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Getting outdoors and connecting with nature is good for the soul. Of course, being out in the wilderness requires respect for the many animals that call it home. We often hear horror stories about animal encounters, but the reality is that most animals are afraid, curious, and docile when they come in contact with humans.
People on an online forum share their coolest animal encounters.
1. Petting a Mountain Lion Like a House Cat
One man shares a story from a day in his 20s when he was camping solo and eating lunch near a waterfall. A young mountain lion approached, and the man stop up to yell and look big. But all the lion wanted was some love.
“Instead of running away, the mountain lion sat down and just stared at me, almost like it was confused. I was worried that it might be sizing me up, so I continued making noise and tried to look even bigger. After a few moments, the mountain lion got up and cautiously approached me.
To my utter surprise, it stopped a few feet away, sat down again, and started purring. It was clear that it wasn’t being aggressive or threatening; it seemed more curious than anything. I slowly reached out my hand, and the mountain lion leaned in and sniffed it. It then proceeded to nudge my hand with its head, like a house cat asking for pets. I cautiously gave it a few gentle strokes, and it continued to purr.” WOW.
2. A Full Raccoon Parade
One man recalls having a group of raccoons following him around the park at 2 am.
“I was reading a book and eating a sandwich alone around 2 am on a picnic bench when I felt something tug at the sandwich in my hand. It was a young racoon with 3 or 4 of its siblings and what I assume was it’s mother. I was so focused on my book that I completely ignored them surrounding me. I let them have the sandwich but I grabbed the rest of my food and tried to squeeze myself out of the situation without any incident. I was prepared to throw more stuff at them. They ended up just following me around for a few hours after I ate my food. It was difficult not to want to pet them. I didn’t but we definitely interacted with each other.”
3. Face-to-Face with a Moose
One man recalls a moose got so close to him that he could see the color of its eyes.
“Me and him were getting drinking water from the little creek nearby (we were raised on a ranch, we know how the wilderness works) and then we see a big a** animal down the creek and we thought it was a bear. But it had giant bowl like antlers. It was a moose, and f***, it just looked at us, came walking slowly, and then it gets super close to my face. Like, I can see it’s eye color when it was pitch black outside and no source of light. I almost had a heart attack from how fast my heart was beating, as I was trying not to run from being stared at so intensely.”
4. A Wolf’s Helpful Hand (Paw?)
The same man (from the moose story) shares another amazing story about a wolf helping him catch a rabbit.
“I was out on my ranch near the Great Lakes, which is where wolves are mostly dominant in North Dakota. I was practicing hunting rabbits with my dad when we came across a very dark grey wolf chasing a rabbit that me and my dad scared from it’s hiding spot. He got it, and then just looked at us and walked over, dropped it by his feet and backed up a couple steps and just sat. Watching us, not defensively, just curiously.”
5. Fighting Over Chicken Eggs
One man shares a funny story about his encounter with a raccoon on his farm: “I was reaching in to my chicken coop to check for eggs one evening. It’s over my head, so I just stuck my hand in. I brushed fur. I almost fell off the stool I jerked my hand back so fast, and I looked and saw a raccoon staring at me, like ‘DUDE, ask first’.”
6. Excuse me, Buck
“Worked at a summer camp, was crossing a narrow bridge late at night, saw a form of someone walking towards me in the darkness so I moved to the side, a 6ft buck brushed past me.” Writes someone.
7. Security Breach and Stinky Close Call
One man had an expected encounter with a skunk while keeping watch over a golf course clubhouse.
“I used to work night security at a golf course, which meant that I would show up, kick teenagers out of the pond, lock the gate, then proceed to screw around on my laptop for the next 7 hours and 45 minutes.
My “computer desk” was a golf caddy and a folding chair that Id sit at in front of the clubhouse. One night while sitting there, I notice movement down near my foot. I’m not a jumpy person, so I casually peek out from around my laptop to see what it was. It was a skunk. Sniffing my shoe.
This was the night that I learned that violence does not solve all problems. I stood very still. Very very still. I did not even fart for fear of getting sprayed. Eventually the skunk moved on and I could move again in peace. But I will never forget the mixture of surprise, disgust, fear, and a little bit of humor at seeing that skunk.”
8. What’s Up Pig
A man recalls a random encounter with a large big in his residential neighborhood as a boy.
“I was walking home from school when I was around 10, and just when I got to my driveway, a giant pig walked past me. It was massive, especially when I was that age. It stopped in its tracks and stared at me, I stared back at it, and I kind of gave him the head nod that you do to people you acknowledge as you walk by (the downward nod because I didn’t know him and my animal brain wanted to protect my neck, not the upward nod you give to someone you know). He grunted in reply, which was what I was assuming his way of giving me a nod back, and then continued on his journey.”
9. Stick or Snake?
One man recalls a very close encounter with a poisonous snake.
“I was walking down the sidewalk to a store right around dusk so it was getting a bit dark. I was walking along and stepped over a stick and only after I got a few feet further when I thought that stick looked weird.
I looked back and it was a diamondback rattlesnake that I had stepped over like it was nothing. The snake looked confused.”
10. Black Panthers in Illinois
“It’s only crazy because they aren’t supposed to be anywhere around here- twice now I’ve seen a jet black cougar in Illinois. I think that would technically make it a panther. Once it was through a window, then a second time it walked right by my deer stand while I was sitting there. It looked intimidating and majestic, but still jumped for the sky when I made a noise just like a housecat would lol.” Writes one user.
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