@Euniceandrich I lived in the woods and tried to clean out a birdhouse high on a tree. I was standing on a ladder when I opened it up and a flying squirrel leapt out at my head. It was a bad day for both of us.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake encountered far too close for comfort while cleaning up rural property in northern Georgia. No bite, but the rattle starting up two feet from me was scary enough! Fortunately, most of these guys give plenty of warning before actually striking.
@PooltoyWolf Ditto. Except I grew up around the Western variant in Montana.
I’m very glad they like to give that warning; I can recover from my startle response a lot quicker than I can from a snake bite…
Usually they’re willing to runslither away, too. But sometimes they want to stay put, which can be stressful if they’re at all close to the house.
@xobzoo Fortunately, there was a wooden pallet between me and the snake, but still…also, he was huge. One of those really fat ones. I’m no stranger to reptiles and have raised many snakes…but I’ll stick to the non-venomous species, thanks!
A juvenile Siberian tiger. At least I think if I remember right it was a Siberian tiger but it was a juvenile tiger. Many years ago like 45 or so my father-in-law decided the best Mother’s Day present he could get his wife was that this person that he knew that trained animals for the movies would bring over a special animal and he brought over juvenile tiger to go swimming in their pool. It was pretty awesome but I learned really quickly that you stay standing up you don’t squat down on their level to pet the kitty. No I didn’t get mauled but I got knocked on my ass
I guess a regular squirrel because it bit my finger when I was giving it a nut (I was a kid, I’d never feed a squirrel now!) And I didn’t go get a rabies shot but lived in a state of lowkey anxiety for a few weeks.
@Kyeh@pmarin That ungrateful little so-and-so! Luckily, squirrels very rarely get/transmit rabies, but just take the damn nut & go in peace, you furry jackass!
When i was a kid, we had a camper we stayed in during the summers, & our elderly neighbor at the site next door used to feed a couple of chipmunks by hand, it was adorable. He called one of them Wanda & the other Ralph (i think). Nobody else could get anywhere near them, but they were very polite little guests to him!
@pmarin@ircon96 I don’t think it meant to bite me - just didn’t realize where the nut ended and my finger began. (There’s a joke in there somewhere ) My mother puts peanuts out on her patio for the squirrels. I don’t get it - the squirrels around here have plenty to eat in the wild!
@ircon96@Kyeh@pmarin When my youngest sister was a kid it was safe to leave your bikes outside leaning against the house. My sister was feeding a squirrel and he’d wait for her by the back door. He’d be on the seat of the two wheeler where she’d give him food (both leaving it there and by hand). One day I had a friend from the Netherlands visiting (I had worked there) and he saw the squirrel on the bike seat. He exclaimed, “Wild animal!!!” and ran back inside to get his camera. The squirrel, of course, stayed put waiting for his snack. I had to explain to him no, not wild animal in the sense he was meaning. We had them all over in the USA. I then realized I really never saw any squirrels, chipmunks, etc, in the Netherlands when I lived there. He never met or smelled the skunk that would have it’s babies under our front porch year after year.
Probably my scariest have been unleashed-dogs-engage-my-dogs encounters (and the time my horrible monster slipped her harness to go harass someone’s dog). There have been a few giant wolf spiders, including one in my house, in the dark, that I almost stepped on barefoot.
And there was one time when, in a little pop up camper, the young kids woke up because things were shaking, and it was probably a bear! So Dad went out to check, came back, and told us a skunk had chased it away.
Much later, an older sibling explained why the camper was probably shaking. “Wait, there wasn’t a bear?!?”
Anything with a nest raising young. I had a robin attack me every time I walked by my garage (which was next to the entrance to the house) because it had a nest on top of a light fixture, apparently with eggs or hatchlings in it.
I had a pregnant raccoon move into my attic because I had some eave panels removed from doing to repair work (long before and never put back.) Raccoon had a way to climb up a stone wall and then paw the last 2 feet up into the attic, then go to the far opposite side of the house and set up her nursery there. In a spot I couldn’t really get to even if I wanted to. Talked to some friends that said “yeah, better just leave it. They’ll leave for good once the ‘kits’ are grown enough.” And they did, but it was many weeks later. The mother would go out at night and apparently hunt and then go back to take care of the kids. Overall wasn’t too bad, except it was right above my bedroom and I’d hear the sounds overnight, and then I guess once they were born you’d hear really cute almost meowing noises. I’m glad I let them be and let them get on with their lives. But I did close up that wood panel area afterwards….
@pmarin We had a robin do that to us too. She had her babies in a nest over our front door (we had a big front porch so it was well protected from the weather). We had Robins there year after year even though mom would remove the nest. If mom didn’t the robin would make a new one on top of the old one.
I’ve had a few encounters in remote corners of the world in my youth:
big snakes & little snakes (both venomous & not),
deadly spider crawled on my hand (Brazilian Wandering Spider, many consider to be most venomous spider on earth),
also very large but harmless tarantulas 12" across & would cover a big dinner plate, and somewhat startling to run across one 6 inches from my nose under a leaf in the jungle,
attack dogs taking nips out of me,
a massive crocodile tried to take a bite of me,
hunted by a Kodiak bear in a high forest,
and stalked by a jaguar in a central American jungle.
But weirdly the one that startled me most was when I was young, in a temperate rainforest, everything went dead silent, I stood there silently for what seemed like ages, I finally took a quiet step & the jungle came alive with uncountable numbers of GIANT 10" to 14" wingspan moths erupted all around me, hundreds of them beating their wings, accidentally flying into my body, face & head repeatedly in the crowding & confusion. Apparently they were perfectly camouflaged as they sat on the trunks of trees & I must have startled them or something. Must have been some kind of mating gathering or season or something because the numbers were mind-blowing. It even startled me more than the times I was shot & stabbed.
I had a fun time in my younger years, but now I’m old, worn-out & washed-up.
@mbimeh That reminds me of my terrifying encounter coming home last night with a giant moth at my front door. Granted, it was only a few inches across, but that’s about as big as they get around these parts. Still, it scared the bejesus out of me when it suddenly flew up from the threshold, straight for my head! I’m pretty sure i would have died in the situation you described. Lol
@ircon96 It felt like I was in a scary Hitchcock film, viewed from the first-person perspective. I’ve seen some pretty darn big bugs in the jungle but until then I hadn’t the slightest clue any of the species of moth could grow so large. At first I thought it was big bats, until the cloud of them around my head started to thin out a bit about I realized what they were.
@ircon96@Kyeh As I recall, (it was almost 50 years ago) the moths were a grey & brown mottled color. In the years following I tried a few times to look up giant moths & figure out what exactly they were but I was unable to find even a single species quite that large. I suppose it’s possible it was an uncatalogued species at the time, but more likely I just didn’t have access to the right sources back then. This was probably before the Internet was even a classified DARPA project and we didn’t have the same research resources we have today. It’s now been too long to remember the details well enough to be sure if I’m identifying it right. My memory is failing with age.
As for shot & stabbed, if you hang around the right places (or wrong places) enough, it’s likely to happen eventually. But hey, chicks dig scars, right?
On the Albany river near James Bay - Polar Bear paralleled us on the shore, also in NW Ontario moose in heat (they are huge and more dangerous than bears).
In the Okefenokee Swamp - a gator bit the end of my paddle off as he had sunk below the brown water surface, didn’t see him and apparently smacked him the face. Some other gaitor encounters include 2 college students so engrosed in taking photos of a gator that they broadsided it (March so colder water, they are cold blooded so slower). With adjudicated youth one 17 or so foot gaitor went under our canoe and you could hear and feel as each raised bump on their back banged against the underside of the canoe (there is a shallow keel there).
*Various copperhead, cotton mouth and coal snakes as we canoed across the state of FL
*Saint Mary’s river - 2 drunk humans coming by with guns planning to steal the group’s canoes (after dark). Fortunately we had so tangled the bow lines (to keep the adjudicated youth from stealing them to escape) they gave up after stealing some food (dumb asses had no knives on them to cut the lines).
*While technically not scary as I was so thrilled to see this and hoped the adjudicated youth wouldn’t wake up to scare it off - early one morning a panther fishing off the end of one of our canoes partly in the water.
Various poisonous snakes coiled near by some swaying back and forth or rattling their tails (mostly rattle snakes - some of which just coil and don’t rattle their tails - and copperheads), stepping over a log with a rattler under it.
*Mother grizzly bear and her two cubs at a stream we saw as we rounded the corner, also a pack of Wolverines came around our tent, both in British Columbia.
*Yosemite park black bear sniffing our tent in the middle of the night and bear spit got on my face as it sniffed, also one came into the camp site, others scared it, and while running away it jumped our guyline and climbed the tree next to our tent (with us in the tent).
*Skunk down the hole in the outhouse (straddling it) chewing on the wood (Northwest Ontario, base camp)
5th grade school camp I ran - Quackster the attack duck, in unprovoked attacks, trying to destroy your ankles as you’d walk.
And perhaps the sweetest animal encounters:
*backpacking with college students in Zaleski state forest we came back to the camp after watching a meteor shower to find a baby rabbit curled up sleeping on one of the student’s sleeping bags (camping using tarps)
In Scotland highlands coming across a baby deer curled up waiting for mama (we kept away so we wouldn’t scare it)
There are probably more encounters I have forgotten about as I did this for a living for 15+ years and had plenty of wildlife encounters (although the racket students make generally scared off most animals well in advance of us ever seeing them).
One year when I lived in Brooklyn, the rat population in my neighborhood was especially high, and whenever I took the garbage out, there was about a 75% chance that a rat would pop out when I got close. I am completely phobic about rats, so this was the stuff of nightmares. And these were NYC rats, so they were about the size of a puppy.
1.) We were out 4x4 & hiking in the plains of northwest Kansas & northeast Colorado when we came across an old abandoned farmstead, & we stopped to take a look. I stepped onto the porch & within the first second, the entire house came to life with rattles…LOUD from hundreds, if not thousands of rattlesnakes!! It took me all of about 1.8 seconds to figure out that was not a good place to be.
2.) Hiking in Colorado just west of Glenwood Springs. We were on a well marked trail, when all of a sudden I heard this snarl, followed by a blood curdling scream from a mountain lion. Fight or flight kicked in, and I chose flight!! What you hear in the movies or on TV doesn’t do it justice…I did not actually see the big cat, but I’ll never forget that sound.
Not a stray cat, but the cat that lived in the house behind my mom’s.
That cat was crazy. He’d attack for no reason. My mom would be at her kitchen sink and he’d sit on the table on the porch below the kitchen window and growl and hiss at her. Mean growl. He was around for a while, so it wasn’t a physical problem, but he was nuts.
@lisaviolet The kid of a friend of mine had a cat who’d do that too. My friend warned me her kid was the only one who it liked and the rest of us would be mauled. The kid kept the cat in her room because of that. I fed that thing when they’d go on vacation (and their other cats) and it was always a horror story adventure where I felt like wearing padding everywhere as between feeding and cat dirt box cleaning (I resorted to removing it from the room to clean and then bring it back) I’d get at least one scratch if not more.
I have had some sketchy encounters before, but none of them were as upsetting as the time I was stalked by what I think was a mountain lion.
I was at a friend’s cabin with my dad to goof around doing stupid boy scout and gun stuff for a long weekend. We lost power at night, and he has a bad leg and can’t walk far unassisted, so I threw on my night vision goggles and left my guns in the cabin to go check out the breaker box on the other end of the property.
I thought the only large animals up there were going to be deer and maybe boar, but I wasn’t so concerned about boar because I could see them from a ways off at night.
I got most of the way to the shed and I noticed that the woods had just gone completely silent. Normally all you have to do is sit tight for a second and they come right back, assuming you’re the reason they shut up. They didn’t.
Anyway, so I ended up playing peek-a-boo in the trees with something very quiet and presumably very dangerous in the woods for like five minutes, never less than about 10 yards behind me, while trying to make best speed to the shed. Couldn’t make out much except for a smooth color profile (not sure what color) and very large eyes. This was a very old set of night vision goggles after all, we’re talking late 80’s Soviet electronics, so clarity was not their strong suit.
I think it was a mountain lion, due to what I saw of the shape of the head, the height, and the stalking behavior. I’m not sure thought because it made no noise, I never saw the whole thing, and this was UP Michigan, which is like a thousand miles out of range for a cougar.
Luckly I haven’t really had one. The only one was we were walking to our apt between two buildings when this large dog came running toward us. It was night and we really couldn’t see if he was friendly. It ended up he was. His owner had him off leash a lot. He ended up being our friend.
The real program came when NYC went bankrupt or something like that and closed all the dog pound and just let them out. Those dogs became feral real fast. They hung out by the garbage bin next to the apt. That wasn’t good. A gang of dogs living outside your apt.
I don’t really have a scary encounter with an animal per se. The scariest thing that did happen was with a snake. I picked it up and took it into my parents house and my dad lost it. Went crazy telling me to “get that devil snake out of there.” It was just a baby garter snake. I seriously thought he was going to have a heart attack he got so upset.
I’ve had my share of run-in with various critters that scared/startled or just plain amazed me.
Rattlesnakes and copperheads in the yard at home
cottonmouth in the pool
gators in the bayou
sharks in the wild while diving and snorkeling
jellyfish including Portuguese Man-O-Wars
crazy dogs while walking/running
suspect raccoons out at strange times of the day (?rabid)
Bats that I capture and remove from the hospital I work at (evidently drawn by the noise the CT machine makes…)
numerous OMG moments when surprised by birds, squirrels, chipmunks, benign snakes, big-ass spiders and other creepy crawly things.
One of my favorite encounters was with this guy found in my side yard a few years back:
The hickory horned devil turns into the Regal moth…
Very few of my encounters with wild animals have involved any actual interaction, and those all ended well. Sometimes rather surprisingly so. Allegedly domestic animals, on the other hand, have accounted for all of the animal wounds I’ve accumulated.