Planning to Spend Some Time in Nature: Learn How to Avoid Wild Animal Attacks

Maybe us humans are smart and we have definitely accomplished a lot, but when it comes to spending time in nature, we are not that successful. No matter if are you planning to spend some time in nature, go camping or hunting, you will have to know how to avoid wild animal attacks.

Most people simply believe that an animal won’t attack them so there is no point in learning a few things that can save their life, but this is a mistake that can cost! There are no rules when it comes to animals and attacks, so the better choice is to be well-prepared.

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Below you will be able to find a few ideas on how to avoid attacks by different animals. If you live in an area where these attacks are common or you are planning to put yourself in a situation that may include a potential attack, learn from this advice list! They can make a difference and save your life.

The Most Dangerous Wild Animals: How to Avoid Their Attacks in Nature

In case of mountain lion attacks

Mountain lions are responsible for deadly and severe attacks on humans, so you must avoid them at all cost. Before adventuring in an area known for being populated by mountain lions, inform yourself about the times they have been seen, areas they usually go to and what is the safest route to take in order to not have an unplanned meeting.

Mountain lion attacks

Defending yourself against that requires a lot of effort and if possible, any kind of weapon you have around. The best option would be to try and escape as soon as possible thus avoiding a conflict. If you see a mountain lion and he sees you also, try to look scary.

Open your jacket, yell, use rocks to chase him away while looking around for something you can use as a weapon. Your main goal is to chase it away so you can retreat to safety. In most cases, this will be enough, but if the animal still comes after you, be prepared for an imminent attack. Do not run or crunch, this will make you look like an easy target for the lion. Keep your ground and let it see that you are as much as a threat to him as he is to you.

In case of bear attacks

These attacks are probably the most common in wild areas where there is a population of bears. Besides getting the knowledge regarding their paths from the locals or other sources, you can easily see if the area you go into is populated by bears. They usually leave traces of their presence with broken branches, feces, paws in the ground. These are not easy to miss as if they are surely a hint to what kind of animal is present there.

Even though bears do not attack people unless they feel threatened, you will find yourself in a tough spot if you face a bear and don’t back away slowly. He will have to fake an attack to scare you away and make you leave his territory. As soon as the bear will feel safe again, he will turn back and leave. The main thing you have to remember is that you must make your presence felt, stand up, lift your hands, yell, make a lot of noise and back away slow.

In case of bear attacks

If a bear has cubs there will be no backing down from the bear, as any form of strange presence is considered dangerous for her cubs. In this case, chances are that the bear will simply attack and chase you until you are far away from her area. For more tips on how to survive a bear attack, check out our article on this topic.

Don’t think you can outrun a bear, no matter the size. Climbing in the trees might seem like a good option, but unless you are chased by a huge grizzly (who can’t climb because of its size), climbing a tree is not a good idea since a brown bear will climb it faster than you.

Avoid moose attacks

Moose is not extremely dangerous, like lions for example but they still can present a threat, especially if you encounter an aggressive moose. In most cases, males are the ones who attack especially during the mating season, in the early fall.

Due to the fact that a grown-up male can weigh up to 1.500 pounds (700 kg), any attack can be dangerous so your best chance of not being in front of an angry one is to avoid their territory in the beginning of the fall.

Avoid moose attacks

In the case of an unfortunate event, however, you will have to pay attention to the behavior of a moose. Pay attention to the ears and the hair on the neck. If he moves them and shows you teeth, RUN. The best thing you can do is to hide behind a tree, wait a few minutes and then run away.

Your only chance of escaping on a flat terrain is to hope that a moose will give up from chasing you. Luckily, most of their attacks end after a short period of time.

Avoid leopard attacks

Leopards are fast and they are predators. They usually hunt at night and knowing this is the first rule you have to respect when going in an area populated by leopards: don’t be in an open area at night! If you do spot a leopard close to you, check the area to see if there are also cubs.

This makes the leopard mom a lot more aggressive. If you come upon a leopard, just slowly back away. Most leopards don’t attack humans, simply because they don’t see us as a threat.

Avoid leopard attacks

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However, if a leopard is wounded or he feels like you may hurt him, he will definitely approach the offensive defensive method. As a predator who calculates the waste of energy on every attack, a leopard will not take action if you don’t pose a threat on purpose. The best way to avoid him is by making sure he knows you are something he can avoid (in terms of energy waste).

Avoid lion attacks

Lions are big, scary and dangerous. In fact, they are dangerous to some of the biggest animals in nature, so they are definitely more than just terrifying to us, humans. The king of the jungle didn’t receive his name just because of the beautiful mane, but because of their strong jaws, speed, and superior hunting skills.

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People who experienced lion attacks claim that this is the scariest thing you can ever live and it is definitely something you will have to avoid.

The best way to avoid lion attacks is to never go in areas populated by lions. As in never ever, period. In the case of a safari tour, you better stay close to the road and listen to the tour guide. No matter how adventurous you are, you will not survive a lion attack. With that being said, what you need to know in case of an attack

Avoid lion attacks

A lion will often attack during the mating season or when a female lion has cubs. In those cases, they are even more aggressive, if this is possible. Never approach them in no case, especially in these ones. In addition, lion attacks vary and they depend on the area where they live. If you see a lion comes towards you, don’t run.

See also: Cougar Hunting Tips: A Practical Guide to Hunting Mountain Lions

Maybe it sounds contradictory, but if you run a lion will chase you and he can run 30 miles per hour, so you cannot escape. The only thing you can do is to yell and try to scare him. Luckily, most lions won’t actually attack you, they will just want to scare you, and so you have some chances.

Avoid crocodile attacks

Crocodiles are big and they are prepared to kill much bigger animals and they are stronger than most of them, so attacking humans isn’t something huge for them. Still, these attacks do happen and you should try to avoid them as soon as possible. They normally attack anything that will come into the water or close to it.

Swimming and making waves attract them, so these are things you don’t want to do. The best way to protect yourself is to avoid any possible encounter. Throw a few rocks in the water, just to make sure there are no crocodiles. Do read on our article guide on crocodile and alligators to learn more.

Avoid crocodile attacks

Pay close attention because they won’t come out of the water completely, and they will stay hidden. If you swim, and you notice a crocodile, make sure you don’t make sudden moves, simply due to the fact this will attract them even more. Always swim in a straight line, underwater and you should reach a shore.

Avoid hippo attacks

Hippos are interesting animals and they eat grass, so they should not be dangerous. Right? Wrong! These animals are responsible for a high number of attacks in the world each year. Because of their size, if a hippo attacks you, your chances of surviving that attack go towards zero in no time, especially since hippos can kill a crocodile with just one bite.

Avoid hippo attacks

Luckily, there are some things you can do in order to avoid attacks. Always reveal your position, especially if you are in a boat and tap on it in order to allow to hippos to see you. Then, give them a lot of space. Don’t panic and don’t look like a threat. If you see a hippo on the ground, give him a lot of space. Just in case, if he starts to chase you, use trees and anything you can in order to cover yourself.

Avoid wolf attacks

These attacks are so rare that there are no records about them. However, in the United States, the first attack of this type occurred in 2006, so it is a wise decision to know something about how to protect yourself from the wolves in nature. Normally, wolves don’t attack humans because we are not their main meal and we are not a threat to them.

However, due to extreme hunger or rabies, for example, they may decide to attack you. The first sign you will notice are the teeth. They are white, big, and they are the first sign that a wolf is aggressive.

Avoid wolf attacks

Don’t try to run, since a wolf is much faster than any person, there is no point. It is recommended to stay on foot and use a soft voice. Climbing a tree is definitely the best thing you can do. On wolves, the muzzle is very sensitive to pain, so this is a place where you should hit him if comes to that.

Avoid shark attacks

Yes, we will help you avoid shark attacks as well, so we are not only focused on ground animals. These attacks are rare and they are extremely dangerous. You will have to try to avoid it more than trying to escape if a shark attacks you. Some sharks are dangerous creatures, the most threatening ones being the great white, bull and tiger shark.

You will definitely want to avoid an encounter with any of them. In those cases, here is what you will have to do.

Avoid shark attacks

Never carry a bright jewelry simply because it will attract sharks. If you bleed or you are injured, never go in the water, because blood is a trigger for these animals and they will definitely attack you. They are mostly active in the darkness, so don’t spend time in the water during these hours.

Avoid snake attacks

Snake attacks do happen and they are less scary that attacks by other animals here, but they can be deadly. A good thing is the fact these attacks last very short and snakes will try to scare you, so you will leave them alone. On the other side, if you see a snake and it sees you, the attack may occur.

If you try to hit her with something, you will provoke it, which means that a snake will attack you! In most cases, a snake will lift her head and look directly at you.

Avoid snake attacks

In this case, all you have to do is to slowly start to go backward. A snake will realize that you are not a threat, so it won’t attack you. If it’s a venomous snake, the situation is more severe, but you should do the same. Always try to leave it alone, as soon as possible and don’t do anything that may provoke it.

General Tips for Avoiding Different Animal Attacks

You got an idea how to protect yourself and avoid an attack from a specific animal, but what with other animals? After all, there are a lot of them and each one may be dangerous.

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As the result, here you will be able to find some general tips that are useful in preventing attacks from most animals.

Avoid mother with cubs

A combination of a few of them is a wise choice, so pay close attention.

  1. Never approach an animal with cubs! Maybe this sounds like a well-known thing and it is, but every single animal will attack you in order to protect her cubs. The situation is even more severe when it comes to larger and more dangerous animals.
  2. Be calm when some animal tries to approach you. Animals are scary, but they feel fear as well. If an animal try to approach you and you start yelling, you will scare it. The basic instinct of an animal is to attack if he feels frightened. Always smile, and use a calm voice. By doing this, you will show her that you are not a threat.
  3. If you like hiking make a lot of noise. If you like spending time in nature, especially where bears live, make a lot of noise. By doing this, you will reveal your position and bears will hear you far long before you see them. A good thing is that most of them will go away and try to avoid contact with you.
  4. Go camping? Pay attention to the animals live there. If you prefer camping and you like camping in different locations, make sure you get an idea which animals live there. If there are some dangerous animals, bring a weapon or find a safe place for camping. Always use fire, due to the fact some animals don’t like it, so they will try to escape from it.
  5. Don’t try to run. Our basic instinct suggests that we should run away from any type of danger. Although this may be useful against other humans, there is no point of trying to run away from an animal. Almost all animals are faster than humans, so you won’t be able to escape. This also means that you are more vulnerable, so an animal will probably attack you.
  6. Lift a child. If you have a child traveling with you, lift him when you see an animal. It will make you look bigger and scarier, and you will also protect your child.
  7. Travel in groups. No matter where you are, traveling in groups is the best and the safest way to avoid animal attacks. It is also the best way to see different types of danger.

Check out our piece on predator hunting tips to give you more information.


Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.


  • When animals attack! I have seen videos of humans being attacked by animals, and every time the person is doing something stupid and ends up getting attacked. I think the tips in the above article are pretty helpful, but what about the stealthier animals?

    • Thanks for the comment, Jason. Stealthier animals are often small and less-threatening (except snakes) and the tip remains the same not to panic. I know it is easier said than done, but this works most of the time.

  • It’s strange, I always thought that I should never yell near the bear!
    First keep calm. Second REMAIN CALM. In any case, it is impossible to escape. If you run away, then he will definitely try to catch up! The myth that the bear can escape by swimming is not true. Look at the bear, let him know that you see him, he sees you. Slowly, making no sudden movements, remove the backpack and put in front of him. Usually, the bear will look at you, can stand on his legs and try to escape, they try not to touch humans. Read Jack London’s “Love of life”, he describes a meeting with a bear.

    • That is actually the problem with some backpackers. They keep calm but they can’t keep it long enough because panic ensues and they eventually run and get caught.