The Most Dangerous Animals for Runners During Fall

By Robert Reese, Runner’s World
10/24/2013 11:31:35 AM

Fall's cooler temperatures make outdoor running more popular. We reached out to our fellow runners to find out what animals they were most afraid of. Most of the answers we received were expected, but there were a few surprises mixed in too. Keep an eye out for these dangerous animals on your next run--and follow our tips to stay safe!

PLUS: Can You Outrun the World's Most Dangerous Animals?


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.

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Credit: Runner's World

Canada Geese

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.

Note: If the geese are running, it's always polite to give them the right of way.


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


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-hopefully not as bad as the horror stories we've heard from fellow runners-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.


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. Take time to read these tips on what to do if you're attacked by a dog on the run.

For a complete lists of potentially dangerous animals, continue reading on

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