Animal Bites

Each region of the world has its own unique form of predator and prey animals. For this portion lets focus on some basic animal types that you can find in many regions of the world. “Remember” never assume an animal you randomly encounter is tame, animals within parks are wild and should be treated as such. Your personal safety and safety of others around you is the most important thing when dealing with wild animals or animals that attack humans. Be safe, Be aware, Be loud, many animal attacks in the wild occur due to a startled animal that is unaware of your presence.

Common Predatory animal types that you may encounter:

  1. K9, Dog, Wolf, Fox, Coyote
  2. Feline, Cat, Puma, Linx, Bob-Cat, Cougar
  3. Bear, Brown, Black, Kodiak, Grizzly
  4. Snake
  5. Marine Life

What to watch for:

  • Predator Type “Land” :Normally Carnivores / Omnivores – Posturing, growing, swiping at the ground, hissing or following you just out of sight or within a wooded area, these universal signs are of a predatory animal that is either intimidated by your presence, or is stalking you to determine if you are food.
  • Prey Type “Land”: Normally Herbivores – Hoof stamping, posturing, raised back with hissing, snorting, spitting or loud calls, may charge with head down. These universal signs are of a prey animal that is attempting to defend itself or its young.


When you are in a wooded, grassy or abandoned area:

  • Be loud, clapping of hands, talking loudly will help other animals know you are in the vicinity.
  • Be seen, wear brightly colored clothing that is easy to spot.
  • Be aware, consult your local fish and wildlife association before going into an unfamiliar wooded area, knowing the dangers can help you avoid them.
  • Don’t keep food on you while in wooded areas or camping, keep all food stores in a locked box away from your camp site in case predators are attracted.
  • If you have pets that go outdoors, be aware that smaller pets can be seen as food for larger predatory animals and may be taken. Keep an eye on your pets and be aware of the local Predators within your region
  • Never approach an unfamiliar animal
  • Animals in parks are not tame
  • Animals with collars are “Tagged” for research purposes and should be avoided as they me be a nuisance animal that has been tagged so that they may be removed from populated area’s.
  • The animal may seem calm, but keep your distance, getting to close may make the animal react to defend itself.

Stings from Marine Life:

“Know the water you are swimming in and stay away from stinging marine life”

Watch for – Pain, Rash, Redness, Swelling

  • How to help: While wearing gloves, remove any tentacles or pieces of the animal. Wash the area with vinegar for at least 30 seconds, if vinegar isn’t available use a mixture of baking soda and water “Make the consistency like toothpaste” and leave it on the area for 20 minutes. Then immerse the affected are in “hot” water “as hot as patient can tolerate” for 20 minutes or as long as the pain persists. ‘Do not Rub the area”. Scrape or shave the are with a razor or the edge of a knife, put a cold pack on the area for the first hour to reduce the pain “Seek Medical Attention” to verify that the bite / sting was non toxic.


“Do not aggravate a snake, if out hiking watch where you are stepping, wear proper footwear when hiking”

Watch for – Intense Pain, Burning, red raised tender skin that blanches at the puncture site, liquid seeping from the wound.

  • How to help: Keep the injured site still and lower than the heart if possible. “Seek Medical Attention Immediately” by calling 911, if you have a physical description of the snake, report it to EMS personnel because it may help them provide the best treatment. Check the temperature and color of the limb beyond the site of the bite and note if it is abnormally cold or warm compared to the other limb. Report this to EMS personnel.


  • NEVER – Apply ice, cut the wound “blood letting“, apply suction “Sucking it out“, apply a tourniquet to a snake bite. These myths will make the injury worse and can cause serious harm.
  • NEVER – Urinate on a wound, this may cause more pain and lead to further infection with psychological trauma.

How to help with animal Bites:

  1. Check the area, once the area is safe, Check the person and ensure the persons ABC’s are present “Airway / Breathing / Circulation” REMEMBER – Wear gloves if available to avoid bodily fluids or venom.
  2. Call 911 and get an AED if you are alone, you suspect a Head / Neck or Spine injury, there is a motor vehicle collision, the person is allergic or the injured persons life could be at risk. “911 will link you to the Animal Control Center if you do not have the number.”
  3. Care for the animal Bite by:

Always follow recommendations by your Emergency Response professionals and 911 Dispatch personnel. “Never endanger yourself or the victim, you may “not” need to move or roll the injured person”

  • If there are other life threatening injuries, treat those first as quickly as possible with as little movement to the injured person.
  • a) Try to get the person safely away from the animal without injuring yourself. Make loud noises and get other people to help if available “Strength in numbers”
  • b) Never try to “Capture the animal” this may endanger yourself
  • c) If the wound is minor, wash it with soap and water, control any bleeding and put a dressing on the wound. Watch for signs of infection.
  • d) Seek medical aid, all animal bites and stings should be checked by a physician to ensure no infection is present and that the patients psychological well being is maintained. Being attacked by a wild animal can be traumatic.

While you wait for an Ambulance:

RECOVERY Position:

  1. Kneel Beside the victim and place the victims furthest arm from you above their head.
  2. Place the arm closest to you across the victims chest as a protector arm.
  3. The Key is in their Knee, bend the nearest leg up at the knee.
  4. Carefully slip your hand under the hollow of the victims neck to support the Head Neck & Spine, at the same time use your forearm by slipping it carefully under the shoulder for leverage.
  5. Place your free hand on the Key Knee and gently roll the victim away from you by applying steady pressure against the knee and shoulder at the same time. The victims head should rest on their raised arm.
  6. To secure the position pull the key knee further up and bring their protector arm out to use the elbow to stabilize the position.
  7. Check the Airway to make sure their still breathing.

In any emergency just remember to Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!

Learn First Aid Today, Save a Life Tomorrow, let first aid training in Edmonton be your Saving Grace

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