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How to Deal with a Dangerous Animal

Learn how to deal with a dangerous animal from NYC Outward Bound instructor Marko Yurachek in this wilderness survival skills video from Howcast.


So one of the things people are oftentimes really concerned about when they're out in the wilderness, out camping, is animals, and animals really aren't as big a concern as usually people make them out to be.

So there's a lot of animals out here that people are worried about, bears probably being number one. There are coyotes, there are bobcats, and various other animals that are kind of scary and scary in movies. Coyotes, not too much to worry about. They're solitary. They usually stay away from people. Bobcats, they look scary, but they're really just a little cat. They might eat your cat, but they're not going to eat you. Snakes are also of very little concern. Here in the Northeast, there are not that many venomous snakes. We do have rattlesnakes. We do have copperheads. They're going to take off. If they hear you coming, they're gone, and there's not really a lot of chance of interaction with them, unless you try to pick them up, which is the case with almost all animals. If you try to pick them up and handle them, or if you treat them with disrespect, they're going to bite. Raccoons, squirrels, anything like that can bite you, and they're usually going to bite you because you did something inappropriate.

Some other animals that we don't have here, that are in other places, that people are worried about, wolves, unlike in The Grey, wolves don't really hunt down people. They stay to themselves and take off, so wolves are not really a problem. Wolverines, great X Men character, and this is a bit of wolverine fur, only way up north in Canada and Alaska, also something to not worry about. It's in the weasel family, really cool to watch. If you're a sheep, you might worry about some of those animals (?) sheep. But the animals that are potentially dangerous and statistically kill the most people are the animals you don't think about, and that's from collisions with cars, deer, moose, things like that.

When you're in New York, or anywhere in the wilderness, the animals that you do want to be concerned about are animals you probably wouldn't expect. The animals that are most dangerous are bees. That's because a lot of people have an allergic reaction to bees. Most people that do have a reaction probably know and maybe carry epinephrine or something to counteract the bee sting. But bees can kill people because they close off their airway. Other animals in the same family that might cause an anaphylactic reaction would be wasps, ants, things like that. So insects are probably our most problematic, most dangerous animal, bees number one. We do have some poisonous spiders, nothing that's fatal, nothing that's lethal. It'll cause some local pain. Brown recluses cause some necrotic tissue. Black widows, again, not going to kill you, cause a lot of muscle cramping, but not fatal.

Another problematic animal is ticks, in this area especially. We're in an area where Lyme disease is prevalent, and one of the things that you want to do if you are camping in the Northeast, or anywhere in tick country, is make sure you do a really good tick check, which means looking at all your exposed skin and seeing if there are no ticks attached. If ticks are attached, you want to remove them without squishing them as quickly as possible. So getting ticks off of you is a good way to prevent disease, because they do have bacteria that causes Lyme disease. It is something that's treatable.

So in opposition to what most people think, bears aren't something to worry about, mountain lions aren't something to worry about. Bees, ticks, and things like that are your biggest concern.

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