How to Survive an Animal Attack: 30+ Tips

Learning how to survive an animal attack is important, in spite of all the preventive measures you took to keep animals out of your campsite. Let’s say an animal still manages to wander into your path or onto your trail. You don’t need to panic; they will likely run away at the first sight of you. But in the rare event that a bear, mountain lion, wolf, hornet, snake, bee, or other animal approaches you, here’s how to survive an animal attack

Note: These are safe methods for the most common types of animals you will see. Please refer to your local park’s website to find specific animals you might encounter and how to prepare yourselves against them.

For bears, mountain lions, and wolves: 

  • If it doesn’t see you, stay quiet and calm, and don’t make any sudden movements.
  • DO NOT RUN. It will see you as prey and attack.
  • Wave arms and try to make yourself look bigger.
  • Make plenty of noise to try to scare them off.
  • Keep children/small pets away from animals.
  • If a bear is moving towards you and seems to be readying to attack, use your bear spray.
  • Get some fire to ward them off (works best against bears). You will need to keep it maintained for some time for a pack of hungry wolves to leave you alone.
  • If it comes down to it, fight for your life!
When bears come to your campsite, they’re usually hungry. Photo by u/CatLover3288 on Reddit.

For bees, hornets, and the like:

  • Move away from them as soon as possible.
  • Don’t swat at the bees.
  • Do NOT kill them; they release a scent that attracts other bees to attack you.
  • Pull out any stingers immediately if being pursued; you don’t have time to take them out with a tweezer/credit card, and venom will keep flowing through your body.
  • Take shelter in a closed structure.
  • Use EpiPen or similar device in case of an allergic reaction to bee/hornet venom.
how to survive an animal attack
Sonoran rattlesnake by @franheartsroberts on Instagram.

For snakes:

  • Move slowly away from the snake.
  • Don’t poke or provoke it.
  • Keep hands and feet out of bushes and places without ample visage.
  • Use an EpiPen or a similar device in case of an allergic reaction to the snake venom.

For bison, moose, deer, or elk:

  • First of all, keep your distance: they only attack if threatened or disturbed
  • If you see a calf, especially with another animal, LEAVE IMMEDIATELY
  • Run from bison and moose, while making yourself bigger in front of deer/elk
  • Get into curled-up position if on the ground (only against moose or deer)
  • Climb up a tree to get away if you can
  • Run away if you are facing a moose or bison.
  • Watch for signs of preparation for attack: kicking up the ground, shaking up antlers, moving towards you

Useful Tools to Survive an Animal Attack:

  • Bear spray – to deter bears from attack or entering your campsite
  • Binoculars – so you can observe animals from a distance!
  • Weapons – should only be used as a last resort, to reduce impact to nature
  • Metal objects – used to bang together and make noise to deter animals
  • Fire-starting materials – fire scares away all types of animals, especially bears. However, this is better as a cautionary deterrent rather than an emergency procedure.

How to Survive an Animal Attack: Conclusion

Animal sightings are unlikely; it’s even rarer to have an altercation with one. They’re usually more afraid of us than we are of them. However, we hope that this concise guide can come in handy for the worst of situations regarding how to survive an animal attack, and what tools you will need to be prepared for one. Stay safe out there!

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