What to do if you see a snake.
Top tips: Snakes usually won’t attack unless provoked, so leave them alone and try to give them space when you’re outside. If one’s in your home, it’s best to vacate the room, shut the door, stuff a towel in the crack, and call a professional for help.
If attacked: Assume the snake is venomous. Do not apply a tourniquet or attempt to suck out any venom, advises the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Try to sit or lie still and remain calm while you await help. Take a photograph of the snake from a safe distance if possible to help with treatment, the CDC says. If possible, also clean the wound, cover it, and mark the edge of the affected area on the skin with the time.
Better prevention: Never pick up a snake, even if you think it’s dead. Wear thick shoes and long pants if hiking in areas with snakes, and poke at the ground in front of you with a long stick when possible.
What to do if you see a shark.
Top tips: Sharks are most active at night or during twilight, so take a dip during the day and stay in groups. Don’t let your pets in waters known to be frequented by sharks, and don’t enter the waters if you are bleeding. Bright colored clothing may also attract unwanted shark attention, warns the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
If attacked: “If you see a shark around you, exit the water as calmly and quickly as you can. A lot of these species are ambush predators, like white sharks, so often there’s not much that you can do once an attack has taken place—it’s all about prevention,” says Luke Warwick, a marine biologist and director of the sharks and rays program at the Wildlife Conservation Society. If you are attacked, the most sensitive part of a shark is its nose, which is a bundle of nerves, and its eyes. "The nose, eyes, and gills are what I would target. Those are the softer bits it needs to survive.”
Better prevention: If you are going in waters that may have sharks, the best way to avoid them is to only swim during the daytime. “If you are going in the water at dawn and dusk there’s heightened risk,” says Warwick. “That’s when fish tend to feed, and sharks will be feeding on them, and lights are also lower,” he says. If you see one of the animals, it is key to remain calm, as sharks are attracted to movements that resemble those of thrashing fish. Most attacks of humans are cases of mistaken identity or opportunistic attacks from old or sickened sharks, Warwick adds. We humans just aren’t as filling—we don’t have blubber. (Excerpt from 'How to survive an encounter with wildlife—from bears to bison’, nationalgeographic.com, 2023)
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, what should you do if you're attacked by a snake?