You’re hiking in the woods. Suddenly, you feel something extremely itchy. You scratch it, and find a rash like a red bull’s eye on your body. Looking closely, you see a small hole. And it’s painful. If you don’t act quickly, your life could be in danger.
There are about 850 tick species in the United States. In 2018, the CDC reported almost 50, 000 cases of tick-borne diseases. Ticks are parasites that feed on your blood. They wait on tall pieces of grass, and when you pass by, they latch onto you and start feasting.
Most likely, you won’t feel the bite. And a tick’s body is small and relatively flat, so it’s easy for you to miss seeing it. Hours could pass before you notice that something has attached itself to you. The problem is, before they bite you, ticks could have fed on an animal that’s infected with Lyme disease, or other diseases. And once it starts feeding on you, the tick’s saliva can transmit diseases to you.
Why are tick bites so dangerous? How can you check whether your yard is infested? If you’re bitten, why is it so important to keep the tick?
STEP ONE: GET A LEG UP
If you’re going into an area that’s likely to be infested with ticks, it’s a good idea to wear light-colored clothing. Then it’ll be easier to see if there’s a tick on you, as they often look like a little bit of dirt. Also, wear long sleeves, pants, and tuck your pants into your socks or boots. On top of that, you can spray your clothing with an insect repellent containing DEET. And always wear work gloves if you’ll be working in your yard.
STEP TWO: CHECK YOURSELF
If you’re on a hike, or gardening, look for tick bites every two or three hours. It generally takes four hours for a tick to make you sick. Since tick bites are painless, and not filled with fluid like other insect bites, you’ll need to search for them. Ticks usually bite the back of the neck, the scalp, and any exposed parts of your arms and legs. These insects will stay latched onto you until they finish feeding, which can take from a few hours to days. And ticks can also make animals sick too, so make sure you check your outdoor pets regularly, especially if they’re scratching.
STEP THREE: DON’T LISTEN TO OLD WIVES’ TALES
If you do find a tick on you, don’t panic. and don’t put rubbing alcohol on it to suffocate it. The best way to remove a tick is to use a pair of tweezers. Grasp the tick where it’s attached to your skin, then pull the tick straight out. Make sure to pull slowly and firmly. And don’t jerk or twist the tick, as its mouthparts are like barbed wires digging into you. And if you squeeze its body, the little sucker may vomit its infected blood into your bloodstream. Who wants to be walking around with infected tick vomit in their body? Yuck. After you remove the bug, wash the area with soap and water.
STEP FOUR: KEEP THE TICK
once you get the tick off, save it in a plastic bag. If you start to get a rash that looks like a bull’s eye, you might have Lyme disease. But ticks can carry various diseases, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever and the Powassan virus. So saving the tick will help the doctors identify the bacteria or virus that the tick has transmitted to you. Tick bites can be serious, so watch out for a rash, chills, fever, joint pain, or any red streaks or yellow fluid oozing from the bite.
A tick bit Jennifer Sloane. When she went to the emergency room, she had a fever of over 40 °C (104 °F) and flu-like symptoms. Luckily, she told her doctors that she had removed a tick a few weeks earlier, which helped them treat her properly. She was suffering from meningitis, a liver problem, and sepsis, a dangerous infection in her bloodstream, and received three blood transfusions. She was in the hospital for 11 days.
STEP FIVE: CHECK FOR INFESTATIONS
You don’t need to nervous about going outside though. You can check for a tick infestation on your property by dragging a white, rough-textured cloth through areas where ticks might be. If the cloth collects lots of ticks, you have an infestation. A good rule of thumb is that the neater your yard appears, the less likely it is to be infested with ticks. And if you treat your property with a pesticide, focus on shrubs, tall grass, and overgrown areas you can’t reach with a lawnmower. You’ll probably want to get your pets treated as well.
Ticks are arachnids, so they belong to the same family as spiders. Yup, spiders. But what if you have arachnophobia?
Hearing someone scream “snake!” can cause people to panic. And when you’re in the shallow, murky rivers of South America, home to the deadly anaconda, you realize this is not a garden snake coming towards you.
It’s a green anaconda.
These are not small snakes. It’s often said that green anacondas can grow up to 9 m in length (30 ft,) and they can weigh as much as 225 kg (550 lb). Anacondas’ prey ranges from 10% of their body weight all the way up to 146%. So, humans are fair game. What should you do if you are attacked by this deadly beast?
Why is it important to hold your breath? What should you do if you get bit? And how could your teeth become your best defensive weapon?
It only takes seconds for an anaconda to wrap around its prey, and squeeze it to death. And no matter how strong you are, the snake can create up to 62,053 KPas (9,000 psi) of pressure. Anacondas have a legendary status as man eaters. So if you’re going into anaconda territory, here’s some tips to help you survive.
Step 1. Push Your Hand Inside the Snake’s Mouth
If an anaconda is nearby, watch its face. An anaconda shows its predatory behaviour by flicking its tongue.
And if it bites you, do not yank yourself away, or try to forcefully pull yourself out of its mouth.
An anaconda’s inner teeth curve backwards to hold onto its prey.
So if you try to pull out of the snake’s mouth right away, it can cause serious injuries. Getting out in this situation will be much easier if you have someone else to help you. Ask them to slowly open the anaconda’s mouth. As they do that, push your hand, or whatever body part is being bitten, further inside the snake’s mouth. This will get it off the snake’s fangs. Then, you can get out of the snake’s mouth without causing even more injuries.
Step 2. Wear Proper Gear
You might feel safer if you wear clothing that’s harder for these snakes to bite through. This includes thick gloves, sturdy shoes, and thick clothing. But what if you set out to become snake bait? Paul Rosolie, a naturalist, agreed to be swallowed whole by an anaconda for a TV special. They thought the snake might regurgitate him. And if nececessary, they could cut him free.
He wore a special carbon fiber suit designed to withstand the snake’s fangs, constriction powers, and digestion, so he would survive the ordeal. The suit was doused in pig blood to make it more appealing. But when Paul approached the anaconda, the snake was afraid and tried to escape.
So, Rosolie provoked the snake. It eventually attacked, swallowed him head first, and began squeezing. He was inside the snake for an hour. Then, Rosolie was worried that the anaconda was going to break his arm. He cried out in fear and pain, and asked the crew to rescue him. They did.
Step 3. Hold Your Breath
If an anaconda grips the middle of your body, do not exhale. It’s like a signal to the snake. Every time you exhale, the snake will squeeze tighter. That could prevent you from getting your breath back.
Step 4. Stay Away From the Water
Anacondas like shallow, murky rivers. So, stay on land, or get yourself to land as fast as possible when anacondas are around. They’re great swimmers, but they’re not fast slitherers on land. Run towards land, and keep running until you get as far away as possible.
Step 5. Bite the Snake
You couldn’t get away fast enough. An anaconda put the bite on you, and it has no intention of letting you go.
Remember, its weakest spots are its tail and its eyes. Go on the offense. Open wide, and bite the snake’s tail as hard as you can. It will cause the anaconda tremendous pain, and hopefully the snake will let go.
Use your fingers as aggressively as you can, and poke its eyes. Eyes are a crucial organ that these huge snakes will try to preserve. The truth is, a human is not an anaconda’s ideal prey. Its average meal weighs around 18 kg (40 lb).
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.