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Animal attacks, trail running, ultra running, bear attack, boar attack, cougar attack, Bigfoot, bear bells

I was talking to Fox 6 reporter JehJeh Pruitt the other week while filming a segment for Good Day Alabama about the Birmingham Dance Walk when the conversation turned to my trail running. JehJeh asked what my wildest trail running story was and what wild animals I have encountered. He mentioned that a friend of his had been running in a nearby town and had come across a wild boar.

That got me thinking—what does a runner do in a situation like that? I know that the majority of the time the animal will get scared and run off or won’t approach you if you make a lot of noise to begin with, but what if it doesn’t? After some research, it seems like most animals keep to themselves and let you run in peace as long as you don’t surprise them. But just in case an animal does decide to go Cujo on you, here’s what you do:

(The following pictures are all mine, so if I haven’t come across that particular animal, I replaced it with an equally awesome animal.)

Animal attacks, trail running, ultra running, bear attack, boar attack, cougar attack, Bigfoot, bear bells

Both animals start with a B so work with me here. Bison roll in dust to display their strength

BoarLeave them alone, especially during mating season. If one charges, climb a tree or do whatever you can to avoid their tusks. It’d be like being gouged by a bull, only less noble.

Animal attacks, trail running, ultra running, bear attack, boar attack, cougar attack, Bigfoot, bear bells

Peekaboo

Coyote – These furry creatures won’t attack unless they have rabies or you bother them. If they do, yell, throw rocks, make yourself look bigger than you are. Despite their resemblance to puppies, don’t pet.

Animal attacks, trail running, ultra running, bear attack, boar attack, cougar attack, Bigfoot, bear bells, Fox and the Hound

Thanks Disney for this friendly fox

Fox – Same as their friend the coyote. If you see one, keep your eyes peeled for Copper the Hound following close behind.

Animal attacks, trail running, ultra running, bear attack, boar attack, cougar attack, Bigfoot, bear bells

Canadian chipmunk – he spoke French

Cougar – I’ve been told we don’t have any in Alabama, but you never know. Plus, these frequent the Colorado trails I will run one day. To avoid a big kitty encounter don’t run at dusk or dawn (ummm that’s the only time I run) and travel with a group. If attacked, don’t run away or play dead. Instead you should make yourself big, shout, and fight like hell once it latches on.

Animal attacks, trail running, ultra running, bear attack, boar attack, cougar attack, Bigfoot, bear bells

Seen in Glacier National Park

Black Bear – The summer the hubs and I backpacked for 6 weeks we saw 20+ of these fur friends. Including one that was being chased by an idiot with a video camera. If one turns on you, don’t make eye contact but talk to it in a low voice while walking away slowly. Fight back if you need to.

Animal attacks, trail running, ultra running, bear attack, boar attack, cougar attack, Bigfoot, bear bells

Seen in Banff National Park

Grizzly Bear – The cuter of the two teddy bears, but sadly the one with the bigger attitude. If one attacks, lie down and play dead while covering your head and neck.

Animal attacks, trail running, ultra running, bear attack, boar attack, cougar attack, Bigfoot, bear bells

Zack’s moose

Moose – The scariest and coolest of them all in my opinion. Zack was almost eaten by one. If it starts coming at you, back away slowly and get behind a tree or rock. Or your wife.

Animal attacks, trail running, ultra running, bear attack, boar attack, cougar attack, Bigfoot, bear bells

Baby mountain goats are the cutest things ever. They also spoke French

Owl – Don’t throw rocks at it and you’ll be fine.

Animal attacks, trail running, ultra running, bear attack, boar attack, cougar attack, Bigfoot, bear bells

This is my friend Rick who lives in Ecuador. That’s a boa above him. I would lose my shit if I saw that

Snake Avoid at all costs. If it has a rattle, run. If it blends in with the leaves, you’re fucked.

I’d love to hear your fun animal encounter stories!

For your viewing pleasure, let’s play Friend or Foe starring the animals that the Sylvans have encountered on our trips:

Animal attacks, trail running, ultra running, bear attack, boar attack, cougar attack, Bigfoot, bear bells

Foe. They smell

Animal attacks, trail running, ultra running, bear attack, boar attack, cougar attack, Bigfoot, bear bells

Friend. We are obsessed with moose

Animal attacks, trail running, ultra running, bear attack, boar attack, cougar attack, Bigfoot, bear bells

Foe. It’s clearly a zombie

Animal attacks, trail running, ultra running, bear attack, boar attack, cougar attack, Bigfoot, bear bells

Friend. This wolverine led the way to some gorgeous alpine lakes

Animal attacks, trail running, ultra running, bear attack, boar attack, cougar attack, Bigfoot, bear bells

Foe. I hear they’re dangerous

Animal attacks, trail running, ultra running, bear attack, boar attack, cougar attack, Bigfoot, bear bells

Friend. Teddy Roosevelt

Animal attacks, trail running, ultra running, bear attack, boar attack, cougar attack, Bigfoot, bear bells

Foe. His feet are too big and hairy

Animal attacks, trail running, ultra running, bear attack, boar attack, cougar attack, Bigfoot, bear bells

Friend. Baby moose!

Animal attacks, trail running, ultra running, bear attack, boar attack, cougar attack, Bigfoot, bear bells

Foe. Dumbass that was chasing a bear