June 1st is national running day! Running is a perfect way to get in touch with nature and make the most of the summer months. However, some encounters with Mother Nature can take a turn for the worst. Here’s what to do when you encounter potentially danger animals on the run.
Don’t scream, stare or keep running. All of these actions entice an already excited dog. Walk or completely stop. It’s part of many dog’s instincts to heard or run along faster, bigger animals like horses or cattle. The faster you are, the more likely a dog will mistake you as a horse, deer or a bull on the loose. Remain calm, or pretend you by talking to the dog in a nonthreating, positive tone. Say “good boy,” or “you’re fine,” to show the dog that you are not trying to threaten it.
If you have ever been chases by a goose, you probably think that they are Satan in bird form. A nesting mother goose will hiss, bite, and attack if you push her buttons. Unlike a dog, you should stare down the angry bird and show them you are not afraid. Do not break eye contact and slowly back away. Although it might be tempting to hit or kick the goose, refrain from doing so because the rest of flock might swoop in for back up.
Skunks want just as much to do with you as you want to do with them. Therefore, you’ll only encounter them if you’re close to their home. Skunks are severely near sighted so if you cross one, you’ll most likely be able to run away before they unleash their spray on you. However, if you are in a situation where a quick getaway is not possible, you should try to scare the skunk away by talking in a low voice or stomping your feet. You’re not in danger till their tail goes up. If you do get sprayed, you can rid of the smell by mixing one quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, one teaspoon mild dishwashing detergent, and 1/4 cup baking soda.
It’s fun to make a pit stop on a run to pet a horse. Horses are normally friendly and gentle animals; however, they can be skittish and some have bad attitudes. A horse’s eyes are on the side of their heads so approach them from the side. Slowly greet a horse with some nickers or talk in a soothing voice to let it know you only want to be its friend. Pet the horse’s neck or head with your fingers together (splayed fingers look like carrots!). Don’t screech or make dramatic movements when around a horse; if you do, you might spook it. Stay away from the rear of a new equine friend. A horses’ kick is powerful enough to kill a human.
Nothing can be as un-nerving as coming across a snake. If this happens to you, do not corner the snake. Distance yourself from the snake and don’t block brush or bushes because this is where the snake will most likely dart towards. Many snakes are harmless and look intimidating. Remember, if red touches black, you’re safe jack. Red next to yellow, you’re a dead fellow.
Hopefully this never happens to you; however, if does you can be prepared. If the bear has not noticed your presence yet, take a quick and quiet detour away from the bear’s area. If the bear has spotted you, remain calm but make yourself known. Talk in a composed voice and wave your arms so the bear can identify you as a human. If the bear is showing signs of aggression, do not run away. No matter how fast you may be, bears are faster than humans. Scaling a tree is a better defense than running. You are lighter than a bear so you can probably climb to branches that it cannot reach. When there is no other option, prepare to fight and grab anything that can be used as a weapon. If the bear strikes you, play dead. Bears see humans as a threat, not a snack. Therefore, if you play dead it could become disinterested in you and you’ll be spared.