Feb 14 2011
Most of us, when faced with the prospect of being attacked by a creature of superior strength, speed and teeth, would do what all good cowards do – run. But that is likely to aggravate the situation and see us inside the creature’s jaws faster than we might otherwise wish.
“Go for the eyes” is the advice that saved Eddie Sigai’s life when a crocodile attacked him while he was swimming in a Queensland river with his children this month. As the animal grabbed his left arm and attempted to drag him under, Sigai remembered a wildlife documentary in which a man said he had survived a similar attack by gouging the crocodile with his fingers.
“I thought to myself, this is it, I am dead,” recalls the 37-year-old miner. “But it’s surprising what you can do when all you can think about is the safety of your children. All I can remember is grabbing it, shaking it, punching it and going for its eyes.”
According to African safari experts, another technique is to reach into the mouth (your arm might be in there anyway) and try to tear open the epiglottis at the back of the throat in the hope the resultant water rushing into the lungs causes the croc to recoil.
Yet different species demand different tactics. National Geographic has produced a series of helpful videos offering guidance on a range of animal attacks. For example, if charged by an elephant you should face it straight on, wave your arms above your head and “scream and yell”. Surviving a grizzly bear attack requires steely nerves: play dead by lying down on your belly and wrapping your arms around the back of your neck to “protect your vitals”.
But perhaps the best advice is to carry a soup ladle with you at all times: it was reported earlier this week that a Malaysian man hunting squirrels was saved from a tiger when his wife ran towards the animal with the nearest kitchen utensil she had to hand. A bop on the head saw it scurrying back into the jungle, fearing for its life.