You’re enjoying a walk with your dog in the forest. Suddenly, your dog senses something and starts barking at some bushes.
All you can see is a snout and two big tusks. Your dog keeps on barking, the bushes move, and a big beast charges out. What are you going to do?
Wild boars look a bit like domestic pigs, but they have longer legs and dark hair. And some of them can weigh up to to 136 kg (300 lb) or more.
They prefer to live in deciduous forests, but recently, they’ve also started invading cities, and trashing urban areas in Europe while scrounging for food. And if you get in the way of their food, they could come after you instead.
How fast can wild boars run? How many humans do they kill each year? And why is it so important to stay on your feet during an attack?
A wild boar’s diet is about 90% vegetation and 10% animal matter. And although it’s very unlikely, they will eat a human if they’re very hungry and have no other choice.
Although they rarely attack humans, they kill up to 7 people each year. Here’s how to survive if a wild boar attacks you.
Step 1. Control your pets
If you like walking your dogs in bushy, rural areas, stay alert. Barking can upset a wild boar and cause an attack. In 2020, a man in Montgomery, Texas woke up around 4 a.m. because his two dogs were barking.
When the man went to see what was going on, his spotlights revealed a wild hog. An invisible fence protected the dogs when the wild hog tried to attack them. Then the animal charged him, so the man ran behind this house to hide.
The hog thought he went inside, began slamming the house’s back door, and broke the hinges off. The man shot the hog in the heart with his crossbow.
Step 2. Run!
If you see a wild boar approaching from a distance, try not to disrupt it and just run away. If the boar is at a medium distance, back away slowly, and don’t make any sudden moves.
But if you have already provoked a boar, and it’s nearby, running away might not work. Some boars can run up to 48 km/h (30 mph). That’s faster than Usain Bolt.
Step 3. Climb up high
Try to get up a tree or a large boulder. Wild boars have “climbed” out of pig traps with walls up to 1.8 meters (6 ft) high. So, climbing up at least 2 m (6.5 ft) should keep you safe.
Then, try to stay still, and wait for the boar to go away. Climb down quietly and, if possible, go in the opposite direction to the boar.
Step 4. Fight hard
If you can’t escape and have to do battle, stand your ground. And fight with all your strength and anything within reach. If you have a gun or weapon, aim to kill the boar because it won’t give you a second chance. If you don’t have a weapon, grab anything you can, including rocks, a tree branch, or your camping gear.
Step 5. Don’t fall
It’s crucial to stay on your feet. If you fall, you risk the boar’s tusks stabbing your gut, arms, head, or neck. If the beast lunges at you, try sidestepping to avoid its sharp tusks.
Step 6. Leave ASAP
Wild boar attacks may only last for a minute, so keep fighting until the mauling stops. If you manage to hurt the boar, don’t attack it again. It might fight even harder if it thinks its life is in danger. And if the boar backs off, don’t wait to see if it comes back. Leave the area immediately.
Step 7. Get first aid
Wild boars can trample you, knock you to the ground, bite you, stab you with their tusks, and transmit diseases including tuberculosis, hepatitis E, and more. So avoid confrontation at all costs. Even a small scratch is enough reason to consult your doctor.
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