Wild creatures are shy creatures, at least where
humans are concerned. They learn from their parents to be very
mistrustful of humans, because they have no way of knowing whether
or not we mean them harm. When faced with a threat, wild animals
believe they will survive only by fleeing, fighting, flirting or
Fleeing, or running away, is by far the
most popular way wild animals respond to danger. Because they do not
know that you mean no harm, most wild animals will try to get away
from you. It is strange to think that the animal
running away is even more frightened than you are!
Animals in a nest or den feel
cornered and will defend themselves if approached, especially if
they have young to protect. By defending themselves they are using
the next favourite choice: fighting.
Animals may try to fight
by threatening, especially when they
cannot get away quickly enough. Wild animals use the same sorts of
defence measures as their domestic cousins; they bite, peck,
scratch, kick and flap their wings. Snakes are a good example of
animals that fight, perhaps because they are not as good at running
away as those animals with legs or wings. If they are unable to
escape, snakes will try to bite whatever is threatening them.
Flirting is a way wild
animals trick the person or creature threatening them or their
babies. If a bird, such as a plover that nests on the ground, sees a
predator coming towards its nest, it will behave in a way that leads
the predator away. It flaps one of its wings while moving away from
its nest. This behaviour makes the predator think the parent bird is
injured. The predator begins to hunt the parent who flies away as
soon as it is wise to do so. Lured by the promise of an easy meal,
the predator is tricked into moving away from the ploverís nest.
flirting, is used by an animal only if there is no escape and if
there is no way to defend itself. When they decide to freeze,
animals lie down and donít move a muscle. They sometimes look as
though they are dead. Birds caught in a trap or net will sometimes
freeze and may appear very calm as you approach them, even though
they are extremely scared. By playing dead, they may be able to fool
predators, especially those who enjoy a good hunt, into leaving them
Although it is wonderful to
watch them in the wild, it is safest to avoid wild animals
where possible. Injured wild animals are
especially fearful because they know that they have less chance of
escaping, and so are more likely to hurt you if you get too close.
Remember wild animals donít know that you
want to help. Instead, they expect you are going to hurt
them, so if you find an injured wild animal
always call an adult for help.