Whether it be on land or in the water, nature can be a very scary place.
With animals like the great white shark in "Jaws," gigantic alligators in "Crawl" or Leonard Dicaprio's intense fight with a bear in "The Revenant," cinema has perhaps provided a lot more fear than is necessary.
However, it doesn't mean that attacks from these ferocious animals don't happen in real life. In fact, they are some of the deadliest animals in North America.
Since 1970, the brown bear was the deadliest animal in North America, being responsible for 70 deaths in over 50 years. The rest of the rankings follows:
- Brown bear, 70
- Shark and snake, 57
- Black bear, 54
- Alligator, 33
- Cougar, 16
- Polar bear, 10
- Wolf, 2
As for the states with the most fatal attacks, Texas by far had the most with 520 animal-related deaths, over 200 more than second place, from 1999-2019. The top five deadliest states are:
- Texas, 520
- California, 299
- Florida, 247
- North Carolina, 180
- Tennessee, 170
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Delaware, North Dakota and Rhode Island were the safest, with no deaths during the 20-year span.
Despite being at the top of the list, brown bears aren't that common in the U.S., as they are mostly found in Alaska, which is called Bear Country. They can also be found in parts of Montana and Washington, as well as much of western Canada. Their counterpart, black bears, are the most common bear in North America and can be found throughout Canada, most of Alaska and parts across the U.S.
"My main advice to anyone going on these adventures in places you might come across a wild animal is to be prepared. I would always recommend you research the most prominent animals in the area you are visiting, as different animals mean different protocols when facing an attack," said Outforia founder Carl Borg. "There are lots of things you can do to avoid an animal attack but knowing whether to stay calm or fight back is key."
What to do if these animals are near you
There are many different ways to deal with the animals that made the list. The National Park Service advises if you are attacked by a brown bear, play dead by lying flat on your stomach, spreading your legs and your hands covering your neck until the bear leaves. For black bears, the goal is to try to escape to a secure location or fight back while concentrating on hitting or kicking the bear's face or muzzle.
For sharks, the goal is to be calm and try to exit the water while having the shark in sight, according to the Victorian Fisheries Authority. If attacked, try to use whatever objects near you to hit the shark's eyes, nose and gills. Putting up a fight goes the same for alligators.
Since snake attacks may be venomous, it is advised to try to walk away from them. If bitten, the CDC recommends to try to keep calm while seeking immediate medical attention.
For cougars, also known as mountain lions, the NPS advises to face them, do not turn your back to them and do not run away as it may trigger their natural response to chase. The goal is to appear as intimidating as possible while throwing things at the animal. The same is recommended for wolves.
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.