Skin abrasions

First aid for wild animal attacks

Fact Checked

Wild animal attacks can occur among those who spend time outdoors such as trekking in trails or camping in far flung locations. Even though uncommon, wild animal attacks might occur and it is vital that you are prepared with what to do.


Right after a wild animal attack, the initial move is to check the bite or scratch from the animal to determine if it is a minor or severe wound.

  • Minor wounds involve unbroken or slightly damaged skin from an animal that you know has been immunized against rabies.
  • Severe wounds include scratches or bites that are evidently torn, badly bleeding or deep.
    Wild animal attacks
    Apply continuous pressure on the wound using a clean cloth or towel to stop the bleeding.

First aid for minor injuries from a wild animal

If possible, carefully cleanse the wound using bubbly warm water or squirt an antibacterial cleansing spray.

  • Apply an antibiotic cream on the injured area.
  • You have to cover the wound using a clean bandage.
  • Monitor the wound for any indications of infection such as drainage of pus, foul odor, warmth, intense pain or even reddish streaks radiating from the wound site.
  • In case the bite is close to a joint, foot, hand or finger, consult a doctor as soon as possible for further assessment since antibiotics might be needed for these bites.

First aid for severe wounds

  • Apply continuous pressure on the wound using a clean cloth or towel to stop the bleeding.
  • If possible, the affected area should be immobilized and keep it in an elevated position.
  • Seek immediate medical care.

Safety reminders on wild animal attack safety

  • Most wild animal attacks can be avoided with common sense. A good example is to avoid handling unfamiliar animals even though some might appear harmless.
  • A main issue of concern with animal bites is no other than secondary infection that can occur in less than 24 hours. This is the reason why it is important to keep the bite site clean. Puncture wounds are dangerous since bacteria might be embedded deep into the sensitive tissues.
  • Unprovoked animal bites carry the possibility that the animal has rabies. It is vital to seek further assessment by a doctor.
  • Seek immediate medical care if the immunization status of the animal is unknown, even for minor wounds. In case the animal belongs to someone but you do not know if it has been vaccinated for rabies, consult a doctor right away.
  • For deep puncture wounds on a joint, foot or hand, they are considered serious and requires treatment right away.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on wild animal attacks including wound care is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to manage and help individuals with both minor and severe wounds, register for a first aid and CPR course with Victoria First Aid.

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