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Taking selfies near large and dangerous wildlife. Toying with snakes. Fighting bedbugs with fire.
Sometimes when people interact casually with animals, their behavior is inappropriate, deliberately provocative, ill-informed or careless, and this can have catastrophic or even deadly consequences. The outcomes of such encounters — which often result in people or animals suffering injury or even death — seem all the more tragic because they could have easily been avoided, had the human participants practiced a little more common sense.
Here are some of the unfortunate confrontations between people and animals that were in the news in 2017.
Gored by an elkSlide 2 of 17
Gored by an elk
A woman was gored by a bull elk in Missouri's Lone Elk Park on Oct. 8, while walking among the park's herd of 17 animals and taking selfies with three other people, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The group approached close to the herd, despite signs warning visitors to stay at least 100 feet away from the elk; a nature photographer nearby watched the scene unfold as the dominant male bellowed a warning and then charged, according to the Post-Dispatch.
Elk (Cervus elaphus) are one of the largest members of the deer family, second only to moose in height and heft. Adult males can measure up to 9 feet (3 meters) long and weigh as much as 830 pounds (376 kilograms), according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The elk's horns connected with the woman's arm, and she was bleeding after the encounter, the Post-Dispatch reported.Slide 3 of 17
A pet's deadly biteSlide 4 of 17
A pet's deadly bite
In Australia, a teenager nearly died after he was bitten by a pet snake on Nov. 7, while returning the serpent to its enclosure. The snake, an inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus), is native to Australia and is recognized as one of the world's most deadly snake species.
Though the snake was a pet, it was an exceptionally dangerous one. Inland taipan feed almost exclusively on mammals, so their venom has evolved into a cocktail that is uniquely effective on the mammalian body, making it exceedingly toxic to all mammals — including people, Live Science previously reported.Slide 5 of 17
Kissing a fishSlide 6 of 17
Kissing a fish
A local fisherman's tradition of kissing the first catch almost ended a man's life on a pier in Bournemouth, England, on Oct. 5.
When the man tried to kiss the fish — a 6-inch-long (14 centimeters) Dover sole — it wriggled out of his hands and jumped down his throat, lodging in his windpipe. By the time paramedics arrived on the scene, the man had stopped breathing and was in cardiac arrest, but the emergency responders were able to extract the fish and restart his heart after several minutes.Slide 7 of 17
Face-biting boaSlide 8 of 17