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 >>
Don't (always) play dead.
Anderson insists that remaining cool and calmly backing away from animals is always the way to go. Almost always, that is. When it's obvious that your competition is riled up, things change instantly. If it's because you simply surprised it, then making yourself passive, avoiding eye contact, and playing dead actually works pretty well. But if you've been deemed prey, then you're going to have to man up. "In that situation, if you play dead, you may as well sprinkle salt and pepper over yourself," Anderson says. While you should avoid eye contact with wild animals to calm them down, do the opposite if it's clear they plan to attack. "Be assertive and firm towards the animal – you want to look big and strong, so hold yourself with good posture, speak forcefully, and say 'I am not prey' while holding your ground." Anderson says. Obviously, it's dicey, but avoid screaming and waving your arms (actions that will cause a predator to want to quiet you by attacking), and don't turn and try to run. That will instantly trigger their predator instincts, and makes the killing all the more fun for them.
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