You may feel as though an animal attack will never happen to you. Maybe you feel this way because you live in a highly populated city that hosts an unwelcoming environment for wild animals. Maybe you feel this way because you live in an apartment where animals are not allowed. Or maybe you live in a house in the country, and you believe you are well equipped to fight off any beast you find lurking around your yard. Regardless of what you believe, accidents happen, and an animal attack can happen you.
Due to recent attacks, such as the death of a two-year-old child at a Disney World resort who was dragged away by an alligator and the small boy who fell into a gorilla enclosure, knowing how to protect yourself from an animal attack is becoming more relevant to everyday life.
Below is a list of animals found in the U.S. with important notes about how to protect yourself from a vicious attack. It may be unlikely that you ever come in contact with any of these animals, but you should know how to fight back in an emergency.
- Alligators are found in states ranging from North Carolina to Texas, but most alligators are found in Florida.
- Alligator attacks are rare. According to the Wildlife Conversation Commission, there were only 383 people in Florida bitten by an alligator from 1948-2016. Out of those 383, only 23 died.
- The Wildlife Conversation Commission (WCC) advises against swimming at night. Animals are more active during night hours, making them more likely to injury you. If an alligator does attack, the WCC says you should fight back by hitting, kicking, or poking the alligator in its eyes.
- Bears are not likely to attack unless they sense you are threatening their cub or you surprise them. Situations like this typically arise on hiking trails where bears are abundant and when people hike alone.
- Yellowstone National Park Rangers recommend you hike in groups of three or more and carry bear spray with you. Bear spray is like pepper spray but is stronger and impairs the bear’s vision, breathing, and smelling ability.
- According to the Mountain Lion Foundation (MLF), being attacked by a mountain lion is extremely unlikely. A Montana native claims he has only seen three while living in the mountains over the past forty years.
- The MLF advises you to never run from a mountain lion. Stand tall to make yourself appear big. Make eye contact with the cat and throw items at the cat if necessary. The cat will normally move away from you.
- In 2015 there were 98 shark attacks worldwide, according to International Shark Attack File kept at the University of Florida. Fifty-nine of those attacks took place in the United States. Shark attacks are on the rise and you should swim with caution when at the beach.
- Avoid night swimming or swimming near fisherman and schools of fish. It is also advised not to wear shiny jewelry while swimming.
- In the event of an attack, hit the shark’s nose and pound at its eyes and gills.