Safety Tips on surviving contact with Dangerous Animals 2017-04-27T13:39:13+00:00

Dangerous Animals, Information and Safety Tips

angry elephant, south africa

An angry bull elephant charges a safari vehicle in South Africa

The lion and the lamb shall lie down together, but the lamb won’t get much sleep.
Woody Allen

Dangerous animals: It’s very easy for us to be complacent about our strengths given that we are the most dominant species on the planet, but take away the weaponry and armour that civilisation affords us, and we stand alone in the wilderness as the naked and defenceless ape.

The world has around 800, 000 identified species of animals, many of whom while getting on with their own survival, see us either as a meal or a threat.

While travelling away from home, you may well meet one or two of them going about their business. Treat them with the respect they deserve for the sake of your own safety and theirs, and remember that in the eyes of mother nature, man is without doubt the world’s most dangerous animal.

Venomous creatures

A deadly Eastern Brown snake lunching on an Eastern Blue Tongue lizard.

A deadly Eastern Brown snake lunching on an Eastern Blue Tongue lizard. Photo by Matt Clancy.

How to avoid dangerous animals; symptoms of bite or sting; treatment.

Pause for claws; fangs a lot

Lions - impressive teeth but they generally stay out of the way of humans . Masai Mara, Kenya.

Lions – impressive teeth but they generally stay out of the way of humans unless sorely tempted.

Clawed and fanged animals, where they are and how to avoid them with reasonable safety.

Travel – it’s an education!

A few years ago trekking around Papua New Guinea, in the middle of a tropical nowhere, some small creature bit my leg. A spider? At the time it wasn’t painful, but the site soon became a growing, red, wet and painful wound, also known as a tropical ulcer. I cleaned it, applied antiseptic and a bandage and continued on my way.
The hole got bigger.

Days later I visited a tiny missionary hospital where the charming nurses scrubbed the hole with soap and hot water and gave me antibiotics. I took the pills for 7 days.
The hole got bigger.

I visited a dive centre at Madang where they have a lot of experience of coral infections. They scrubbed some more then poured pure bleach into the hole until it stopped bubbling – apparently indicating that all bacteria were dead.
The hole got bigger.

A few days later I met a young Australian gold prospector in the highlands. He told me to cut a piece of papaya and tape it, fleshy side down, onto the wound. I did so and the hole had dried up by the next morning. I applied more papaya and the day after that the hole started shrinking. Jeez, thanks mate! Owe you one!

Papaya, a sweet tropical fruit, is also good for curing tummy bugs and constipation I’m told. It’s the complex enzymes they say. . . Don’t travel without one!

Epilogue: Years later I met an American who was bitten on the leg by a Brown Recluse spider. He experienced exactly the same dissolving of flesh known as necrosis. In his case – without the benefit of papaya – it took 3 weeks to cure the appalling hole in his leg in an American hospital. So I guess my bite was caused by either a PNG version of a Brown Recluse or a spider with similar flesh-melting venom. Necrosis is Mother Nature’s way of enabling these spiders to suck up their nutrition like thick soup. No teeth necessary, just two venomous fangs.

A Cape Buffalo looking calculatingly at the photographer, Maasai Mara, Kenya, Africa

Cape Buffaloes are the most aggressive, man-hating and dangerous animals in Africa.

When all the dangerous cliffs are fenced off, all the trees that might fall on people are cut down, all of the insects that bite have been poisoned . . . and all of the grizzlies are dead because they are occasionally dangerous, the wilderness will not be made safe. Rather, the safety will have destroyed the wilderness. ‘ R. Yorke Edwards

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