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10 Wild Animals That Trapped Terrified People

by Gary Pullman
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Simply being in the presence of wild animals in their native habitats is unsettling. Their gaze is pitiless. Quick and powerful, they are often equipped with sharp teeth or fangs and strong, penetrating claws that can rip and shred human flesh. Some sport antlers capable of rending and battering. Many are massive, weighing hundreds of pounds; their weight alone could crush a person to death. Wild animals are also unpredictable.

When such predators trap someone, uneasiness quickly turns to terror. In a battle to the death, there is little chance for a human being against such adversaries as a cougar; a venomous snake; a bear; an alligator; a polar bear; an elk; or even a determined camel, especially when there is no escape, unless there is an unassailable refuge, help arrives in time, one has a weapon at hand, or innovation, coupled with desperation, saves the day.

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10 Cougars Trap Canadian Man

Adam Nash was trapped—not by one, but by three—cougars! The wild cats circled the British Columbia resident as he sat, terrified, inside his car, parked on Vancouver Island. “Oh, my God,” he repeated, as the animals approached his vehicle.

For 20 minutes, which must have seemed a lifetime to the helpless captive, the cougars kept him at bay, before finally departing, giving Nash the opportunity to capture his terrifying experience on video. He later posted the footage, which was subsequently broadcast by CTV News, a division of the CTV Television Network in Canada.

According to the newscast, local teenagers driving along the same road at night also spotted the animals, which displayed no fear. Conservation officers suspect that the cougars were young and curious but added that Nash’s caution was warranted and that he had made the correct decision to remain in his car.

9 Tiger Snake Traps Australian Man

One of the world’s most venomous snakes trapped 80-year-old Bob Thatcher inside the close confines of his fishing boat. The retired banker was unaware, until it was too late, that the tiger snake had taken shelter aboard his vessel. Searching for bream, Thatcher was 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) from the Australian shore when the reptile emerged. Too far to swim to shore, he was unable to abandon his 1.8 meter by 1.2 meter (6 foot by 4 foot) watercraft and was stranded with the snake just 30 centimeters (about a foot) from his feet. “There’s no way out and you only have 6 ft by 4 ft. It’s an uncomfortable situation,” Thatcher summarized his ordeal.

It took him a nerve-racking 30 minutes to return to the shore. On the way, he phoned his son, who, in turn, called Snake Catchers. Baden Peter, a snake wrangler, was on hand when Thatcher returned to the boat ramp. The tiger snake had retreated into a hole housing the boat’s fuel tank. Using a reacher, Peter removed the snake, which, the wrangler suspects, took refuge aboard the watercraft after confusing it with dry land. Thatcher is lucky to be alive; his half-hour return to shore was plenty of time for him to have died, had the stowaway snake bitten him on the return trip. Professor Geoffrey Isbister, a snake venom expert and founder of the Australian Snakebite Project at the University of Newcastle, said, a victim of a tiger snake’s venom could succumb within 15 minutes, if the bite were severe enough and could experience blood clotting and paralysis.

8 Bear Traps California Couple

Barbara Rogers was upstairs. Downstairs, her husband Jim had just let their cats back into their residence. “There’s a bear in the house!” he cried. To her horror, Barbara, looking down the stairs, saw the 250-pound beast; the young predator had followed the cats into their Duarte, California, residence. The couple banged pots and pans, hoping the noise would frighten off their unwanted guest, but the bear wasn’t intimidated.

Barricading themselves in their upstairs bedroom, the couple dialed the 9-1-1 emergency telephone number. The operator told them to remain where they were. After ransacking the captives’ kitchen, eating the cats’ food from their dishes, devouring prunes, and stepping on a computer, the bear left. The couple’s quick thinking may have saved their lives.

7 Alligator Traps Florida Residents

Florida has much to recommend it: miles of beaches, exciting nightlife, fine golf courses, luxury resorts, Walt Disney World, fine food, offshore reefs perfect for scuba diving, fabulous gardens, and world-class shops and stores. Unfortunately, the Sunshine State also has a lot of alligators.

One of them visited an apartment complex, trapping residents inside. The 9-foot-long reptile rammed one person’s door, as it attempted to force its way inside, and otherwise terrorized residents for 20 minutes until help arrived. They were right to be scared. The alligator “lunged” at the trappers, twisting and turning as it tried to escape, before the animal, brought under control, was bound.

6 Alligator and Poisonous Snakes Trap Plash Island Woman

Following Hurricane Sally, which passed through Alabama and Florida coasts in 2020, Tina Bennett, a Plash Island, Florida, woman, was trapped inside her home by a “circling alligator.” The predatory reptile crawled through water only a few feet from her home. Bennett filmed her visitor as it maneuvered its way across her neighbor’s driveway. In sharing Bennett’s video, meteorologist Thomas Geboy warned viewers to avoid floodwaters. They were not safe to enter, he said, as they included “displaced wildlife” among washed-away debris and “downed power lines.” According to Bennett, the waters around her house also contained “poisonous snakes.”

5 Alligator Traps Plant City Man

A Plant City, Florida, man was trapped inside his house by an errant alligator until a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputy, assisted by a licensed trapper, rescued him. The terrified homeowner discovered the reptile as he started to leave his house: the 9.5-foot predator was on his steps, trying to force its way into his home.

Gary Morse, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, warned the public that they should be cautious during “the warmer months,” not only of alligators, but also of “all [other] reptiles.” The warmer weather makes them “more active” due to an increase in the rate of their metabolism, he explained.

Morse advised both Floridians and tourists who visit the Sunshine State to brush up on alligators. For educational purposes, the state even offers a free brochure, A Guide to Living with Alligators.

4 Camel Traps Florida Woman

Gloria Lancaster, of Florida, was faced with a dilemma when she was trapped under Joe Joe, a 600-pound camel, after she and her husband, a truck driver, stopped at Tiger Truck Stop near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to let their dog out, and their pet ran under the barbed-wire fence surrounding the camel’s pen. To rescue her pooch, Lancaster went after the dog, entering Joe Joe’s domain. The camel promptly sat on the woman, refusing to budge. She was being crushed; unable to use her arms, she had no way to save herself.

Lancaster said an idea occurred to her, and she acted on it. The camel’s testicles were in her face, and she bit them. The tactic did the trick, and she survived her ordeal, but not without injuries, including bruised ribs and a broken collarbone. She and the truck stop’s manager Pamela Bossier seem to blame each other. Lancaster said the owner should have made sure that his “petting zoo” was safe for children. Bossier countered, “None of this would have happened if they just would’ve had the dog on a leash instead of letting it roam free in a truck stop.” However, Lancaster doesn’t blame Joe Joe and doesn’t want anything to happen to the camel.

The truck stop owner has since installed more barbed wire to “secure” the camel’s pen and has posted signs to remind customers and others of local leash laws.

3 Polar Bears Trap Canadian Teen

A 17-year-old became prey when he was trapped on a floating chunk of ice adrift in the Hudson Bay. With his uncle, the lad had gone hunting polar bears on Saturday, but their snowmobile broke down 18 kilometers (11.18 miles) from Coral Harbour, near Nunavut’s Southampton Island. They set off on foot to seek assistance, but, on their way, they became separated, and the teen was set adrift on an ice floe that split off from the ice field they were traversing.

Now, with hypothermia setting in, the youth, carrying a rifle, encountered a trio of polar bears, an adult female, officials presume, and her two “older cubs.” When the mother bear approached him, the teen shot her, leaving her carcass behind with her young, which had not threatened the teen.

Fortunately, the hunters had been reported missing, and an air search was underway. The uncle was rescued on Sunday. Although the nephew was trapped on the ice floe with the female’s cubs, neither attacked, and the pilot of a plane hired by a government’s search-and-rescue agency spotted the youth, dropping chocolate bars and other candy to him. Unable to rescue him before dark, the aircraft lost sight of the teen.

He wasn’t seen again until Monday, when a crew aboard a military aircraft that had joined the search spotted him. Two of the search-and-rescue team members parachuted onto a larger ice floe nearby and rescued the youth on Monday. Despite his ordeal, the teen was in fairly good shape. “He was conscious, slightly hypothermic and appeared to have some frostbite,” said Jean-Pierre Sharp, who is associated with the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre at Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Ontario. The cubs remain in the area.

2 Elk Trap Colorado Man

Eric Sweatt returned to his Loveland, Colorado, home to find a pair of elk in his front yard. Climbing onto the top of his vehicle, he was trapped. Apparently, he decided to film the majestic animals to pass the time. His wife, Caprice Price Sweatt, said he could not “come in the house or make a move.”

Although the elk do not appear especially dangerous in the video, as, sometimes together, sometimes separately, they stare toward the video camera, survey the neighborhood, stroll about the couple’s front lawn and driveway, seek vegetation to graze on, cross the driveway, and peer around the corner of the house, they are wild animals. Big, powerful, and “armed” with large antlers, elk can seriously injure or kill people. According to a Canadian government website, “Male [elk] are particularly belligerent . . . . [and] a mother elk is extremely defensive if she thinks her calf is in danger.”

1 Bobcat Traps Mother and Her Children

Washington Township. in Morris County, New Jersey, was the scene of another incident in which a dangerous wild animal trapped people—this time, a mother and her two young children. The animal, a bobcat, entered the first floor of their house on East Mill Road, but the mother and her children, having spotted the wild cat near the back door, had already retreated to the refuge of the second-story bathroom, locking themselves inside.

Responding to a report of the cat’s home invasion, Sgt. Robert Oranchak and Officer Scott Myers saw the animal inside the house, on the first floor, and the police officers opened doors and the kitchen window. Nearly an hour afterward, the bobcat leaped through the open window and fled into nearby woods. The close call ended without contact between the bobcat and the family members. Fortunately, despite the danger of the wild cat’s presence in the house, no one was injured, and the animal did no damage to the terrified trio’s residence.

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About The Author: An English instructor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Gary L. Pullman, a regular contributor to Listverse, lives south of Area 51, which, according to his family and friends, explains “a lot.” His five-book series, An Adventure of the Old West, is available on Amazon.

fact checked by Jamie Frater