Tag Archives: animals

  • 7 Signs You're Going to be Attacked by a Moose

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    While it’s true that moose typically aren’t aggressive towards people, if provoked, they can be deadly. Unlike deer (the moose’s close cousin), moose aren’t usually afraid of humans, so they won’t run away just because you’re there. Their lack of fear makes it more tempting to approach them—to pet them, feed them, play with them, etc.

    But like most other animals, moose will defend their young and their territory if they feel threatened. And even though they look slow and bored, they can run up to 30 mph, so you’re not likely to outrun a moose. If a moose attacks, they can use their hoofs and full body weight (they weigh up to 1200 pounds!) to knock you to the ground and trample you.

    Here are our tips for avoiding a moose attack while you enjoy the great outdoors.

    Signs of an Attack 

    How do you know when it’s time to back off from a moose?

    It’s important to understand that moose can get aggressive at any time of year, but there are certain seasons when they’re more likely to be aggressive. For instance, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife suggests that moose typically become aggressive during the following seasons:

    • In late spring, early summer when a cow (a mother) feels her very young calf is in danger
    • In the fall when a breeding bull (a male) is competitive and agitated
    • In the winter when they are hungry and tired from walking in deep snow

    You can also tell if a moose will become aggressive by its body language. Here are 7 signs to look for:

    1. The moose stops eating and stares at you.

    2. Lays back its ears and raises the hair on its hump, neck, or hips.

    3. Smacks or licks its lips, and clicks its teeth.

    4. Lowers its head and walks toward you.

    5. Urinates.

    6. Shows the whites of its eyes.

    7. Whips its head back like a horse.

    These are all signs that a moose may attack. But sometimes it may not even show these signs at all—they may just charge without warning!

    Practice Moose Safety

    Moose live in forested areas and around lakes, ponds, or streams in the Northern Hemisphere of the US. Their habitats are essentially ideal vacation spots for those who love the outdoors. So if you’re out on the trail in this area of the country, you’ll need to practice your “moose safety.”

    The best way to avoid a moose attack is not to put yourself in a situation where a moose may become aggressive. In order to avoid such situations, check out these tips:

    • Watch moose from a safe distance—give them their space. If you come across one on a trail, consider changing directions or backing off. Moose are somewhat nervous creatures. If they’re approached too much or too closely by people, they can become stressed and may become aggressive.
    • According to Kristine Rines, wildlife biologist with New Hampshire Fish and Game and New Hampshire’s state Moose Program Director, warns that if you’re causing the moose to change its behavior, you’re too close. She says "You should be far enough away to get behind the nearest tree before a galloping horse could get there.”
    • Don’t feed a moose. When fed, moose can get aggressive if they don’t get as much food as they expect. They may even attack those who aren’t feeding it. In some states, like Alaska, it’s a crime to feed wild animals because when their aggression becomes unsafe to the public, the animal is put down (and we don’t want that).
    • Don’t walk between a cow moose (mother) and her calf. If you do happen to walk between them, back away immediately.
    • More people die from moose vehicle collisions than from actual attacks. If a moose crosses your path while you’re driving, let it cross. If you try to move the moose, it may attack your car. Drive slower at night in moose inhabited areas so you don’t hit one (a crash could be fatal to you both).
    • Keep your dog close or on a leash. Moose often confuse dogs for wolves, a natural predator.
    • If you come across a moose, show respect. Don’t make loud noises, chase, or harass the moose.

    What to do if you’re attacked

    If you recognize the signs of "moose aggression" (or it just starts charging at you), there are some things you can do to keep yourself safe.

    • Back off and run. Make sure you get behind the nearest tree, fence, or building that acts as a strong barrier between you and the moose.
    • Curl up in a ball. If a moose knocks you to the ground, curl up into a ball. It may continue running, start stomping, or kicking you. Curling up will protect your head and vital organs.
    • Don’t get up until the moose moves a good distance away. If you try to get up while it’s close, it could attack again.

    The best way to avoid a moose attack is by learning and taking preventative measures before you go into the outdoors. Add this to your survival tool belt. And while you’re at it, learn about how to survive these animal attacks as well:

     

    Sources

    Alaska Department of Fish and Game http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=livewith.aggressivemoose

    Glacier National Park Travel Guide http://www.glacier-national-park-travel-guide.com/moose-attack.html

    Appalachian Mountain Club http://www.outdoors.org/publications/outdoors/2010/learnhow/responding-to-moose-encounters.cfm

    Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/moose.html

    Moose Safety University of Alaska at Anchorage http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/upd/prevention/moosesafety.cfm

    Posted In: Insight, Skills, Uncategorized Tagged With: survival skills, animals

  • What to do if you get Caught by a Gator or Croc

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    What to do if you get caught by a gator or croc

    Photo Courtesy of San Diego Zoo

    Two of nature’s most skillful predators are the alligator and crocodile. Why? Crocodiles and alligators will eat just about anything if given the chance, and they have all the predatory characteristics needed to make it happen. These intelligent, cold-blooded creatures wait underwater for prey to get close enough before they lurch into a surprise attack.

    Although they are both dangerous, crocodiles and alligators are not the same. They differ in appearance, habitat, and aggressiveness, which is important to understand if you’re ever attacked by or encounter one in the wild.

    What You Need to Know About Crocodiles and Alligators

    According to the San Diego Zoo, there are about 23 species of crocodilians (the scientific order to which alligators and crocodiles belong) each with distinct characteristics. As crocodilians, alligators and crocodiles have a variety of similar and different characteristics.

    Crocodile Updated  Alligator Updated

    Photos Courtesy of Diffen.com

    CrocodilesVsAlligators

    What to Watch Out For

    Crocodiles and alligators are extremely similar when it comes to their senses. All crocodilians have an amazing sense of smell, sight, and hearing, making them excellent predators. According to the San Diego Zoo, they even have special sense organs (Dermal Pressure Receptors) embedded throughout their skin. These sensors act as motion detectors to help crocs find prey in muddy water, where crocs happen to be most comfortable.

    Since they are most comfortable near the water, make sure to take extra caution if you plan to travel near saltwater or freshwater habitats in warm climate zones. Often, crocodilians camouflage themselves in the water, holding their breath for over an hour, and appearing to be nothing more than floating logs. It’s important to stay alert in these areas because it’s easier to avoid a croc altogether than to escape one.

    If you see a croc, whether lounging in the sun on land or floating just beneath the surface of the water, get away. Crocodilians can typically swim up to 20 mph, making it extremely dangerous for you to be in the water with them. The San Diego Zoo even states they “[move] with ease by using their powerful, oar-like tails and strongly webbed hind feet.”  On land, crocs are a bit slower than in the water, but can still run for short distances up to 11 mph.

    When a croc does catch its prey, it will swallow it whole, unlike other carnivores who chew their food. If the prey is too large to swallow whole, the croc will tear off large pieces to eat. Once they have their prey in their jaws, they toss the food around to position it so it can easily slide down their throats when they tip their heads back.

    If a croc latches onto you for a meal, it’s pretty difficult to get away. Depending on the species, crocodilian bites can generate up to 5,000 pounds of pressure per square inch (a humans bite is only about 100 pounds). All of this pressure is what allows a croc to easily bite through clothes, bones, and just about anything else.

    How to Prevent an Attack

    The best way to stay safe in crocodilian territory, which spreads across the southeastern United States and to the coastal areas of south Florida, is to avoid it altogether. However, if you do find yourself near infested waters, follow these tips from PBS.org to keep yourself safe and to prevent an attack.

    What to do if you get caught by a gator or croc

    Photo Courtesy of PBS.org

    Alligators and Crocodiles:

    • Never, ever feed a crocodilian. Feeding an alligator or crocodile helps them lose their fear of people.
    • Stay alert, especially at key feeding times near dawn and dusk.
    • Don’t swim or wade in crocodilian infested water, if possible. If you have to, be sure to scan the water carefully for lurking predators that may look like floating logs.
    • Don’t clean fish or feed ducks in croc habitats.
    • Keep small children and pets away from the water’s edge. Alligators and crocodiles typically eat small prey, and nearly half of all known human fatalities were of children under the age of 12.
    • When boating, don’t dangle arms or legs in the water.
    • Stay at least 35 feet away from a gator or croc lounging on land. Although they rarely attack on land, they can move quickly—and you don’t want to stick around to see if they can actually catch you.
    • Don’t disturb babies or nests (which look like big mounds). Mother crocs guard their nests closely.

    How to Survive an Attack

    Despite making an effort to stay safe, if you travel near a crocodilian habitat, there is always a risk that you may get attacked. So what do you do if you find your arm or leg wedged between the sharp, crushing jaws of an alligator or crocodile?

    As large as adult humans are, crocodilians (especially adults) are larger. A croc will most likely try to drag an adult human into the water to tear off pieces of flesh to swallow. The most common way a croc does this is by performing the “death roll” while clamped on to an appendage.

    With its jaw securely locked around a piece of its prey, a croc will use a burst of energy to roll until the limb it holds is ripped off. The death roll is a very dangerous maneuver and can lead to serious injury, limb loss, and death.

    If a crocodilian latches onto you, the first thing you need to do is fight back aggressively before it can begin a death roll.

    Unfortunately, a croc’s jaw has so much power that once it’s locked, no amount of struggling will get it back open. Trying to pry a croc's mouth open with your hands won’t work. Their armor-like skin is near impenetrable—no amount of kicking, punching, or other fighting can pierce it—and their heads are solid masses of bone. According to Chris Packham, wildlife presenter and crocodile fan, “there are no weak points” across their bodies

     

    So what do you do?

    1. Gouge the Eyes! According to a variety of experts, the only way you can fight back is by gouging a croc’s eye. Bob Cooper, an Australian bush craft expert and survival skills instructor, agreed that “poking the eyes is the only possible way you can fight back – [crocs] have thousands of years of instinct telling them this is the only vulnerable part of their body and they need to let go.”

    2. Note: If a good eye-gouging isn’t possible, you can try attacking a croc’s nostrils, ears, or palatal valve.

    3. Attack the Palatal Valve. The palatal valve is a flap of skin that closes over a crocs throat, allowing them to submerge underwater without drowning—even when their mouths are open. If a croc is pulling you into the water with an appendage already in its mouth, you may be able to push the valve down, letting water flow into the crocs throat. You can try drowning the croc this way or repeatedly striking the valve to get the croc to let go (and then you run!).

    If your efforts haven’t worked and a croc begins a death roll, you should:

    1. Roll with the Croc. If you see a croc prepping to do the death roll, roll with it in the same direction to avoid causing extensive damage or limb loss. Death rolls use up a lot of energy, so a croc will need to rest before trying again. Once the death roll has been performed, use the time immediately after to fight the croc once more, going for the eyes, ears, nostrils, or palatal valve.

    Really, though, “the only way you can guarantee survival is [to] not get attacked in the first place,” said Packham. After all, no amount of fighting tactics can promise you complete safety if you’re attacked. There is always a risk in crocodilian country.

     

    Have you ever been attacked by a croc or other wildlife? Share your experience with us in the comments.

     

    Check out these articles to learn how to avoid (and survive) other types of wildlife attacks:

     

    --Kim

     

    Sources:

    http://www.wikihow.com/Survive-an-Encounter-with-a-Crocodile-or-Alligator

    http://www.wikihow.com/Escape-a-Crocodile-Death-Roll

    http://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/crocodilian

    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/critters/alligator.html

    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/the-reptiles-alligators-and-crocodiles/living-with-alligators/2817/

    http://www.diffen.com/difference/Alligator_vs_Crocodile

    http://www.livescience.com/32144-whats-the-difference-between-alligators-and-crocodiles.html

    http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/mythbusters-database/zigzag-crocodile-run.htm

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/feb/14/surviving-crocodile-attack

    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-12448009

    http://www.nps.gov/ever/naturescience/crocodile.htm

     

    Posted In: Insight, Skills, Uncategorized Tagged With: survival skills, animals

  • How to Identify Venomous Snakes in the Wild or at Home

    |29 COMMENT(S)

    Which is venomous and which is harmless?

    A crucial part of preparing for any emergency is developing your prepper skills. This includes expanding your knowledge of the wild. North America is home to thousands of snakes that hide under bushes near your campsite, sit at the edge of hiking trails, and may even saunter through your own backyard. So could you separate the harmless snakes from the dangerous ones? There are four snakes in the U.S. which are deadly venemous. It’s important to understand how to distinguish venomous snakes from harmless ones—a simple skill that could save your life or the life of a loved one. Don’t let a happy day on the trail turn into a tragic emergency by encountering one of four venomous snakes and not understanding their danger.

    Identifying:

    Being able to identify venomous snakes is a great skill to develop. The following infographic from Snake-Removal.com shows what features to watch out for:

    How to Identify Poisonous Snakes

    You know it’s venomous if…

    • It has elliptical pupils. A venomous snake will have elliptical, slit-like eyes, resembling a cat, rather than having round pupils.
    • It rattles its tail. If you hear a snake rattling its tail, get yourself away. Rattling is an immediate sign that you may be in danger of crossing paths with a rattlesnake. Often, harmless snakes will make a rattling sound by dragging their tail through dry leaves, but it’s not worth getting a closer look to see if the snake is dangerous or not.
    • It has a broad, triangular head. Venomous snakes typically have broad, triangular heads. This may sound odd because most snake heads look similar, but the difference in shape is seen near the snake’s jaw. A venomous snake will have a bulbous head with a skinny neck because of the position of the snake’s venom sacks underneath its jaw. Harmless snakes have a more gradual sloping jaw because they don’t have venom sacks.
    • It has a heat sensing pit. This is a feature that you may not be able to see very well from a distance. The heat sensing pit sits between the eye and nose of venomous snakes. Getting too close to a snake to look for this pit is not a good idea. This sensor is mostly seen on vipers.
    • It has a colorful pattern: Generally, most solid colored snakes are harmless. The more colorful and patterned a snake, the more careful around it you should be. Although there are always exceptions to these rules such as the Black Mamba that lives in southern and eastern Africa.
    • It behaves a certain way: Snakes act differently from one another. For example, Cottonmouths (or Water Moccasins) and harmless water snakes act differently from one another when they swim. A harmless water snake will swim through the water with just its head poking above the surface. A venomous snake, however, will let its entire buoyant body float along the water. Studying up on different snake behaviors can help you identify a harmless and a harmful snake from a distance.

    If you do stumble upon a snake, try to determine whether or not it’s venomous from a distance. Don’t try to get close enough to see their eyes, head shape, or heat-sensing pits—just avoid them. Just like with every rule, there are always rule-breakers—and the coral snake breaks all of the rules except for being brightly-colored and patterned.  See below for more information about the four venomous snakes that inhabit the United States.

    Snake Types

    Rattlesnake:

    How to Identify Poisonous Snakes

    Photo Courtesy of ModernSurvivalBlog.com

    The Rattlesnake is the most widely recognized venomous snake in the country. You can easily identify a rattlesnake by the rattling sound it makes as it shakes the rings at the end of its tail. Rattlesnakes can strike out to 2/3 their body length to reach their prey and deliver a venomous bite. A rattlesnake’s hemotoxic venom (which causes blood poisoning) travels through the bloodstream, destroying tissue and degenerating organs while causing swelling, blood clots, internal bleeding, and intense pain. Typically, Rattlesnakes will only bite if they feel threatened. If a rattlesnake bite is treated immediately and the venom is removed, you are more likely to survive the attack.  

    Editor's Note: There is a mini, "horned" relative of the rattlesnake that is important to watch out for, too--the North American sidewinder. Typically living in the deserts of North America, these snakes aren't lethal to humans (due to their small size), but are definitely still venomous. They hide in animal burrows or bury themselves in the sand and primarily come out to hunt at night. You can recognize a sidewinder by the "horns" that sit above it's eyes. These "horns" are actually thought to be an adaptation to protect the snakes eyes from the desert sands. If bitten by a sidewinder, seek medical attention immediately. For more information about sidewinders, visit Desert Animals.

    Copperhead:

    How to Identify Poisonous Snakes

    Photo Courtesy of ModernSurvivalBlog.com

      The Copperhead is one of the most common venomous snakes in the eastern United States. These snakes are a type of pit viper (fast, quick-tempered, and usually nocturnal) whose bites cause severe pain which can last anywhere from 2-4 weeks. Although a pit viper, the Copperhead is the least toxic and rarely fatal. Copperheads are generally nocturnal creatures, but are excellent at camouflage during the day. If a Copperhead is caught off guard, instead of fleeing (as most snakes do) it will freeze in place. So keep an eye out so you don’t accidentally step on one. Copperheads can produce enough venom to kill a human if they see one as prey; but usually they’ll just give a warning bite if they feel threatened and inject little venom.   Cottonmouth:

    How to Identify Poisonous Snakes

    Photo Courtesy of ModernSurvivalBlog.com

      The Cottonmouth (also known as a Water Moccasin) is a more dangerous version of the Copperhead. Unlike the Copperhead, who freezes to camouflage itself when caught off guard, the Cottonmouth will stand its ground—and its bite is more serious than the Copperhead’s. Cottonmouths produce a cytotoxic poison, which prohibits the blood from clotting while it destroys tissue and leads to hemorrhaging. A Cottonmouth’s bite can easily be fatal.   Coral Snake:

    How to Identify Poisonous Snakes

    Photo Courtesy of ModernSurvivalBlog.com

    The coral snake breaks all the rules—with a unique appearance from the other venomous snakes commonly found in the US. Unlike average venomous snakes, coral snakes don’t have triangular heads, heat sensors, or elliptical pupils, but its color gives it away: Black and red stripes separated by yellow lines. There are other “copycat” snakes that look similar to a coral snake with these same three colors. To help you remember, try learning this mneumonic device: “Red on yellow, killer fellow; red on black, safe from attack.” This snake is the most toxic species found in the U.S. The coral snake has powerful neurotoxin venom meaning it can shut down your nervous system, make your heart stop beating, and ultimately lead to your death. Coral snakes are typically isolated creatures that inhabit unpopulated areas. Only biting as a last resort, these snakes will first and foremost attempt to flee. Their fangs, although deadly, are short and have a difficult time penetrating through thicker materials such as leather. Any penetration to the skin, however, needs immediate medical attention.

    Treatment

    If you are attacked by a venomous snake, seek medical attention immediately. Some snake bites, such as the Coral snake, require large doses of antivenom to prevent death. Without medical attention, the venom will paralyze the victim’s respiratory muscles and breating failure can happen in a matter of hours. If a snake does bite you, the Mayo Clinic recommends the following tips:

    • Remain calm.
    • Immobilize the bitten arm or leg, and stay as still as possible to keep the poison from spreading through your body.
    • Remove jewelry before you start to swell.
    • Position yourself, if possible, so that the bite is at or below the level of your heart.
    • Cleanse the wound, but don’t flush it with water, and cover it with a clean, dry dressing.
    • Apply a splint to reduce movement of the affected area, but keep it loose enough so as not to restrict blood flow.
    • Don’t use a tourniquet or apply ice.
    • Don’t cut the wound or attempt to remove the venom
    • Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol.
    • Don’t try to capture the snake, but try to remember its color and shape so you can describe it, which will help in your treatment.
    • Call 911 or seek immediate medical attention (especially if the area changes color, begins to swell, or is painful).

    Have you ever been bitten by a venomous snake? What did you do? Check out these Insight Articles to learn other great skills:

    To learn more about the different types of venomous snakes, check out these sources:   http://scribol.com/environment/12-most-poisonous-snakes-on-earth/ *http://listverse.com/2011/03/30/top-10-most-venomous-snakes/ http://www.wikihow.com/Identify-a-Venomous-Snake *http://www.snake-removal.com/venomous.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coral_snake http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rattlesnake http://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-snake-bites/basics/art-20056681 *http://modernsurvivalblog.com/survival-skills/the-4-deadly-poisonous-snakes-in-america/ http://www.snake-removal.com/copperhead.html *http://www.desertanimals.net/desertanimals/sidewinderrattlesnake.html *http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/543064/sidewinder

     

    --Kim

    Posted In: Insight, Skills, Uncategorized Tagged With: poisonous, venomous, snakes, survival skills, animals

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