Fight Or Flight? What To Do If You Come Across These Scary Utah Animals
If we take the mosquito, black widow and scorpion out of the mix, focusing just on animals instead of insects, the list of most dangerous animals in Utah is moose, rattlesnake, mountain lion and black bear, in that order.
So what do you do if you run into one of these critters in the wild? Is it fight or flight?
The answer depends on the animal. Here's a list of actions to take if faced with one of these deadly animals Utah's government website has some excellent resources on these matters:
- Always give the moose a lot of space and watch its behavior.
- Never try to approach or feed a moose.
- Keep dogs leashed and under control at all times. It is against Utah law to allow dogs to chase or harass protected hoofed wildlife, like moose.
- Stay calm and do not run away. Talk, make your presence known and slowly back away in the direction you came.
- If a moose charges you or chases you, hide behind something solid (like a tree) or try to get inside a vehicle or building.
- If a moose knocks you down, curl into a ball, protect your head and lie still until the moose retreats.
- Remain calm and do not panic. Stay at least 5 feet from the snake. Make sure to give it plenty of space.
- Do not try to kill the snake. Doing so is illegal and greatly increases the chance the snake will bite you.
- Do not throw anything at the snake, like rocks or sticks. Rattlesnakes may respond to this by moving toward the person doing the throwing, rather than away from them.
- Alert other people to the snake's location. Advise them to use caution and to respect the snake. Keep children and pets away from the area.
- Keep your dog on a leash when hiking or camping. Allowing your dog to roam around increases the chance the dog will find a snake and get bitten.
- If you hear a rattle, don't jump or panic. Try to locate where the sound is coming from before you react, so you don't step closer to the snake or on top of it.
- Never run from a cougar, since that could trigger the cougar's instincts to chase.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Pick up children and pets or keep them very close.
- Stand up tall.
- Do not crouch or squat.
- Make yourself look bigger by raising and waving your arms or jacket above your head.
- Talk firmly in a loud voice, back away slowly and leave the area.
- Fight back if you are attacked! Protect your head and neck.
- If you are aggressive enough, the cougar will probably flee.
- Stand your ground: Never back up, lie down or play dead. Stay calm and give the bear a chance to leave. Prepare to use your bear spray or another deterrent.
- Don't run away or climb a tree. Black bears are excellent climbers and can run up to 35 mph — you cannot outclimb or outrun them.
- Know bear behavior. If a bear stands up, grunts, moans or makes other sounds, it's not being aggressive. These are the ways a bear gets a better look or smell and expresses its interest.
- If a black bear attacks, always fight back. And never give up! People have successfully defended themselves with almost anything: rocks, sticks, backpacks, water bottles and even their hands and feet.
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