Module One: Safety
What to do if you encounter a dangerous creature
(And I mean the non-human kindJ!)
In most cases freeze, and breathe in slowly and quietly.
Then move away steadily – in the opposite direction. Don’t run, or draw attention to yourself by shouting or waving your arms: the animal’s instinct is to chase: Most creatures, insects or snakes will not harm you if they sense no danger to themselves. Shrieking, jumping around or running will alert the animal into protecting itself – probably by attacking you.
If you encounter a wild animal, look it in the eye and try to make your self seem bigger – open your coat, stand up on tiptoe. If you can, hide behind a tree, out of the wind (so your scent doesn’t carry).
To avoid encounters:
- Keep your distance.
- Don’t camp near rivers or ponds.
- Don’t approach wildlife.
- Talk while you walk.
- There’s no need to stamp your feet heavily but don’t tread lightly – snakes can feel the earth vibrate and will move away from you.
- Keep your hands to yourself – don’t poke around in hollow logs, leaf piles and so on.
- Shake all bedding, sleeping bags and rugs before and after use.
- Wear a wetsuit to minimise the effects of jelly fish stings
- Stay still – don’t disturb the water by splashing or flapping about
- Never go into water where signs warn of danger (you’d be amazed at how many people do).
- Stay within safety nets.
- If a beach is deserted there’s usually a reason why – look for notices before entering the water
Finally, remember the most dangerous creature on the planet is the mosquito – killing more than any other creature on the planet, followed by the fly. Wear repellent!
By contrast, in Australia -which has the highest percentage of dangerous creatures of any country- there is only one death per year caused by a shark, and only two per year from snake bites
Dangerous creatures, either from their poison, their sting or their bites:
Bears, sharks, jellyfish, snakes, spiders, elephants, buffaloes, scorpions, crocodiles, hippos, big cats, pufferfish (only if eaten), stingrays, frogs, flies…and mosquitoes
Self test questions:
- What is the most dangerous creature on the planet?
- What’s usually the best thing to do if you encounter a dangerous creature?