Shaken People Share Their Most Terrifying Encounters With Animals

Shaken People Share Their Most Terrifying Encounters With Animals

People Share Their Most Terrifying Run-Ins With Wild Animals

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Nature is not always the most forgiving place, especially for human beings. Wild predatory animals who could easily take us down are roaming everywhere. If you survive those encounters, you're sure to be shaken for life.

Redditor nightmaregirl18 asked:

What is your most terrifying animal encounter?

These were some of the answers.

See Ya Later, Alligator

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I'm from Florida and I was volunteering at a local nature conservancy. One of our tasks was to remove fallen logs that were blocking up a creek after a big storm. The creek was about chest deep, 15 feet wide, and opaque brown (Many Florida freshwater ways are browns b/c of tannins leached into the river from trees).

As I'm moving logs I notice a ~12 ft. alligator on the embankment I hadn't noticed before. It then slid into the creek I was in. I was with a land manager who was moving logs with me, and a herpetologist (who was in the canoe). I asked them what to do and they responded,"Well, those logs aren't gonna move themselves, and that gator's probably just trying to get away from us."

Still, spending 30 minutes in a creek you can't see anything, knowing there's an alligator lurking near your feet, moving logs WHICH LOOK LIKE F***ING ALLIGATORS was one of the most nerve-wracking things I've ever done.

Bear-er of Bad News

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I've been woken up by a bear sniffing my head once. Was cowboy camping (no tent) in Lyell Canyon in Yosemite once, when I hear something sniff right next to my head. My sleep addled brain thinks it's a ranger on a horse telling me to move my camp (had hiked about 20 miles that day. You have to be at least 4 miles into the canyon to camp, and I wasn't 100% sure I'd made it far enough since it was dark when I set up camp).

Anyways, I say "just one second", sit up, grope for my flashlight and turn it on to see a black bear a couple feet away.

I holler, he tears off, I get out and empty my bladder, and try to fall back asleep until I hear him coming around again. I make a bunch more noise, decide I'm not getting any more sleep, break camp and slowly night hike until the sun rises.

A Separate Peace

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When I was 12 a young stallion decided he wanted to play with me and almost killed me. He kicked and bit me and tried to trample me. He was my pet and was only treating me the way he'd treat a peer. I even knew that while it was happening. I made a huge mistake by turning my back on him while he was playful. He bit me and pulled me down. Knocked me down a couple of more times with a forefoot when I tried to get up. Reared up over me to stamp me a couple of times too. Still have the scar on my leg and that was a LONG time ago.

My dad basically saved my life by chasing him off. His response was - that was close! What did you learn?


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At the time I was working until 1am so I wouldn't get home until 2 or so. I opened the door to the house and felt what I thought was a breeze come by my leg. I don't really pay attention, walk over to my desk, put my keys down and turn the light on. Right when I do so, there are two opossums in the act of mating in the middle of my kitchen. They screamed, I screamed and we began the three hour dance of getting them out of my house. I ended up trapping them in a dog cage and dumping them out in the middle of my back yard.

Jaws Part VI

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When I was young, I went fishing with my dad and my best friend. We waded out through some deeper water to reach the shallow sandbar, where we fished for quite a while. The tide came in, and the water that had been just above my ankles was now above my waist.

Suddenly a large shark, about 7-8 feet, crashed through a school of mullet only a few feet away from me. Dad saw it, my best friend saw it, and for a second we all three just kind of froze with our mouths hanging open. Quietly, calmly, Dad told us to walk back to shore, splashing as little as possible. We did. But the tide had come in, and I wasn't as tall as the other two guys. The deeper water between the sandbar and shore reached their chests, but I could hardly keep my head above water while my feet barely bounced along the bottom, and I struggled to hold my fishing rod up out of the water. I was completely helpless, while we knew that a hungry shark was swimming somewhere in the area. It felt like a scene out of a nightmare, trying to run from an invisible monster, but my feet could barely touch the ground and I was hardly moving.

I know--- and even knew in that moment--- that I had little chance of being eaten by a shark, especially one who is focused on fish. Still, if I ever WERE to be attacked, that was the moment, and I was utterly defenseless. A few years later, a man was killed just a few miles away when he jumped off his dock and into the path of a large bull shark that was chasing mullet.

Complete Bull

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When I was a kid, my brother and I were playing on our grandparents farm. We snuck underneath the electric fence by shimmying on the ground in grooves the truck tires made in the mud at the entrance of of the animal pen. We really wanted to play with the sheep. We also didn't know that they had let the bull out of the barn and it was also in the pen. All of a sudden we see, almost as soon as it sees us. We start to panic and run screaming, which gets our dad, uncle and grandpa's attention. We can't jump the fence yet because it's still electrified. So this is the scene my grandma has looking out her kitchen window into the back yard : My dad and uncle hauling ass towards the fence, yelling for us to run towards the fence. My grandpa, a man in his 50's by then, hauling ass towards the barn to flip the switch that electrifies the fence, and my brother and I losing our minds trying to find a way out of the mess we got into.

Story ends fine enough. Grandpa got the electricity off and I was able to scramble up the fence to my dad. Then my grandpa and uncle went into the pen to distract the bull, who had locked his attention on him, long enough for my brother to escape as well. We were never left unsupervised on the farm after that.

Black Widow

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I moved to Colorado. About a month in one night I had gone to bed, and woke up on severe pain hours later. I felt nausea, throbbing pain around my abdomen, my muscles and back ached. I turned on the lights, and I had in my sleep rolled over a black widow spider and crushed it to death, which at some point had bit me. It's carcass lay in my bed. I freaked out, called 911, and put it in a mason jar so they thought I wasn't crazy. I was brought to the hospital where they treated me with pain management medications. The venom continued to spread. Every muscle ached and felt as though my body was being crushed. It soon began to get hard to breath and my blood pressure became irregular. The morphine has me drifting in and out of sleep. I prayed to God, who hours earlier I wasn't even sure I believed in. 12 hours I discharged. The venom ran its course for about 4 days, and he bite site intermittently itched for weeks. For the next year or two I had anxiety trying to go to sleep and reoccurring nightmares of the experience.


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I was very drunk at a wedding on a large property in rural NSW. I like to wander and explore when I drink. I was alone and suddenly confronted with a wombat. Wombats are massive balls of muscle. Being the drunk idiot I was, I was all like "awww hello me wombat" and began to approach it. The wombat did not like this. It charged me. It was so fast. My heart stopped and I turned and ran as fast as I could. The little bugger nearly caught me. I sprinted back to the wedding in fear for my life.

Recognition Filters

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Growing up, my grandma babysat me. She lived with my uncle. He had a Rottweiler, who was very friendly.

One day, when I was 9-10, I decided I wanted to pretend to be a wrestler. I did this by putting white masking tape on my hands and arms. I ended up fighting stuffed animals and all that. When I got tired, I just grabbed some action figures and went to the carport, which had deer stands. This was where the Rottweiler also slept.

So the dog was asleep when I got there. I started playing with the toys. A few minutes later I heard the dog stirring. I pay no mind to it. I then hear growling. I turn around and the dog is growling at me. I try to let her know it is me but she is still growling.

I then slowly back away and she lunges at me. Being the somewhat smart kid I was, I noticed immediately she was going for my arms. I rip off the masking tape, throw it at the dog, and run back into the house.

Avoided that dog for days until I was asked to feed her. She was friendly again.


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I lived in an old farmhouse that was set on an an overgrown market garden. The place was overrun by rats but I never saw them. You could just hear them rustling in the walls. I didn't want to poison them because I was afraid that one would die in the walls and stink the place out.

One night I went to bed and turned out the light. Immediately I realised I was thirsty and turned the light back on and stepped out to the kitchen. I interrupted a giant rat as he made his way across the kitchen floor. Obviously he had heard me go to bed and figured that I was down for the night and the coast was clear.

I don't know who was more startled - him or me! But I'll never forget the look of malevolent intelligence in his eyes. We bolted in opposite directions!! After that I set traps in the kitchen at night.

This Is War

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I was stationed in Japan for 3 out of the 6 years I was in the Navy. During that time I leased a Japanese house, and the shower was its own room, full walk-in with a tub, bench, etc. (Amazing) So as the post says, I stumble into the shower one morning still half asleep, and out of my peripherals I see a black flash from behind me and hear a thud. Look into the tub and there is a huntsman spider the size of my hand staring back at me. Holy sh-t. My best guess is it was on the wall behind me and got scared when I walked in. So I go into attack mode immediately. Grab the shower head which was on a hose, take aim looking to drown this thing in the tub drain, and as soon as I turned the water on it jumped out of the tub onto the wall and ran into the window sill. Tactic then became opening the window fast and pinching to death in the sill. As soon as I touched the glass it jumped out onto the wall again and ran out the shower door. Now I'm cornered in the shower peering out into the "powder room" to see the huntsman on the cabinet door waiting for me. Sneak to the front door of the house and grab a flip flop, come back to the powder room and wing the flip flop at the spider. Hit it, wound several of the legs, but do not kill it. It runs out of the bathroom and underneath the stairs, much slower than it was moving prior. Feeling confident that spider is cornered under the stairs, I grab a can of bug spray and move in to finish it. Looking closely under the stairs (it was a hollow staircase where you could see through the gaps between steps) I see a black "tail" curled over the back lip of one of the stairs and assume it's the spider hiding on the back of the step. Hit it with the spray, enter f-cking mukade centipede. It dropped off the back of the stair and started charging at me. I immediately peed a little. Front half of its body was up off the floor and its mouth was visibly biting. It backed me up all the way to the front door as I emptied the entire can of bug spray on it. By the time we got to the door, it was obviously overcome by the chemicals and just writhing around, so I grabbed the other flip flop and smashed it. Didn't work. Hit it a few times and it would not die, so I turned the flip flop on its edge and used it like a saw to cut the thing in half. Then remembered the spider. It was still under the stairs, so I blew under there and it ran out wounded and I smashed it with the flip flop saw. Then I screamed at the top of my lungs for 30 seconds. The whole battle took probably 3 minutes but it felt like a f-cking lifetime. I think being naked cause an adrenaline rush a thousand times greater than if I were fully clothed. WhenI got to work I was frazzled enough for my co-workers to notice. Can't tell if it was the worst morning of my life or my biggest triumph, but man won that day.

Nature Is Scary

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I did fieldwork back and forth between the US/UK and East and Southern Africa for ten years and in that time period, spent a good chunk of my life living at remote base camps so I have a few 'sh-t yourself' moments that I can list off the top off my head.

  1. I was chased by an elephant (it was worse as she had a calf)
  2. I know for a fact that I was stalked by at least two big cats twice (one being a leopard as it was the only large species around at the field site and the other was most likely a rogue male lion given that one was seen close by earlier and was known to hang out in the area).
  3. (this one occurred in Alaska). It was my day off and I was reading in the main tent as everyone went into town and I turned around only to find a moose cow and calf about five metres away from me.
  4. (this is the most recent event). We were having a party one night and I guess someone forgot to shut the kitchen door. I woke up in the morning hung over and decided to make coffee. The rubbish bag was undernearth the sink and I heard something in it (I was directly over it) and I saw coils within striking distance from a Mozambique spitting cobra.
  5. two spotted hyenas broke into our camp, killed a few dogs and then went over to a few tents (including mine) and pushed their muzzle through. The most surreal thing about that was, if you know anything about spotted hyenas, they actually make a noise every now and called a "whoop". Its insanely loud. One of them actually made that noise (it hurt my ears) but interestingly enough, it turns out that their is actually a growl that is always made directly after the whoop. So, really close up it sounds like "whoooop, grrrr" (and so on).

I have a few other stories but none of them were as terrifying as those or made me feel that my life was directly threatened.

Sheltie Fear

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As a kid, I spent a lot of time with my babysitter's kids at their house and they had a sheltie dog. This is a smallish, friendly breed but my babysitter's son was a nightmare to it and would chase it around the with a nerf gun or tackle it and was basically just abusing this animal while his family did nothing.

I was 7 and couldn't do much and tbh the family had worse abuse going on than a kid terrorizing a dog, so I kept quiet about it. One day, a fly is just chilling over my head (very clean household lol) and the dog starts growling at it and ends up mauling me to get to it.

It ate part of my upper lip. I can't say 100% that it ate my lip but this dog's face was in my face and we never found the missing chunk of flesh it gauged out, so I always just say it bit me because that's the most sense I can make out of the blur of OH MY GOD DOG MOUTH AND TEETH AND FUR in my face. A triangular chunk of face and lip just... gone.

Worst part is I'm afraid of shelties now, which is embarrassing. Second worst part is I kept hanging out with the babysitter's kids after they gave up the dog and like a year later they revealed they just gave it to their cousins; they revealed this by taking me to said cousins' house where the "retrained" dog was.

Scotland, Eh?

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I was cycling up a mountain in the Scottish Highlands (my gran lives there), and as I went round a corner, I came face to face with a huuuuge highland cow which was running down the mountain the opposite way. Instead of jumping off the path I thought the cow was be friendly and edge over to let me by: big mistake... it threw its head as I went by, almost impaling me and throwing me off the path and into a 20ft tumble down the mountain.


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I out ran a swarm of bees. I was young and in Straya, and we lived on the front of a farm. I went exploring a lot , it was really cool. I found a bees nest in a huge fallen tree. I had watched a lot of cartoons, and wanted to know if the bees would come out in an arrow and get me if I whacked it with a stick. So I did. They did not. I was disappointed and climbed around the fallen tree. The bees do attack, just not immediately. And not in an arrow. In a cloud. Suddenly they were all around me. I sprinted home, about 2k, and if I slowed down the bees caught up. I ran into our yard and shut he gate, thinking I was safe. I wasn't, obviously and got stung a few times. I deserved it though don't go beating up animal homes.


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Went swimming at the beach and decided to race my mate out to the shark net buoys. I'm 5 metres away, giving it my all when I slap my hand down into the water for my next stroke and hit something real squishy. I stopped and looked up to find I'd booped a box jellyfish square on the top of the thing. Noped out of there so hard. The worst bit was I didn't even win the race.

Koala Tea

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Scene: late night back dirt road, with steep drop on one side, mountain wall on other. Big fat koala in the middle of the road, scratching its butt with one death claw, while the other shoved leaves into its mouth and glared at me with its beady eyes as it willfully ignored my horn.

I was tired and grumpy so got out and started yelling it at and flapping my arms. Big mistake. The damn thing growled and lunged towards me. Now koala arms are longer than you realize, and they are tipped with death claws that can plunge into hardwood. So I ran back to my car, but wasn't going to make the door. Instead I lunged at the bullbar and climbed onto the bonnet. Deathclaws Mcgee followed, swinging up like a monkey, still growling like the spawn of satans most std ridden teddy. I scrambled backwards and up the windscreen, drawing my legs back just in time to see the claws scratch down my windshield. Luckily they couldn't grip. Scream/growling in frustration, the fat fluffy terror sat on my bonnet and hooked both windshield wipers back and out while it grumbled and grunted, not 4 feet below me.

Needless to say I escaped. A passing milk tanker stopped and the guy used a prod to get the evil scratchy creature off my car and march it back into the bush and whatever hellish portal it escaped from. Trucker then proceeds to double over in laughter as he helps me down and surveys the damage. So, so many scratches on the bonnet and glass. Trucker tells everyone that day, and the next about saving me from the rabid beastie. I am both mocked and revered.

Not A Dessert

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F-cking magpies. I was riding my bike to primary school one day and two streets away out of nowhere I feel the flap of wings on my shoulder and it flys by in front of me. It was quite large, probably an adult and it came back but I saw it and ducked. After that it flew by a few more times (repeatedly actually) and it actually hit me a few times hard and left a few beak dents in my helmet. I could only peg my bike as fast as possible to school until I was through it's "territory".

Quite a few other instances being swooped by the black and white death birds but another time with friends I gave myself a bleeding nose after ducking and slamming my face on my own bikes handlebars...

My friends thought that was funny.

The Kangaroo Mafia

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This isn't from me but from my mate. Once on a school camp for 21 days in Alpine Australia, we were forced to sleep alone for 48 hours. So at around 2am on the second night, I heard a shout from where he was sleeping. He told me the next morning that a kangaroo stole his hiking pack and that in panic, he threw a water jug at it.

Low and behold, the kangaroo regrouped after a short time and surrounded him in a circle. All he remembered were like five pairs of eyes staring back at him in the night. I have yet to ask him how he managed to fend them off. But yeah, that's Australia for you.


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UP of Michigan. I was bow hunting for whitetail, sitting in full camo on a downed tree, leaning against another tree, in a dark, thick cedar swamp. I dozed off for a while and woke to the crunching sound of footsteps. I darted my eyes around and saw the back end of a canine as it stalked through the trees within about 20 yards, going from my right to my left. From the reddish in the fur I assumed it was a coyote and not a wolf, although I didn't see it long, and it was a BIG coyote. As it got far enough to the left I lost sight completely behind the tree I was leaning against and could only hear it.

I sat there with an arrow nocked, just listening when suddenly I heard and felt a thud of this animal jumping up on the log I was sitting on. I sat there and listened to sniffing sounds at the back of my head for a few seconds. It then jumped back down and I heard it trot away, as calmly as it had approached. My heart was racing the whole time, but it wasn't "terrifying" since coyotes/wolves pose literally zero threat to humans.

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