Bears1 of 12
Most bears, being omnivorous, would rather eat a bunch of berries than a runner, but that doesn't make them any less frightening if encountered on the trail. If you do come across one, the Colorado Division of Wildlife recommends that you make lots of noise, and talk to it so that it knows that you're human, and not prey.
Canada Geese2 of 12
Canada geese aren't exactly what you'd call a "deadly animal," but they're plenty vicious if you get between them and their goslings. They'll hiss, flap their wings, and sometimes even bite. So, if you find a goose on your running path, give it a wide berth.
Raccoons3 of 12
They may look cute and cuddly, but raccoons can be a serious threat when infected with rabies. Stories about raccoons attacking runners are all too common. We've reported raccoon attacks from Oklahoma and Seattle recently here on RunnersWorld.com.
Mosquitoes4 of 12
Bug Bite Horror Stories
Mosquitoes can range from being a nuisance to a legitimate health threat depending on the viruses that they're carrying. We've all gotten bug bites while running, but they're generally just a minor annoyance, the itchiness disappearing after a couple days. However, with incidents of West Nile virus on the rise, mosquito bites can be much more dangerous. To reduce your risk, apply bug repellent before heading out on your run. Also, avoid running between dusk and dawn if you can, since that's when the mosquitoes carrying West Nile are most likely to bite, according to the CDC.
Dogs5 of 12
Most dogs pose little or no threat to runners. But, the bad ones out there—the unsupervised, aggressive and untrained dogs—can be a very serious problem. Last October, we ran a lengthy story titled "When Dogs Attack" that told of a Southern California family that was brutally attacked while on a run. This wasn't an isolated incident; stories of runners being attacked by dogs frequently appear in the news.
Squirrels6 of 12
Squirrels, a dangerous animal? Really? We were surprised readers raised this one, but more than one runner complained about these critters getting in the way when they were doing speedwork, causing dangerous last-minute changes to foot strike. Rolling your ankle to avoid a squirrel is not only painful, but also embarrassing, so be extra careful out there.
Snakes7 of 12
If you see a snake on the road or trail you're running on, the best thing to do is simply change your course a bit and give it as much space as possible. According to an article we published on snake safety for runners, "Snakes likely try to defend themselves if they're cornered or harassed." So, don't corner or harass the snake. Leave it alone and it will leave you alone.
Mountain Lions8 of 12
Because of their limited range, mountain lions are not a threat for most of our readers. But, those of you out west, keep your eyes and ears open, especially when running on trails. If you do come across a mountain lion, you should try to make yourself look as big as possible and talk to the animal in a calm, firm voice so it realizes that you're not a deer.
Bees9 of 12
For most people, a bee sting is painful, but not necessarily dangerous. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, approximately 3 percent of the population suffers a severe allergic reaction from bee stings. Known as anaphylaxis, this reaction can be very serious, even deadly. And, even if you're not allergic, being stung repeatedly can result in an accumulation of venom strong enough to make you quite sick.
Stories of bees attacking runners appear in the news all too often. There was an Illinois cross country team that was attacked by bees after disturbing a hive during practice. Two Arizona runners were hospitalized after a severe bee attack on their group trail run. And 30 were hospitalized after bees attacked runners on a half marathon course in Japan back in 2008. Those are just a few of the many out there. Bee alert (get it?), and if you see a hive, leave it alone.
Alligators10 of 12
Most of our readers are safe from alligators merely by living far away from them. But, those of you down south, keep an eye out, especially when you're running near water. Alligators only live in freshwater, but can be found in saltwater during times of drought. The key thing to remember is to run away from a gator in a straight line and as fast as you can. They are speedy over short distances but will tire quickly and stop chasing.
Deer11 of 12
Most of the time, deer are timid and will run away when they spot humans. But, on occasion, they can be quite aggressive. Some of the stories are bizarre, such as the one about a deer chasing down a cross-