Presumably every nature TV host has had that one early experience with nature that ends up shaping their career – the thrill of first glimpsing a rare species perhaps, or interacting with a wild animal for the first time. For Casey Anderson, host of National Geographic's 'America the Wild' and Kinect Nat Geo TV (an eight-episode series of interactive shows for the Xbox 360), it was a little more intense. While working at one of his first jobs at a Montana wildlife preserve, Anderson tried to intervene in a fight between wolves. He was then attacked by the entire pack, but was able to narrowly escape thanks to thick coveralls. "I'm standing there in what are now Carhartt Daisy Dukes, and I had to get right back on the horse," he recalls. "Now I look back and realize I had done everything wrong. This was my dream job and I nearly got killed." Thankfully, Anderson is still alive and well and able to tell us what to do when you bump into a mountain lion, why playing dead can get you killed, and why you should never try to win a shootout with a bear. Launch Gallery >>
Be cool like Fonzie.
Anderson says that shrieking, screaming, running and any other form of panic are your worst enemy. "When you scream or run, it instantly telegraphs one of two possible things to an animal," Anderson explains. "You are prey, or you are something in distress that needs to be quieted down so you don't draw unwanted attention or competition from other animals." While it's hard to know how you'll react if you encounter a deadly animal in the flesh, Anderson says you should mentally steel yourself to the possibility before entering the wilderness. Then, when the occasion arises, channel Arthur Fonzarelli: "Put your hands to the side and say aloud in a steady calming voice, 'Hey, Mr. Bison, sorry I got too close. I'm going to back up out of here and leave you alone,' and do literally just that." The idea is that while they won't understand your words obviously, your intent will be reflected in your body language, and keep the confrontational energy at bay. Then go back from where you came and count your lucky stars."