My infamous oeuvre ‘How not to be killed by a polar bear’ was the very first post of my ‘How to…’ themed series, and my urban warrior collective may be feeling starved of lifesaving advice. So here’s some more.
If you’re faced with a dangerous animal, your choices may be limited to staying put, or deciding the better part of valour is to get the hell out of Dodge. You want to get it right, don’t you?
Easy one first. Venomous snakes. Freeze or leg it? You’ll need to hold your nerve here, because your best bet is to keep still. Snakes sense movement, and if you don’t move it will forget you’re there. That’s handy to know isn’t it?
Wolves. Not many in Reading, but you never really know, do you? I’m afraid to have to tell you this, but the bad news is stay still. Wolves hunt on the run, so if you make a run for it you’ll be carrying a big neon sign that says, ‘Prey.’ Don’t run, but don’t try and stare them down. Apparently it helps if you make yourself look big and scary, so wave your arms about a bit, and shout assuming your voice hasn’t suddenly acquired the ability only to articulate high-pitched squeaks of terror.
Sharks. You can’t run, but you may have a chance if you swim for it. Don’t try to punch one in the eye or gills. This will just make it cross, and you’re in quite enough trouble as it is.
Killer bees. You really are in deep doodoo here. Take to your heels, and run like the devil himself is after you. Don’t bother with the ‘dive into water’ trick. The bees will just wait for you to surface again. Strange but true.
Monkeys. An odd one this, and something I wish I’d known in India when a troop of monkeys felt I was on their home turf and started lobbing things at me. What you have to do is open your mouth really wide. This is supposed to freak the simians out. If you try it, do let me know how you got on.
Cattle. More common than you might think. Between 2000 and 2015, 74 people in the UK were stiffed by bovines, and lots more got a good kicking. The main danger isn’t bulls, as you may be tempted to think, but cows with new calves. Just leg it.
I do hope this guidance is useful. I’m sure you’ll tell me if it’s not. If you survive, that is.