Travelers Share Their Terrifying Close Calls With The Local Wildlife

Travelers Share Their Terrifying Close Calls With The Local Wildlife

While humans like to say that we're at the top of the food chain, most animals still have plenty of leverage over us when it comes to power, defense, and agility! Wild and domesticated creatures can be as unpredictable as they are majestic, and trying to interact with one can lead to some pretty frightening situations.

This can become even worse when traveling abroad. In a foreign country most travelers don't have experience with the different creatures that call their new destination home. This has led many animal lovers and unassuming tourists to get into some pretty scary run-ins with the local wildlife! These are some of the most dangerous, terrifying and hilarious wildlife encounters from travelers all around the world.


54. All Eyes On You

I led a hike of about 40 teenagers down a Navajo slot canyon in northern Arizona, ending at the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. As we returned, I noticed mountain lion tracks in the canyon, some over our own prints, meaning it was tracking us.

We regrouped, stayed in 3s and 4s, all stayed in eye sight of each other, loaded up with sticks and rocks, and forbid climbing up through holes and stuff. We never saw it, but I know at some point it was watching us.

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53. The Three Bears

I was hiking in Banff in the backcountry. I was in front, my friend was behind me. About 15 yards meters/yards in front of me, up pops a grizzly bear head out of the bushes. Bear stands up, sussing us out. Two little cub heads poke up on either side of her. Before I could even get my bear spray out, they were gone, having run away in the other direction. We had been talking while we hiked but because we were close to a river, and the forest was dense there, the bears didn't hear us until we were quite close. I'm always much louder now when hiking near rivers, and areas where the trail isn't as visible.

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52. Just Run Away

Had a few. First time was on a canoe trip in Minnesota where a bear just popped out of the water in front of our canoe while it swam across a lake. It stopped, looked at us, we looked back and it swam on to the other side.

Second time was a bear standing on an embankment just off and above the trail. We all froze and gave it space until it walked off. We had to stop one person in our group who decided to rush toward it to try and get a closer picture. Nature is not a petting zoo.

I almost got bitten by a rattlesnake when I was peeing off the edge of a campsite into some waist-high grass. I heard a rattling sound and then I heard something move by my foot. Never jumped further or ran faster in my life.

rattlesnake-4412933_1920-300x200.jpgImage by Cifer88 from Pixabay

51. No Barbecue For Bears

Hiking in Shenandoah and walked next to a tree with an black bear. He took off down the tree and ran off kind of like how a dog would. Kind of got a picture of him running. Startled me though. A friend though had a new grill that raccoons kept getting in. He's laying in bed and he hears a racket around and goes out the back door to scare away the "raccoons" only to come face to face with a massive black bear. He dives back in his back door but his ankle got caught by the closing screen door. That bear also ran off but did destroy the grill.

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50. At Least It's Good Cardio

Last year, my fiancé and I took a nice long trip to the mountains of Colorado. On our very first hike in the Rockies, about 4 miles in, we took a short break to appreciate the stillness and calm. Because we were dead silent, we heard the bear snap twigs as it came around the corner ahead of the trail of us. Usually the more observant one, I was momentarily distracted by something or another when my fiancé whispers 'That's a bear." We very calmly move down off the rock we were on and briskly walked, not ran, the other direction. Thankfully, it seems we had startled him just as much, and as I nervously checked over my shoulder I thankfully saw his tail bouncing away from us. Power walked the 4 miles back in 20 minutes, hearts pounding, just wishing to see another person and feel safe.

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49. Respect Their Space

There was a grizzly mother and two cubs on a hill we had to cross while we were hiking to Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park. We saw them when we were about 100 feet away and ~30 feet below them on the hill, so we just waited about 10 minutes until they went about their business on the other side of the hill so that we could safely follow the trail. If you're alert and it's not too forested of an area you can often spot wildlife before you are close enough to be in danger.

We also passed by a rattlesnake on a hike in King's Canyon that someone we passed on the trail warned us about, which was lucky.

In Banff we pulled off the road to a trailhead parking area and were debating hiking there but decided against it. As we were backing out to get back on the main road a black bear crossed right over the very beginning of the path. Definitely would have had a close encounter there if we had decided to get out.

bear-3801041_1920-300x196.jpgImage by David Cardinez from Pixabay

48. Just Google It

Alone in the Sierra high country during a blizzard and a black bear decided to check out my tent. Was unnerving to hear him shuffling and sniffing around. I had enough cell service to google "what to do if a bear is outside your tent". So I sat there.

In Africa a lioness was stalking my younger sister, we were parked in a Range Rover with the windows down and didn't see her until she was only a few feet away. Unblinking eyes, like a house cat about to pounce. We rolled up the windows and drove really fast.

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47. Here To Steal Your Girl

I was on a canoe trip through the boundary waters with a group of friends back in 2009. We had gone almost a whole week without seeing much more than birds and squirrels, until finally, on our last day out, we saw something floating through the water. We were sure it was an animal, but not quite sure what, as most of it was under water. We slowed down to stay out of its way until we finally saw it emerge on the shore. It ended up being a wolf, and he must have known he was a majestic looker, because he got up on land, shook himself off, and struck a pose for us before carrying on his way.

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46. Watch Out For The Tail

Last year I hiked the Appalachian Trail and over the course of my trip saw a little over a dozen bears, rattlesnakes, moose, and a bunch of other not as dangerous wildlife. For the bears most of the time they ran away immediately after seeing you and I lost my real fear of them after seeing 7 in one day. It was almost comical rounding a bend or cresting a hill and seeing a bear right there, weighing easily double me, and watching it take off in fear, almost bowling over trees to get away. Rattlesnakes I would just freeze when I heard them and either go around or wait for them to move.

The encounter that scared me the most happened in Maine in the hundred mile wilderness. I was hiking at night which is spooky by itself when I heard rustling in the bushes to my right. All of the sudden a huge mass of fur just rushed across the trail causing me to jump. It had to have been the largest beaver I've ever seen and scared the crap out of me, luckily it seemed preoccupied with something else but it must've been at least 70 pounds.

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45. Don't Leave Food Lying Around...

I was woken up in the middle of the night by two big brown bears helping themselves to the tuna salad in our cooler. (We had foolishly left the cooler on the picnic table of our campsite.)

It was hot, so we were just sleeping on the ground. I sat up and shined my flashlight in the direction of the noise. Saw two pairs of eyes shining back over the picnic table. My first sleepy thought was, "Huh. Why would deer be interested in our cooler?"

Don't remember much between that thought and getting ourselves settled enough to breathe once we were safely in our car.



44. He's On Vacation Too

I was walking on a beach in Georgia when I was 10-ish. I came up to the end of the hotel’s property where they had set up big concrete median strip blocks to keep the beach separated from the salt marsh on the other side. I decided to climb up on them and walk around. When I climbed down to go back my foot landed several inches in front of a large alligator that I hadn’t seen until just then for some reason. Luckily for me, angry logs are notoriously lazy, and this one apparently wasn’t hungry. I don’t think I’ve ever run that fast in flip-flops since then though.


43. What A Boar

Walking on a trail in east Texas. Saw a wild boar the size of a power wheel. We both froze up and stared at each other. Boar walked off like a boss because he knew he would be the winner in this confrontation.


42. Don't Fight A Mom

I was hiking by myself in Alaska. I went round a curve on the trail and came face to face with a moose and her two babies. I was probably only about 10 feet from them and I literally had to look up to look at her head. I just froze with her looking at me for what seemed like an eternity (probably only a few seconds). She and her calves then bolted off into the woods. It could have so easily gone bad as mothers can be very protective. I waited for a minute to get my heart rate down and then continued on my hike.


41. Dog Days

I was on the back of a motorcycle in Ecuador. The dirt road was bumpy as it went through a small village in the mountains, so we were only going the speed of a light jog. A German Shepard dog comes tearing up to us, snarling and barking.

My friend tried to go faster, but the deep dirt made it too dangerous and we were sliding and bouncing all over the place. The dog kept pace with us, just out of reach. We'd almost hit a main road when he got close enough and bit my friend in the leg. My friend shook him off, and hit the gas onto the main road before he could come around for another attack.

Since it was impossible to track who owned the dog my friend had to get rabies shots for like 10 days.

We also chased by cows and sheep on a regular basis. Animals in rural Ecuador are mean.


40. Fumble In The Jungle

Back in the summer of 2007, I was part of a ecology research team that went down to Costa Rica to count the poison dart frog population, take measurements of trees, and extract soil samples to try and measure the amount of deforestation over the span of a year.

I was only 19 years old at the time and had just got done with my freshman year of college. The research team consisted of two college professors and the rest of us were students. The research in the rainforest would be conducted during the daylight hours, and at night we would regroup back at the lodge, eat dinner, and partake in a little drinking of some beverages.

On this particular night, I felt especially inebriated and decided to take an adventure with my best friend away from the lodge to the Caiman filled lagoon. As we approached the lagoon, I dropped my flash light on the ground in front of me because I was stumbling around like a fool. I was in the midst of bending over and reaching out to pick it up when my friend jerked me back violently. We both landed on the ground, and I asked him what the heck did he do that for.

As we staggered back to our feet, he shined his head lamp right next to my flashlight on the ground and there coiled up, looking like it was ready to strike, was a Fer-de-lance snake. There are 22 species of snakes in Costa Rica and that is the most venomous. The closest hospital to us was a 4-5 hour drive away. My professor and the locals said I would have died well before ever reaching that hospital.


39. The Mountain Lion King

I backpack a lot in the Western U.S., so have had a few run-ins with mountain lions. They say that if you see them, then you don't need to be worried.

I took a friend out backpacking, and we were in the tent at night and could hear that crazy mountain lion scream -- sounded like it was in the distance but kept going for a while. We pass out, but I wake up in the middle of the night and am very aware there is a large animal outside the tent, sniffing around. I freeze, and wait it out without waking up my friend, who would have lost it.

I got up before dawn and all around the tent there are mountain lion tracks -- it must have been inches away from our heads separated by a sheet of nylon. I scuffed them up so my friend didn't see, but I was watching my back the whole hike back.



38. Good Thing There Was Another Source Of Food

I was picking wild blueberries and had a bear walk up and start snacking from the same bush right next to me. He even pushed me out of my 'better' spot. I just walked away, very slowly.


37. Puff, Puff, Splash

When I was seven my cousin were collecting fish in the Gulf of Mexico. We both thought it would only be ankle deep the entire way, since that's what the adults had told us. We were having a great time then we saw it: pufferfish, tantalizingly close and intriguing to say the least.

Now. we weren't stung by its spines or anything. But we followed it for a good way into the gulf. Instead, either the sand bar collapsed or we just jumped into the deep part of the gulf. But we were suddenly swallowed by the ocean. I couldn't swim and my cousin was too small to carry me. I swallowed so much water I thought I was going to drown that day. Luckily, my dad sprinted out and saved both of us.


36. Watch Your Step

Walking up to a viewpoint Pagoda in Myanmar when my friend in front of me suddenly stops dead and says, “Oh no!” I look down and his foot is about an inch away from a 4m long black viper. Having never encountered a wild snake, I had no idea what to do either, not to mention the fact my friend is terrified of them.

It suddenly moved (jeez they’re fast), and its head pointed towards us. Without really thinking I started stamping my feet, and it got scared and shot off. That was terrifying.

Funny thing is my friend was even more scared of the stray dogs at the top than of the snake!


35. Bearly Made It

In the Smokey Mountains, I was driving up a very steep 30-40 degree incline to get into our cabin. At the very top, around the curve, was a black bear, just chilling in the middle of the dirt driveway. I couldn't back up because I'd almost definitely fall over a cliff, and I couldn't stay still cause the incline was so steep that if you took your foot off the gas you'd roll back down over a cliff. I had one option: gun it right at the bear and lay into the horn. This is how I won a fight with a bear.


34. Monkey Business

A few years ago, I was at a monkey forest, minding my own business, feeding some bananas to the animals. Then, out of nowhere, this rabid monkey comes flying on to me and sinks its teeth into my leg. I’m freaking out, my mom is freaking out. They ended up having to send me to get emergency shots. I went straight back on a plane home for treatment so I wouldn’t die of rabies.

Had to get injections done for weeks and a hectic procedure performed on my leg.


33. One In The Hand...

I was hiking and climbing up a bunch of rocks that form almost like a small cliffside, so you couldn't really see where your hands were being placed. Went to grab the next rock to pull myself up and I grabbed something that felt like leather. Turns out I literally pulled a copperhead snake down onto my head. As a man, I did not even know my voice was capable of hitting such a high pitch. The snake didn't know what was going on either so he just went crazy and flew off after he hit the ground.



32. On The Loose

This happened in Yellowstone one summer. One early morning, I went out to my car, parked in a small gravel lot at one of the ranger living areas near Yellowstone Lake. As I walk around to the driver side of the car, I see out of the corner of my eye a very large grayish-brown shape moving in the shrubbery about six to eight feet away from me. I quickly back away behind my car. Scared the crap out of me thinking it was a grizzly. Turns out it was a moose, but still extremely dangerous to be that close.


31. A Run In The Dark

I once went for a run in the afternoon. It was an 8-mile loop, so I was starting at my car and would end there as well. I misjudged the amount of sunlight I had left. I thought I'd be fine, but as I hit the halfway point, I noticed that the sun was going down a lot faster than I expected. I estimated the sun would go down around the time that I reached the 5.5 mile mark, leaving me 2.5 miles to run in the dark.

I was running in a very large park, which is surrounded on all sides by hills and wooded areas. All sorts of animals live in this park. As the sun went down, I started to hear something following me. Not closely, but I was aware of its presence.

Around the 6 mile mark, I saw something in the dark ahead of me. I was nervous, but knew that you're supposed to be loud and make yourself seem bigger to scare most animals off, which I did. Whatever it was got scared and vanished.

Around the 7 mile mark, I heard it again, but this time it seemed accompanied by the sounds of several other animals, making yelping and cackling noises. That's when I started to panic. Knowing I had about a mile to go to get back to my car, I started hauling, running as fast as I could. The entire time, I could hear the animals following and tracking me.

When I finally made it back to my car at a dead sprint, I pulled my keys out, unlocked it and hopped in as fast as I could. Less than 10 seconds later, an entire pack of coyotes materialized out of the darkness and surrounded my car. There must have been at least 10-12 of them. As I caught my breath, they just sat there staring at me through my windows, seemingly trying to wait me out and see if I'd leave the car. They finally scattered when I started my engine.


30. Mountain Lion Eyes At The Bottom Of The Grand Canyon

A few years ago my (now ex) boyfriend and I took a trip to the Grand Canyon. We arrived at about noon and after walking around the path on the top, we found a trail that would take you down all the way to the bottom of the canyon. Not thinking much of it but having enough water and food, we make our way down.

It was incredible. The layers of ecosystems from the desert top to the more temperate bottom were fascinating to me. We were able to get loads of cool pictures and in general, had an amazing time. We reach the end of the trail which was something like a large rock suspended over the river and hung out there for a while.

After a few minutes heading back up a few things came into realization:

Climbing up is way harder than climbing down.

The sun is setting.

I can't remember exactly but this trail is something like 7 or 8 miles long and we didn't have a flashlight. It didn't take too long for things to get very dark.

So we're climbing and talking about how exhausting the trail is when we stop for a snack break. I'm sitting there eating when I see it.

It's a bit hard to make out but in the bushes not far from us are two glowing eyes. I've heard stories of mountain lions that follow hikers and my heart just dropped. Without giving off a panicked vibe I said that we need to move right now.

I spare no time climbing as fast as my tired legs can carry me on adrenaline. As my ex is struggling to keep up all I can think about is the missing persons report that might have to go up tomorrow. We didn't tell people where we were. Big mistake.

My legs are turning into jelly but I can't stop. Every now and then glancing behind me and feeling very unsettled that I can't see the eyes anymore. My body is pushing limits of exhaustion that I've never felt before but I'm almost too numb to feel it.

My ex still has no clue what's going on and is probably thinking that I just feel uneasy in the dark.

We didn't keep track of time so it's hard to say how long it took us to climb back out but it felt like hours. Once we reached the summit my body gave in out of relief and I could finally feel the extent of my soreness. It was overwhelming.

Well, we made it back to the car and drove home ok (I had to drive because he basically passed out as soon as he sat down) and neither of us could walk without pain for about a week afterwards.

It's been years since we've been together and he'll never know what had me spooked that night.

7-1527971874703.jpgNational History Museum Los Angeles County

29. A Petrifying Protective Mama Gator

I was kayaking alone and I saw some baby gators on a tree that was in the water. The current was strongly pushing me towards it. I thought it would make a good photo then I heard mama gator make an unforgettable roar. I never saw her but grabbed the paddle quickly and tried to get away as fast as I could.

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28. Capturing A 3-Foot Monster Snake

Venomous snake removal. I got a call to a 3 foot Eastern Brown snake under a horse water trough, and the standard scenario is most snakes end up being smaller than described...

I went out into the horse paddock adjacent to the house, found the water trough, rolled it sideways to have a look under and out shot a genuine monster of a brown snake having a bad day.

After a split-second thought of "wow, that's big!!" instinct kicked in to grab the tail first chance I had. The next second I have this bloody thing coming at head height maybe 10 inches away mouth open! Big brown can bounce around and when I crouched to grab him he reacted and used the water trough to sort of accidentally bounce off and gain some more height to his strike.

At this stage, I decided the best course of action was defense so I whacked him away with the only thing I had, a  snake hook (a modified shortened golf club with U-shaped hook) and made him even angrier and snappier.

By this stage, the safest option was to release the hold on him and re-establish it once I made a beeline for cover, the bloody house. In between the house and paddock is a fence so I hop that in a flash to find the snake in rapid motion moving towards the house and the owner standing at the edge of the house with a lawn rake smashing it down on the ground as the snake approaches!

I start yelling "don't hit it, don't hit it" while running at the snake trying to beat it to under the rake or house... While running the brain says "I have to get him to turn back to me," so I wisely stand on the tip of his tail best I could and sure enough he swung around like a whip and was focused on me again.

I managed to dodge him for a few (horrifying) minutes and get his tail again so everything seemed good to go for pinning him and getting a proper hold on him. While holding the tail I pin him as practical as possible at that time and only manage to get him halfway up the body... I then found out the 3-foot long snake hook I had used is way too short for the job and now have my palm, fingers outstretched trying to push down on the hook with my palm. With this snapping mad (2nd most venomous) snake on the planet within maybe 2-3 inches of my hand and fingers on the hook striking and swinging wildly.

I thought about it for second and realize if I gently placed my foot on his head region I could restrain his movements more, let go of hook (browns have small fangs so it was pretty safe to do. It wouldn't bite through the boot) and then get a good hold behind his head and bag him. I managed to get a hold behind his head after a few seconds of trying and get my other hand on his body so now I had full control... I'm still fighting but under control, I could now think... And remember the snake bags in the car already had a couple of tiger snakes in them and how do I ask this home owner to change them around to give me an empty snake bag... If I put the snake down to do it I'm back to square one really so I decided to ask him for a pillow case if he had one and use that... I contemplated asking him to hold the pillowcase open because both my hands were still fighting with the mad brown. But common sense kicked in and realized that was too dangerous to ask him.

So I eventually hold the bag on the ground with one foot, try to open it with the hand holding the body, wrangle this thing in bum end first and lower him down inside... I closed the bag around my wrist holding the head and in one action attempt to throw his head down and rip my hand out at the same time. After a few minutes, I had him in and tied off. The home owner and kids just had a look of shock on their faces offering thanks during the pack up. I could now start breathing again and the snake was hissing and having a fit in the bag as we said goodbyes.

I collected my $20 payment and went on my way. Later that day on the drive to release him, I called into a vet to weigh and measure the snake as I knew he was above average for a brown snake. 2.8kgs and 195cm!!!!


27. Saved From A Pack Of Coyotes By A Puppy

I was out on a hike at Griffith Park with my dog when he was a puppy. He was probably about 6 months old at the time. I always loved staying out late on the hiking trails and seeing the sun set. Towards fall you would see the owls come out, bats, and deers. Who would've thought so much wild life would live near the city? Griffith Park is huge though. Mind you, the park closes at sunset for a good reason too. So we're on our way back to the car and it's dark as heck, I hear rumbling in the bushes and brush it off. I thought it's probably a deer looking for food or something. You see the occasional coyote as well. So on our way we go, as we're getting closer to where I parked I see dogs in the distance (coyotes... they looked like dogs in the dark).

Before I know it we're getting surrounded by a pack of coyotes. At this point, I'm thinking of ways to scare them off or get me and my dog away from this situation. My 6-month-old puppy at the time decides he's going to be a big boy, and gets in front of me while growling. So I thought to myself, dang it and decided to run at them and started screaming. Thankfully they got scared away. That day, I realized I had made a friend for life.

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26. A Back-Scratching Bear Confronted In Underwear

We planned a big Rocky Mountain camping trip with some friends a few years back. My husband and I went up the night before to beat the weekend traffic and snag a good spot for all our friends. We had enough food in a couple rubbermaid bins to feed a dozen people, so I knew attracting critters was a real possibility. Having no weapon or bear mace, I suggested we sleep in the SUV for the night, but my husband wasn't having it and gave me crap about being "paranoid" etc. Eventually he agreed to do so.

At 5 AM I woke up to awful scratching sound; when I sat up, there was a dang black bear rubbing on a pine spruce 2 feet from the closed rear hatch door (had it been open, I could have reached out and touched it). Terrified, all I could do is scream-whisper the word "bear" over and over until my husband woke up.

Confused and half asleep, his first instinct was to honk the horn at it. Aside from a confused sideways glance, it didn't seem to phase it much. Then my husband, dressed only in his underwear decides to open the car door, which apparently spooked it off, but in hindsight was probably not a very good idea. He's not allowed to give me trouble about being afraid of bears anymore.

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25. "Two Skinny Dudes" Facing Off With A Mountain Lion

Two years back a friend and I were running trails in Catalina State Park after work. We did 3 miles and then the sun set. Not wanting to be lazy with our length we head back to the truck to grab our head lamps. The birding trail was an extra mile and a half. About a third of a mile in we encounter a skunk and I mildly freak like any sensible man.

We continue for a while rounding brush and hills and my friend tells me that he feels like we are being followed. I was like "pssh," and we go a little longer and I turn around. Bam! There was a mountain lion 50 feet behind us! We illuminated that predator with our headlamps. My heart was pounding and I grabbed a rock, made a bunch of noise and started to back out to open ground. Two skinny dudes in short shorts vs a mountain lion.


24. Attack Of Allergy-Induced Fire Ants

I was woken up early one morning by my dad with him proclaiming that we were going fishing. We were in his truck along with my uncle before the sun had risen, and were off. Now, there were plenty of fishing spots close by where we lived, but my dad wasn't one for doing anything easy. I think we drove for maybe an hour or two before we finally reached a lake. There was a dock there, and boats to rent, but again - my dad doesn't take the easy route.

So we head off the beaten bath, into the woods, until we find a small little clearing. We set the cooler down, get the gear out, and start fishing. After standing for an hour and all that walking, my legs are tired and I want to sit down. I go to sit on the cooler, but am told I can't do that. So I sit down next to a tree.

Turns out fire ants had claimed that tree. I noticed one on me, brushed it off, saw another, and than a swarm. I was being absolutely attacked by them and immediately screamed/panicked. My dad noticed, took my shirt off and started whipping me with it. When that wasn't working he threw me into the lake.

Hilarious for a moment, until it was discovered I'm extremely allergic to fire ants and had to be taken to the hospital. I was there for 4 days or so.


23. A Surfing Encounter With A Dog-Eyed Sea Lion

It was my first time surfing, and I already have a fear of the ocean but my friend's family already paid for us to be out there.

So I'm just hanging out not too far from the shore but if I look down, I can't see the sand underneath me. It's all dark water. I sense a movement and see a small head peering at me. "That's funny, how can a dog be so far out here?"

Then I remembered I'm in the ocean, I don't see the dog's owner and wait, those eyes are really small. Wow! It's a sea lion! I love watching ocean shows as a kid but I don't want to see one up close without planning it!

So I start paddling to the shore as fast as I can and I guess the little guy can sense my panic because it FOLLOWS me underneath my board, I can see it popping its smug head as I'm gasping and freaking out.

I realize it's not super "scary" but not being able to see down in the ocean is why this encounter is burned in my memory.

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22. Belittled By A Massive Gray Whale

I'm a guide on my first saltwater kayak trip, with high school students. It was my first real encounter with a gray whale. It surfaced about 4-5 feet away and just looked at me.

I've been a fishing guide, canoe guide, ski guide, hiking and climbing guide. I've been by grizzly bears, cougars, real angry black bears and more squirrels then I can count.

This giant, bus-sized whale scared me on an emotional level I have never felt before or since. It was scarier than any wilderness emergency or animal encounter I have ever had.

I sat alone in my boat. I couldn't move or hear anything. I sat alone after night campfire solo and thanked that beast for reminding me how small I really am.

I love whales.

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21. Horrifying Size-Up By 8 Foot Black Bear

It was in Killbear Provincial Park in Ontario.

I was just washing up after eating dinner, bumming around the campsite, putting away things, etc, when I hear the woman in the campsite next to us say "honey, get the camera, there is a bear right behind their campsite".... I turn my head and not 8 feet behind me is a large black bear.

I was terrified, but the bear just wandered off.

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20. Face-To-Face With A Shark And A Snake

I was out hunting with my brother in law and his nephew. It was a nice day so we went swimming in a creek. All of the sudden my brother-in-law freezes and tells me don't move. I look around and there's a cottonmouth snake probably 5 feet away staring right at me. We slowly make our way away from it.

A few years later I was living in Florida, I'm out in about 6 feet of water I turn around to go back to shore and I see a shark swimming between me and the shore. No clue what breed but it was at least 5 feet, that area is known for bull sharks so I wasn't taking any chances. I waited and it got distracted by something else and swam away.


19. A Violent Turkey Who (Literally) Saw Red

My parents and I went to a turkey farm when I was about 5 years old. They went into the attached store while I was supposed to wait in the car. I got bored, left the car and ran into a huge turkey who got royally upset at my red hat and chased me all over the property.


18. A Mortifyingly Massive Bull Moose

I was younger so I wasn't aware of the danger, but my dad and I were out hunting and popped through the trees into a little clearing maybe 30 feet around. On the other side was a huge bull moose with a rack at least 6 feet wide and a beard over a foot long. My dad just kind of put his arm in front of me and we backed away slowly.

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17. An Attack From A Flock Of Pastry-Hungry Seagulls

We were staying in a hotel at the beach. My brother and I were excited, so we woke up at 7 AM. My mom and dad were not feeling well, so they were NOT in the mood for the vacation to begin. One of them went down to the lobby and got us pastries, then told us we could eat them on the balcony which we were thrilled about. Everybody's happy, right?

My mom and dad locked the balcony doors so they could have a few minutes of peace. I guess they thought we wouldn't notice, and if we did, we'd be fine. But at the beach, there are seagulls. And seagulls love pastries.

My brother and I were dive-bombed by an entire flock of seagulls. I remember trying to defend my pastry for a split-second and then saying, "Okay, here you can have it!!!" because it was clearly a losing battle. Well, do you know how long it takes a giant flock of seagulls to eat two hotel pastries? Like, seven milliseconds.

AND THEY WERE UPSET THAT WE DIDN'T HAVE ANY MORE PASTRIES FOR THEM. It was a very small private balcony, but it took us a minute to reach the glass doors to call for help because the air was so thick with wings and beaks!! I'm not even kidding. We could hardly move for all the seagulls!! And they were relieving themselves all over everything!

My mom and dad got the opposite of a restful morning. I still maintain that it was their fault, but instead of being adequately consoled, we were simply told, "Well next time, you shouldn't get up so early!"


16. A Breathtaking Solo Encounter With A Huge Bear

This happened when I was a kid. During a road trip, we (my family and I) stopped at a rest area to stretch our legs. We each wandered around separately for a few minutes. I was in a clearing, alone, and saw a bear emerge from the woods to the other side of the clearing. I froze. It looked at me, then loped away. I went back to find my family and suggested we leave as soon as possible!

10-1527971562843.jpgDavid Grubbs

15. Scary Snap From Angry Turtle And Vicious Mama Fox

My dad picked up a large snapping turtle from the back once trying to help it get unstuck and almost got his hand bitten off. I didn't know turtle heads could move so fast until then.

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14. Showdown Between Hedgehog And Dead-Set Dog

When I was like 7 years old I was out walking my dog. This was usually not a problem, except that I ran into a hedgehog and my dog attacked it. I was not strong enough to pull him away, and he was hurting both the hedgehog and himself. All I could do was yell at him and cry, but he was dead set on attacking that thing. Luckily a neighbor came walking by and pulled my dog away. The neighbor wasn't happy about the whole thing and I'm pretty sure my parents got an upset phone call later that day.

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13. A Scary "Swamp Wampus" Scream

I grew up in coastal North Carolina in a very rural area. More than once, when we were playing in the woods, we saw a HUGE black cat. It was bigger than my golden retriever, who tucked her tail and ran for the house the first time we saw it. So we did too. My parents said we were exaggerating. Surely it was just a deer or maybe a bobcat, but they hadn't seen it. Within a few months, there were other reports of a large black cat in the area, most of them within about a 5-mile radius from our house. When our dog had puppies that winter, they went missing one by one as soon as they were old enough to wander far enough away from the group.

One morning I was waiting for the school bus in the dark by myself. I heard the cat-tails rustling in the swamp about 25 feet away. "It's just a bird or something," I kept telling myself. "No need to make a big deal out of it, or you'll miss the bus." Well, it was a bird. WAS.

It was probably only a few seconds later that I heard the greatest commotion I've ever heard coming from wildlife, and I was no stranger to noisy wildlife! I heard what sounded like the panic-cry of a Canadian goose or large waterfowl, first desperate and then gurgled along with the flapping of a large set of wings. This was accompanied by a crazy yowl like you'd imagine to hear from a large African beast.

Needless to say, I did not stick around. I ran back up the road and into the house as fast as I possibly could, shook my mom awake saying, "The panther ate a bird!!! Mom, the panther is outside and it ate a bird!!!!!!" All she cared about was that the bus was going to come any minute now, and it wouldn't wait if I wasn't out there. In the dark. At the end of a lonely road.

But I was thirteen, so I won the argument. My mom put on her bathrobe, made oatmeal (for herself, not me) and teased me for another hour until it was time to be dropped off. To this day, if I'm around and somebody mentions a panther, my mom will tell everybody about the time I saw a "Swamp Wampus." (I guess that's a Southern word for "Monster?") And I stick with it. That poor goose. That frightening, primal yowl right before the splash. There was totally a swamp wampus out there, and I'm grateful the bird was a better target for breakfast.

panther-1529349445749.jpgWorcester News

12. Yes, Ostrich Bite

An ostrich bit my ear in South Africa. FYI they are jerks!


11. Who Let The Dogs Out?

I was walking my dog on a trail at this big park around my neck of the woods and these people own land that shares a long chain linked fence with it. We've walked it before and I always noticed that they have dogs roaming around on their side but usually they are never anywhere near the fence. This time, of course, was different. As my dog and I approached like 5-6 dogs are all running towards the fence barking and snarling. I did the howdy doody type, "whelp...good thing they're over there and we're over here huh girl?"

The dogs must've already dug a hole under the fence at some point because one by one they duck under it and start running towards us. Uh oh. I yell as loud as I can and stomp towards them and they stop in their tracks but start surrounding us like a pack of wolves snarling and barking viciously the whole time.

I'm scared and my dog goes into full-on wimp mode (poor girl) with her tail between her legs and her forcing herself between mine.

The only thing I could do was yell at them to "GET!!" and kick at them when one got close enough. I knew it would be a mess if more then one attacked at once or if my dog lashed out at all. This went on for maybe 2 minutes and was terrifying.

The owner eventually appears about 200 yards away and fires a weapon in the air and the dogs scatter back to the other side of the fence.


10. In Hot Pursuit By A Pissed-Off Moose

Years ago I was with a now ex-boyfriend, visiting his relatives at Christmas. They lived near a remote lake and one day my ex-boyfriend decided it would be fun to go off from the usual snowmobile path and explore. Long story short - we were chased by (I assume) a very upset moose.

Years later I'm with my now husband. We were broke and looking for a cheap date. Since it was a super nice sunny day we opted to take a canoe out into a popular boating area around our coastal city. We decided to explore under one of the piers. It was super dark and surprisingly quiet... until something let out a burst of air, the kind you hear at Aquariums with whales or sea lions. Panic set in and I made us 'nope' the heck out.

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9. The Wild Escapades Of A Wildlife Biologist

I used to work with Amur tigers in Russia. We were tracking one through the snow in February when we hear a loud "woof" ahead of us. We backed off and about a minute later heard branches breaking as the tiger moved off. We continued up to where it had been sitting at the top of the hill. The body print in the snow indicated it was sitting like a sphinx and had been watching us for about the last 300-400 feet before it warned us it was there. They may be big orange, black, and white cats, but we couldn't even see this thing and we were almost right on top of it. And frankly, if it had wanted to come after us, there wouldn't have been much that we could have done.

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8. High-Speed Chase By Unfriendly Mutts

One time my sister and I were handing out raffle tickets door-to-door for a school fund-raiser or something. I guess I was around 13? At one of our neighbour's houses (and the neighbours weren't unfriendly by any means), we walked up the driveway because we had never had an issue with this before. Except this time, their dogs started barking loudly and running straight at us.

We got out of the driveway and about halfway down the road before they caught me and knocked me over and one bit my hip. I managed to get away. I think it was more frightening than painful. My sister wasn't touched and yet she's the one who grew a fear of dogs from that.


7. How To Handle A Predator

I've done quite a bit of backpacking, and have had various animal encounters over the years.

Oddly, the most risky one, was when I encountered a Doe on the trail. I presume she had a fawn nearby, because when I came around a corner, there she was on the trail, staring at me, and scraping the ground with her front hoof. My usual tactic in these kinds of situations is just to talk calmly in a soft voice at the animal. In most of my interactions with deer, they take one look at you and go bounding off into the bush. She didn't. Instead, she snorted, then started walking towards me. I back off, and she kept following me for several hundred feet before turning back. I decided to chose another trail to follow.

When I'm in bear country, though, I usually just sing to myself, or whistle as I walk along. Not only does that help me keep pace as I walk, it also produces enough noise that the bears will stay away. As such, most of the bears I've seen in the wild, have been bear bottoms as they ran away.

Finally, I've also had a job in the high arctic, working at a camp that was 10km away from the shoreline. One of the things we had to be worried about was a possible encounter with a Polar Bear. Unfortunately, in that situation, the bear would be hungry from walking that far inland, and as such extremely dangerous. Had I encountered one, the only viable solution was, well, the 12ga shotgun I carried. It was loaded with 4 deer slugs, followed by 2 00ga buck shot. Up there, bears are the Alpha preditor, not Humans; if one comes after you, you need to be able to drop it.

polar-bears-1665367-300x200.jpgImage by

6. Wandering Off The Trail

While hiking a trail in east Yellowstone solo, I ran into a herd of bison. No problem, walk off trail and do a large bend around them. Unfortunately there were about 70 of them and I veered off further than I thought.

I have no idea where I ended up, but about 2 hours later I was lost-ish. I say "ish" because while I was hopelessly lost, I knew I had to head east towards the road and the riverbank was also heading east, so I followed the river.

At one point, I entered into a hot spring area surrounded by burnt out trees from the wildfire of 1986. It ultimately narrowed into a small bottleneck in a path where I could safely cross through without backtracking about 45 minutes. However, right at the bottleneck was a giant bison facing me and walking in my direction.

I almost screamed but realized I couldn't. I took a deep breath and walked backwards out of the bottleneck and up a small hill, waiting for the bison to walk out.

The bison was munching on some grass, so I waited and waited and waited. Finally, about 15 minutes later, it walked through the clearing and the way from which I came from. I tried giving Mr. Bison a head nod, but he ignored me.

I found my way to the road...9 miles away from the trailhead. Fortunately, I hitchhiked with a Kansan family back to my car waiting for me at the trailhead, the only car still in the parking lot for that trail.

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5. Bear Baiter

Hunting and fishing trip. 5 of us.

An important part of the story is my friends girlfriend was really stupid. Really really dumb. She has very little intelligence and it came up frequently.

A cub walked into camp and went under our truck and was sniffing around or whatever. Stupid Girlfriend was at camp alone, and decided to feed it junk food.

We return after dark, she had been alone at camp for like 3 hours. She had been feeding the thing for 30-45min.

At this point the cub is inside a tent with her, my friend looks at me terrified and says "there's a bear cub in the tent and she's feeding it and it's been there for less than an hour". 5 min later were all freaking out, holding guns, trying to get the cub to leave and it won't. We decide were moving the entire camp and driving away asap leaving the death machine caller to nature. As soon as we decide this, the really stupid friend's girlfriend starts screaming and yelling about a bear. Like literally screaming and shreaking. Because this women is very stupid she throws a book at the bear. I really can't quantify how stupid this girl was, it extended well beyond this trip.

Anyway, the bear is livid, I think, I don't want to find out. The guy with a fetish for stupid has to grab the stupid girl physically and put her into the truck. We wasted so much time trying to tell idiot girl to get into the vehicle that the bear is now sniffing the bumper. Everyone jumps into either the cab or the truck bed and we drove out leaving the camp behind and slept the entire night in the cab. It was cold and I don't think we really slept.

The bear destroyed a single tent, random junk food in the tent and left.

I'm very proud that we didn't kill a bear, I'm proud that once we identified an emergency my friends acted smart, including holding weapons while trying to get dumb girl into the car and eventually jumping in a truck bed for 2 of them. And the tent was replaced by Costco for free.

The trip was ruined, not because of a single tent, but because after this infighting started and the rest of the trip was bitter. The irony is nobody but her boyfriend wanted her to go, not even her which was why she was waiting at camp. So after this occured it was infighting ever after.

bear-79838-300x199.jpgImage by

4. Large And About To Charge

We were in Rocky Mountain National Park in the fall. We were only there for a few days as we had just attended a wedding, so we decided to drive through the park a bit. We bought picnic supplies and a six pack of local brew, then went in.

At the gate they warned us of rutting season, and there was an area where tourists were gathering to watch the herds at a safe distance (guarded by the park rangers). Late afternoon we joined the tourists for a few minutes, got bored and drove off to Sprague Lake to have our picnic.

We walked along the trail past a rather boggy area which was apparently the outflow of the lake. On the other side of the wet area a tree was madly thrashing. "What's that?" my wife asked.

"Pretty sure that's an elk rubbing his antlers on that tree. As long as he stays over there I'm cool with that." But I was somewhat uneasy anyway.

We went further along the trail until we found a bench overlooking the lake. We got out our food and popped a beer and sat discussing the day, when my wife froze and whispered excitedly "Look! Over there! An elk!"

Sure enough, there stood a female elk a couple hundred feet away, calmly grazing. "Okay, let's just gather up our stuff. As long as she stays over there-" I broke off as two juveniles appeared behind her. "Right. Let's get moving-"

Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. And a Volvo on legs with antlers that could catch a VW appeared on the path, walking toward us.

"RUN!" I grabbed my wife's arm and hauled her a good fifty feet down the path before looking back. The bull had slowed down, satisfied that he had run off the intruders, and gave me a baleful look. The female and the two juveniles went up over the hill, and as he followed them he bugled at me.

We got back to the car, her chattering in excitement and me still shuddering. "How cool was that!" she exclaimed. "We got to see them close up!"

I looked over at her for a moment. "Do you realize how close we came to being killed? He was starting to charge us!"

"Oh, we could have just run into the water."

"You do realize that they like the water, right? That wouldn't have slowed him down at all."

Didn't dim her enthusiasm at all, but I still get the creeps thinking about how close that was.

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3. Don't Monkey Around

When I was ten I was on holiday in Namibia with my family. We saw lots of potentially dangerous things but always had a guard etc. We traveled in a group with 4 other families so including my siblings and I there was roughly 6 children. I was the oldest and the youngest was 6. Every night we set up camp somewhere new and we had all sorts of wildlife wander through the campsites (honey badgers, gazelles, elephants etc).

One day me and the other kids decide to walk up the hill from the campsite to a small pool to cool down. We agreed that we would meet our parents and the guards at the top in an hour while they and stayed behind to help pack up. As we rounded the corner we were faced with a huge troop of baboons. There was roughly about 30 of them counting their young. Baboons can be highly aggressive and there was no way to go round them and we were to far away from our parents for them to hear us if we yelled.

I don't know why be we decide that the best plan was for all of us to stand in a line, an arms length apart, and make ourselves look as big as we could and run at them. Screaming. In retrospect it was probably pretty stupid cause it could have gone either way but in the end the troop ran into the forest and we went swimming.

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2. A Horrible Strike By An Erratic Skunk

We once had to rather promptly evacuate a campsite because an erratic skunk had wandered up. Either it was a normal skunk and we had to worry about the unholy terror that is skunk spray, or it was a rabid skunk and we had to worry about the unholy terror that is skunk spray and imminent harm. That was fun.


1. Invasion Of The Claw-Snapping Coconut Crabs

I am ported in Diago Garcia, a friend and I were under the influence and are heading back to the boat when we come across a coconut crab. I thought I was in a nightmare as about 8 more crawled out of the "woods" (don't know if palm trees are considered woods) my buddy and I freaked out and ran back to the hotel.

1-1527972724884.jpgTetiaro Society