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Punch a shark, whistle away a bear: how to survive deadly encounters

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From crocodiles in ponds to wasps in service stations or vampires in your hammock, your best bet for dealing with predators is simple: respect them. Punching sharks in the face isn’t something to be attempted lightly, but in the jaws of death it can be the best means of remaining uneaten, as this weekend’s incident involving a shark attack on a British woman attests. Here are some tips to help you remain alive should you face any other predators. Being rather chunky animals with their heads held low, bears don’t always anticipate a Karrimor-covered ape lunging through the undergrowth towards them. To remedy this, make lots of noise while walking to ensure all local bears know you are coming. Many hikers whistle inane tunes to themselves not because they are dosed up on the joys of spring, but because they are very publicly fearing for their own lives. If you happen to be hiking in the Rockies of North America, be very careful never to stroll accidentally between a mother and her nearby cubs. This is very bad. If this happens to you, you’ll know things are escalating when you hear the tell-tale sound of trees snapping and boulders scattering as a mother bear makes a dash toward your throat. Stay calm, for it is in these vital few seconds that you must correctly identify which species of bear is running at you. If it is a grizzly bear, remember to play dead as it leaps upon your body. Hopefully it’ll soon get bored and all will be fine. However, if it’s a black bear that is upon you, writhing and slashing at your torso, you must definitely not play dead. You must fight back, else you may be eaten. Black bears and grizzlies often look alike – but don’t worry, like I said, you’ll have at least have three or four seconds to determine the species. Grizzly bears have bigger shoulders, I think. Or is that black bears? I can’t remember. You’ll be fine. If you find yourself in a position where you’re having to punch a crocodile in the face, it’s fair to say that you’ve ignored the key signs: 1) The snapping of jaws warning that you are too close to said crocodile with your cameraphone; 2) the intense hissing noise as it warns you to turn off the flash; and 3) the signs warning you that crocodiles are present and that you shouldn’t be showing off like Crocodile Dundee. True, in many parts of the world there aren’t signs. And sometimes crocodiles (particularly over two metres in length) will attack because they consider you food, not because you’re getting too close in a bid to get more likes on Instagram. If you happen to be near a water hole that large crocodiles are known to frequent, you can limit the potential for attack by staying away from the water. The water is not your place. Avoid late-night swims. Actually, avoid swimming at all. You are not a water animal. On a boat, keep arms and legs on board at all times. If you see a crocodile, keep your eyes on it. Stare it out, like starlings mobbing a hawk. If it knows you’re aware of it, the croc has lost its edge. It’ll soon be gone. For now, It’s nothing personal, you understand. Britain seems to have divided into two camps on wasps, which are of course capable of killing through allergy. Some choose to flail their arms around in a desperate attempt to deter the inquisitive creatures; others freeze like statues, as if wasps are somehow, like the Tyrannosaurus rex in Jurassic Park, incapable of seeing still objects. The truth is that wasps actually see pretty well, and so the ice-cream smeared on your child’s lips remains to them a high-calorie option that they want to know more about. The temptation is to kill them when they buzz around us at picnics, but try not to do this. When sensing the tiny chemical clouds that leak from dying wasps, nest-mates are known to respond with impressive vim and get more even angrier. The common wasp is one of the worlds most inquisitive and annoying wasps when compared with most wasp species, many of which do impressive service for humankind by pollinating flowers and removing pests. I once saw in a British service station a busload of hardy Australians running away from wasps, so they seem to be gaining quite the killer reputation.

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Posted by on Apr 27 2017. Filed under Wildlife. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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