Yesterday, Leah Reeder, a 15-year-old Florida girl, sustained injuries to her legs, back, neck and face after a bear attacked her and dragged her into a ditch in Eastpoint, Franklin County, according to an ABC 7 news report.
Reeder told first responders that she first tried screaming for help, but then she remembered to "play dead." According to the ABC report, her dog then charged at the bear and it ran back off into the woods.
Reeder's ability to think fast and remain calm thankfully saved her life. If you encounter a bear, here are some tips from the experts at The Bear Smart Society.- Remain calm. Stay together if you are in a group; you will appear larger and more intimidating if you stick together.
- Stand your ground. Identify yourself by speaking in a calm, appeasing tone. Back away slowly, preferably in the direction you came. Walk, don't run, and keep your eye on the bear so you can see how it will react. In most cases, the bear will flee.
- If the encounter is a surprise and you aren't carrying bear pepper spray, and the bear makes physical contact, fall to the ground and "play dead." Roll over onto your stomach and cover your neck and the back of your head with your hands. Keep your legs and elbows wide so the bear can't flip you over. When the attack stops, remain still and wait for the bear to leave. Do NOT get up until you are absolutely certain the bear is no longer in the area - even if you have to wait 30 minutes or longer.
- If an attack is prolonged or the bear starts eating you, it is no longer being defensive and you need fight for your life.
- Kick, punch or hit the bear with whatever weapon is available. Concentrate your attack on the face, eyes and nose.
Watch: Santa perfectly executes the "play dead" maneuver.