We have already had an encounter with the hippo, mosquito, elephant, black mamba and Nile crocodile as some of Africa’s most dangerous animals. This is the other half of that infamous list filled with more bites, claws, and charging.
1. THE GREAT WHITE SHARK
Great white shark attacks are very rare but when they do occur they mostly take place off the coast of South Africa. While a few spirited adventurers seek out opportunities to dive with the sharks for most people this is a feat they are happy to do without. Sharks attack by lunging at the victim and taking a huge bite before dragging the victim deeper into the water for them to bleed out and die.
In case of an encounter with a shark, the first thing to do is to remain calm. Chances are the shark will not bother you and will go about its business. Unless you are close to shore or a boat it is not advisable to start swimming away from the shark. For starters, you cannot outswim a shark. Secondly, swimming especially while splashing water around only attracts the shark to you. If you have to swim away it is best to swim using the smooth reverse breaststroke. If the shark charges at you there are three vulnerable areas to target. One is the snout, the other the eyes, and lastly the gills. I good punch in any one of these areas should deter the shark from trying to attack again. All in all, do not swim in shark-infested water.
2. THE AFRICAN LION
The African lion has the fearsome reputation of being a ruthless killer of whatever crosses its path. However, most lion attacks on humans are perpetrated by elderly or sickly lions that no longer have the energy to hunt stronger prey. All in all an encounter with any sort of lion is likely to end up in an attack.
So in the event of such a violent encounter with the king of the jungle, as with most other wild animal attacks, the key is to remain calm. Turning your back and running away from the lion is a sure way to die and die tired for that matter. Lions can reach speeds of up to 80km/h. Your best bet is to stand your ground and make yourself as big as possible while making threatening noises. Do this while backing away slowly.
Doing all that may however not deter the lion and it may still charge at you and there’s perhaps nothing scarier in this life than to have a full-grown lion lunge at you. Lions will mostly aim for the face and throat. They growl while charging and this may make the ground beneath you shake. No, it is not your legs shaking out of fear. If this happens your only chance of survival is to again stand your ground and fight back. Aim punches and kicks toward the animal’s face and if possible hit the eyes. Beyond that only luck can save you now.
3. PUFF ADDER
This is the second snake that makes this infamous list. The puff adder is considered Africa’s deadliest snake because of the high number of casualties that succumb to its venomous attacks. Puff adders grow to about one meter in length. Unlike most other animals on this list that use aggressive charging to launch attacks, puff adders usually remain still and rely on camouflage to remain undetected and then choose their moment to strike. In fact, many victims step on the snake without noticing it only to be made aware of its presence by a nasty poison-filled bite.
Just like an encounter with the black mamba, if you notice a puff adder from a distance or any other snake for that matter, it is best to walk away and avoid a confrontation. If you are, unfortunately, bitten the first thing to do is to remain calm as a rapidly beating heart will spread the poison faster throughout the body. Do not try to suck out the venom as it could get absorbed in the mouth or mouth bacteria could infect the wound. Seek medical help as soon as possible all whilst remaining calm.
4. CAPE BUFFALO
The buffalo is thought to be responsible for the biggest game hunter deaths in Africa. Already that is a chilling introduction to this beast. Buffaloes are usually found in herds and have the seemingly uncanny behavior of always looking at you with disdain. It is as if they are always aware of your presence. Buffaloes attack by charging at speeds of up to 56 km/h and then goring you with their pair of horns. They also circle back on the victim to finish the job. One can also be trampled to death in a stampede of these beasts.
When a buffalo charges at you it is most likely going to be a very brutal encounter with a 700 kg monster. Buffaloes do not mock charge so if it charges it is dead intent on delivering a blow. There is surprisingly little information out there about what to do in case of a buffalo attack but your best chance is to get a headstart on the charging animal and climb the nearest tree or jump behind the closest cover. The headstart is really important because a buffalo will easily outrun any human being.
5. THE AFRICAN RHINO
Last but definitely not least in this list is the rhinoceros. Both the black and white rhino are aggressive animals and attack by charging at the victim and striking them with their horns. Black rhinos are slightly more aggressive than their counterparts. One sure way to irk this 2-ton beast is to get between a mother and her cub. Other than that if one keeps a safe distance, rhinos will rarely attack.
However, in the event that a rhino charges at you your best bet for survival is to get on a raised platform such as a rock or simply climb a tree. If that’s not an option get something between you and the rhino such as standing behind a tree and then backing off slowly. A more daring way to survive a charging rhino is to wait until nearly the last moment before it hits you and throw something at it like a bag and then jump out of the way. Rhinos usually drop their heads just before impact and when it looks back up it might just turn its attention to the bag and leave you be.
Those are the final five of Africa’s most dangerous animals on this list. Unless you are Tarzan or George of the jungle, let Starluck Travel organize safe African safaris to see these deadly animals.