re much better off keeping your affected limb below heart level to slow blood flow, bandaging the wound and getting medical attention ASAP, while avoiding strenuous activity.
#4: Kangaroos: Cough & Back Up
It might sound silly, but coughing can get you out of a losing fight with a kangaroo. A low cough or grunt-like sound is a sign of submission between kangaroos that you can easily imitate while backing away from an aggressive kangaroo. Like with many other animals, running is likely to encourage chase, so avoid, and instead take the recommended path of submissive slow retreat. You can help your cause by getting low and avoiding eye contact. If it’s too late, curl into a protective ball rather than fight back—the kangaroo should lose interest once it no longer perceives you as a threat.
#3: Alligators: Run!
We’ve got bad news for you… if an alligator has caught you off-guard, your chances aren’t great. The key is to get away before they have the chance to clamp their powerful jaws down on you. Forget the zigzag escape plan. Run fast and run in a straight line, forcing them to pivot while following you isn’t as useful as it’s been made to seem—you’re just complicating your own retreat and putting less distance between you and the gator. If they’re already on top of you, aim for their vulnerable parts—the eyes and snout. If you get a window, RUN.
#2: Sharks: Go for the Eyes & Gills
Despite their reputation, sharks don’t attack humans nearly as often as you’ve been led to believe—not even great whites. If they do confuse you for prey however, you need to keep your wits about you because panicking and frantically swimming away will only make you look more like prey. Face the shark and slowly swim backwards away from it. Should it come in close and attack, aim for the eyes and gills, the two most vulnerable areas on the shark. The more you make it clear that you’re no easy meal, the quicker and more likely the shark is to leave you alone.
#1: Grizzly Bears: Play Dead
There’s a lot of conflicting advice about surviving bear encounters, in part because there are so many types of bear. Grizzlies are large and arguably the most dangerous. If one gets near you, don’t try to intimidate it. Talk calmly while acting submissively, then try to slowly back away. If it does attack, get in the fetal position and play dead. If the bear is committed to the kill and isn’t losing interest… fight for your life. If, however, the bear you encounter is a black bear, you should try to intimidate them by standing up tall and making noise while carefully backing away.