Animals… most of the time we love ‘em!
Sometimes, however, they manage to scare the living daylights out of us.
The people of Reddit recently hashed out their worst creature experiences and whether it was from a major misunderstanding, wild predator encounter, or sheer arachnophobia (to name a few), these stories are something else.
Here are 30 stories of the most hair-raising encounters people have had with animals.
There’s no shortage of bear shenanigans at Yosemite. Exhibit A:
“I’ve been woken up by a bear sniffing my head once. Was cowboy camping (no tent) in Lyell Canyon in Yosemite once, when I hear something sniff right next to my head.
My sleep addled brain thinks it’s a ranger on a horse telling me to move my camp (had hiked about 20 miles that day. You have to be at least 4 miles into the canyon to camp, and I wasn’t 100% sure I’d made it far enough since it was dark when I set up camp).
Anyways, I say “just one second,” sit up, grope for my flashlight and turn it on to see a black bear a couple feet away.
I holler, he tears off, I get out and empty my bladder, and try to fall back asleep until I hear him coming around again. I make a bunch more noise, decide I’m not getting any more sleep, break camp and slowly night hike until the sun rises.” –WestBrink
And exhibit B:
“My husband and I were camping at Yosemite once on a climbing trip with a group of people, a few of whom we knew well but most of whom were friends of friends.
We got there after dark the first night because we couldn’t leave the city until after work, so we set up our tent and crashed. A few people were still up drinking and hanging out.
The next morning, we got out of our tent, and some guy was like “oh shit, you guys are alive?!”
Apparently a bear had RUN OVER our tent in the night, and we slept through the whole thing. This asshole had seen it happen, but was too scared to come check on us at any point in the night.
Also, he had left food around the area instead of using the bear box, which is why the bear came to the campsite in the first place.” –Spaceh0rse
“When I was young, I went fishing with my dad and my best friend. We waded out through some deeper water to reach the shallow sandbar, where we fished for quite a while. The tide came in, and the water that had been just above my ankles was now above my waist.
Suddenly a large shark, about 7-8 feet, crashed through a school of mullet only a few feet away from me. Dad saw it, my best friend saw it, and for a second we all three just kind of froze with our mouths hanging open.
Quietly, calmly, Dad told us to walk back to shore, splashing as little as possible. We did. But the tide had come in, and I wasn’t as tall as the other two guys. The deeper water between the sandbar and shore reached their chests, but I could hardly keep my head above water while my feet barely bounced along the bottom, and I struggled to hold my fishing rod up out of the water.
I was completely helpless, while we knew that a hungry shark was swimming somewhere in the area. It felt like a scene out of a nightmare, trying to run from an invisible monster, but my feet could barely touch the ground and I was hardly moving.
I know— and even knew in that moment— that I had little chance of being eaten by a shark, especially one who is focused on fish. Still, if I ever WERE to be attacked, that was the moment, and I was utterly defenseless.
A few years later, a man was killed just a few miles away when he jumped off his dock and into the path of a large bull shark that was chasing mullet.” –TryCoserious
“I was very drunk at a wedding on a large property in rural NSW. I like to wander and explore when I drink. I was alone and suddenly confronted with a wombat.
Wombats are massive balls of muscle. Being the drunk idiot I was, I was all like “awww hello me wombat” and began to approach it. The wombat did not like this. It charged me. It was so fast.
My heart stopped and I turned and ran as fast as I could. The little bugger nearly caught me. I sprinted back to the wedding in fear for my life.” –Allow1986
The most awkward home invasion ever.
“At the time I was working until 1AM so I wouldn’t get home until 2 or so. I opened the door to the house and felt what I thought was a breeze come by my leg.
I don’t really pay attention, walk over to my desk, put my keys down and turn the light on. Right when I do so, there are two possums in the act of mating in the middle of my kitchen.
They screamed, I screamed and we began the three-hour dance of getting them out of my house. I ended up trapping them in a dog cage and dumping them out in the middle of my backyard.” –terrid2331
Africa is full of colorful fauna.
“I did fieldwork back and forth between the US/UK and East and Southern Africa for ten years and in that time period, spent a good chunk of my life living at remote base camps so I have a few ‘shit yourself’ moments that I can list off the top off my head.
I was chased by an elephant (it was worse as she had a calf).” –suchascenicworld
“We were having a party one night and I guess someone forgot to shut the kitchen door. I woke up in the morning hung over and decided to make coffee.
The rubbish bag was undernearth the sink and I heard something in it (I was directly over it) and I saw coils within striking distance from a Mozambique spitting cobra.” –suchascenicworld
“Two spotted hyenas broke into our camp, killed a few dogs and then went over to a few tents (including mine) and pushed their muzzle through.
The most surreal thing about that was, if you know anything about spotted hyenas, they actually make a noise every now and then (or every fucking night) called a “whoop.” It’s insanely loud.
One of them actually made that noise (it hurt my ears) but interestingly enough, it turns out that their is actually a growl that is always made directly after the whoop. So, really close up it sounds like “whoooop, grrrr” (and so on).” –suchascenicworld
“I was cycling up a mountain in the Scottish Highlands (my gran lives there), and as I went round a corner, I came face to face with a huuuuge highland cow which was running down the mountain the opposite way.
Instead of jumping off the path I thought the cow was be friendly and edge over to let me by: big mistake… it threw its head as I went by, almost impaling me and throwing me off the path and into a 20ft tumble down the mountain.” –SimonFish99
“I outran a swarm of bees. I was young and in Straya, and we lived on the front of a farm. I went exploring a lot, it was really cool. I found a bees nest in a huge fallen tree.
I had watched a lot of cartoons, and wanted to know if the bees would come out in an arrow and get me if I whacked it with a stick. So I did. They did not. I was disappointed and climbed around the fallen tree.
The bees do attack, just not immediately. And not in an arrow. In a cloud. Suddenly they were all around me. I sprinted home, about 2k, and if I slowed down the bees caught up.
I ran into our yard and shut the gate, thinking I was safe. I wasn’t, obviously and got stung a few times. I deserved it though, don’t go beating up animal homes.” –Incredulouslaughter
“I moved to Colorado. About a month in one night I had gone to bed, and woke up on severe pain hours later. I felt nausea, throbbing pain around my abdomen, my muscles and back ached.
I turned on the lights, and I had in my sleep rolled over a black widow spider and crushed it to death, which at some point had bit me. It’s carcass lay in my bed. I freaked out, called 911, and put it in a mason jar so they thought I wasn’t crazy. I was brought to the hospital where they treated me with pain management medications.
The venom continued to spread. Every muscle ached and felt as though my body was being crushed. It soon began to get hard to breath and my blood pressure became irregular. The morphine had me drifting in and out of sleep. I prayed to God, who hours earlier I wasn’t even sure I believed in. 12 hours later I was discharged.
The venom ran its course for about 4 days, and the bite site intermittently itched for weeks. For the next year or two I had anxiety trying to go to sleep and reoccurring nightmares of the experience.” –freeyourtea
“I was stationed in Japan for 3 out of the 6 years I was in the Navy. During that time I leased a Japanese house, and the shower was its own room, full walk-in with a tub, bench, etc. (Amazing) So as the post says, I stumble into the shower one morning still half asleep, and out of my peripherals I see a black flash from behind me and hear a thud.
Look into the tub and there is a huntsman spider the size of my hand staring back at me. Holy shit. My best guess is it was on the wall behind me and got scared when I walked in.
So I go into attack mode immediately. Grab the shower head which was on a hose, take aim looking to drown this thing in the tub drain, and as soon as I turned the water on it jumped out of the tub onto the wall and ran into the window sill. Tactic then became opening the window fast and pinching to death in the sill.
As soon as I touched the glass it jumped out onto the wall again and ran out the shower door. Now I’m cornered in the shower peering out into the “powder room” to see the huntsman on the cabinet door waiting for me. Sneak to the front door of the house and grab a flip flop, come back to the powder room and wing the flip flop at the spider.
Hit it, wound several of the legs, but do not kill it. It runs out of the bathroom and underneath the stairs, much slower than it was moving prior.
Feeling confident that spider is cornered under the stairs, I grab a can of bug spray and move in to finish it. Looking closely under the stairs (it was a hollow staircase where you could see through the gaps between steps) I see a black “tail” curled over the back lip of one of the stairs and assume it’s the spider hiding on the back of the step. Hit it with the spray, enter fucking mukade centipede. It dropped off the back of the stair and started charging at me.
I immediately peed a little. Front half of its body was up off the floor and its mouth was visibly biting. It backed me up all the way to the front door as I emptied the entire can of bug spray on it. By the time we got to the door, it was obviously overcome by the chemicals and just writhing around, so I grabbed the other flip flop and smashed it. Didn’t work. Hit it a few times and it would not die, so I turned the flip flop on its edge and used it like a saw to cut the thing in half. Then remembered the spider.
It was still under the stairs, so I blew under there and it ran out wounded and I smashed it with the flip flop saw. Then I screamed at the top of my lungs for 30 seconds.
The whole battle took probably 3 minutes but it felt like a lifetime. I think being naked cause an adrenile rush a thousand times greater than if I were fully clothed. WhenI got to work I was frazzled enough for my co-workers to notice. Can’t tell if it was the worst morning of my life or my biggest triumph, but man won that day.” –Digibud
“My grandpa cut a house centipede in half with a carving knife.
One half ran left and the other ran right. He said there wasn’t enough whiskey in the world to deal with that shit.” –theBytemeister
“I was taking a walk with my infant daughter once when an aggressive rottweiler charged us.
There was no running with a baby in a stroller so, reasoning that SOMEONE owns this dog and therefore acts as alpha, so I acted as alpha.
I charged, threw my arms up, and roared. He stopped in his tracks, growled a little, and moved off.” –Dalivus
“When I was five I lived in Berlin, Germany. I had an obsession with trying to hunt and kill wild boars in the forest so my dad and I would walk around with “spears “ sharpened twigs basically. We never saw any so it wasn’t a huge deal until one day we spooked a mother and her piglets.
Next thing my dad sees is me chasing them until the sow stops turns all 200 pounds towards me and stares me down. Luckily my dad scooped me up before I could charge because I was about to. Hindsight 20/20 don’t do that. I would have probably been mauled…” –ItsScotty224
The birds! They’re coming!
“Magpies. I was riding my bike to primary school one day and two streets away out of nowhere I feel the flap of wings on my shoulder and it flys by in front of me.
It was quite large, probably an adult and it came back but I saw it and ducked. After that it flew by a few more times (repeatedly actually) and it actually hit me a few times hard and left a few beak dents in my helmet.
I could only peg my bike as fast as possible to school until I was through it’s ‘territory.’” –binshtok
“Snakes in Africa are worth being afraid of.
I was in Zimbabwe with a group and some of the girls got trapped in the bathroom by a spitting cobra; it had decided to hang out in front of the bathroom door after they went in. One of the local guys had to kill it with a slingshot.
Pretty crazy!” –Merry_Pippins
“I was about 3 or 4. My family owned chickens. One of the roosters was a dick.
Every time we set foot in the yard, it would terrorize us with his large talons and try to peck us. It actually managed to claw my brother up.
My dad finally killed that thing. It was the best meal I ever had.” –no_pizza_4_u
Stuck between a rock and a hard place.
“I cycled (at speed) past a pack of feral dogs and triggered their prey instinct.
I was out on a straight road, slightly downhill, in the middle of nowhere. When I saw them getting ready I knew I had to go past them as it was too late to stop and cycle back up hill (and besides that was the only road home)
I committed. They chased. I pedaled harder than I have ever pedaled and eventually lost them, but I didn’t turn round to look for quite a while. I checked my bike computer when I got home and saw that I had hit 79km/h.
The scariest part was realizing I would trigger them and that I HAD to go through the pack, hoping they wouldn’t trip me up as either the fall or the dogs would have maimed me.” –FrannyyU
“My scariest animal encounter while hiking: In California on a trail cut into a steep slope so nowhere to go except along the trail. Ahead of me in the middle of the trail was a chipmunk. Running wildly in circles. With patches of fur missing.
I decided to throw a rock in its direction to scare it off the trail. When the rock landed near it, the chipmunk ran straight at me. I just about crapped myself as it ran past down the trail.
This was an area with occurrences of bubonic plague and rabies.” –haresfur
What a silly goose.
“I was attacked by a giant monstrous goose! It was at least the size of a… goose. And it was as wild and dangerous as a… goose. Ok, it was just a normal goose. But it was really scary!
I was just minding my own business, taking a walk while listening to music, when this evil creature decides that I’m its mortal enemy and starts charging me out of nowhere.
Thanks to my vigorous training and extensive experience I handled the situation in calm and stoic fashion: By shrieking like a girl and punching the critter on top of its head.
And then, not unlike a small child that has just kicked a ball through the neighbor’s window, I panicked and ran away.” –Silly_little_pet
“Stalked by a mountain lion at a church camp. Walking along. Felt that eerie feeling of being followed. Heard it growl, saw it staring me down from the bushes 40 yards off and then I sprinted downhill 20 feet to a cabin.
10-year-old me didn’t know to appear large and back away slowly. Fortunately a cabin was very nearby and the mountain lion wasn’t in maximum stealth mode.” –LightsStayOnInFrisco
“Was working in the Amazon and we had to sleep in trees during the rainy season because there was no dry ground. Woke up one night to the sound of my bug netting getting torn. The other rangers had insisted I sleep with my machete in the hammock and I had laughed at them but followed their advice. I have never been more grateful in my life.
A Jaguar was pawing at us from the branch above and we held out our machetes to keep it away. We didn’t want to hurt it but we also didn’t want a killing machine dropping into our hammocks. It eventually stalked off after getting its paws pricked a few times.
Slept with that machete like a teddy bear the next 6 months.” –yeastybeast
“Had an Australian Eastern Brown snake rear up and try to bite me.
The Eastern Brown snake is the second most venomous snake in the world. Certainly got my heart beating faster!” –BunnyLurksInShadow
“I was camping in Australia with some buddies back in 2009. During the evening we spotted a dingo pretty far across a field, thought it was pretty cool (since we aren’t Australian) but didn’t think much of it, other than that.
After sundown we heard some movement not too far off, in the same direction of where we saw the dingo. We shined our flashlights out into the field, and saw multiple sets of eyes, glittering, looking our way.
We decided to pack up some of the things into our car, and chill out a bit in our tents. They came through our site, and then went on their way.
In hindsight, they were more than likely just interested in our food. But it was still pretty creepy.” –PabloSaladBar
An unfortunate Uber ride, but a very natural reaction nonetheless.
“Driving down the highway and a spider drops out from the visor and hangs in mid air in front of me then just vanishes in my lap.
I blacked out but the passengers in my Uber said I was screaming, ‘We’re all gonna die’ over and over.” –SarcasticCarebear
“Woke up in the middle of the night to a burglar shifting through my shit in my room while I laid in bed. Scared the piss out of me, so I laid there half under the covers, trying to slowly grab my phone, not knowing how I’d call 911 without the light of my phone screen alerting them.
I didn’t want to die. My heart was pounding, lungs burning from trying to breathe quietly enough to not be noticed.
I stared at the shadow for a long time, listening to little movements of paper and trinkets.
It felt too long – why hadn’t they moved?
And then I realized that dark human-shaped spot was actually a shadow being cast from my coat. It was always there. What the fuck was making noise?
Goddamn it, a mouse.” –daitoshi
“Was walking back from the pub through a suburban street. About 1 a.m. Heard thumping noise getting progressively louder.
Stopped to look about and a kangaroo landed no more than two feet in front of me, after bounding over the high fence I was walking next to.
Scared the shit out of me.” –GJacks75
“I’m from Florida and I was volunteering at a local nature conservancy. One of our tasks was to remove fallen logs that were blocking up a creek after a big storm.
The creek was about chest deep, 15 feet wide, and opaque brown (Many Florida freshwater ways are browns b/c of tannins leached into the river from trees).
As I’m moving logs I notice a 12 ft. alligator on the embankment I hadn’t noticed before. It then slid into the creek I was in. I was with a land manager who was moving logs with me, and a herpetologist (who was in the canoe).
I asked them what to do and they responded,”Well, those logs aren’t gonna move themselves, and that gator’s probably just trying to get away from us.”
Still, spending 30 minutes in a creek you can’t see anything, knowing there’s an alligator lurking near your feet, moving logs WHICH LOOK LIKE ALLIGATORS was one of the most nerve-wracking things I’ve ever done.” –A_sweet_boy
“I got charged by a shire stallion who was in full play mode! Thankfully my horse (who I had a very strong bond with) grabbed my jumper and tucked me behind him whilst he stuck his ears back and reared and struck out as a warning at this shire.
The shire ended up skidding past and fly bucking before going off and annoying someone else. I have never felt such a pants crapping and awe-filled moment like that at the same time.
The thundering sound of that shire making his way down the field was like something out of Jurassic Park.” –Horseshoesandkicks