Do you remember the old saying, “Don’t poke the bear?” Some people struggle with this very simple concept, which results in the bear (or a different animal) messing them up or doing something even worse.
Let’s talk about some famous folks who got more than they bargained for when they decided to get up close and personal with wild animals, proving even big shots can’t dodge the wild twists life throws their way.
1. Timothy Treadwell
Timothy Treadwell spent over a decade hanging out around wild bears. You can see where this one’s going, don’t you? Back in 2003, a bear attacked Treadwell and his girlfriend in Katmai National Park, Alaska, and things got really bad. It was so bad that parts of their bodies were missing. Grizzly bears are no joke.
2. Joseph Slowinski
Meet Joseph Slowinski, the snake whiz from the U.S. whose hobby and professional career were all about studying venomous snakes. When conducting research in the middle of nowhere in Myanmar back in 2001, he got bit by a Krait, and that was it for him. Cue the sad music. But hey, there’s a silver lining: three snake species have now been named in memory of Slowinski!
3. Alexander, the King of Greece
Being a puppet king of Greece, Alexander didn’t have a lot of power, so one day, sometime in 1920, while walking his dog, a wild monkey attacked them. Alexander did his best to scare the assailant away, but he got bitten. His people rush him to the hospital, but no one’s ready to pull the trigger on the whole amputation deal. Long story short, King Alexander kicked the bucket a few weeks later, at the ripe age of 27.
4. Guy Standing
The English actor and ex-Commander in the Royal Navy, Sir Guy Standing, was a big name during World War I. Post-war, he started doing theater and was actually very good at acting, which led to him starring in movies like Lives of a Bengal Lancer. In 1937, he got a not-so-friendly hello from a rattlesnake, and boom, he ended up having a fatal heart attack.
5. Jacky Boxberger
Jacques was a French athlete who held the junior world record in the 1500 meters. In 2001, while having a good time in Kenya with his close ones, he spots a wild elephant and decides to film it. Apparently, the elephant was quite shy and didn’t like all the attention, so it picked up the track star, slammed him into a tree, and, sadly, that was the end of the road for Jacques.
6. Jean Batten
Jean Gardner Batten, the Kiwi aviator, ruled the aviation world in 1939 by being the first woman to fly solo all the way from England to New Zealand. After decades of living a great life, Jean was bit by a dog while chillin’ in Majorca. No big deal, right? It’s just a dog. She decided not to seek medical help, which allowed the infection to spread, and, ultimately, Jean kicked the bucket. The strange part of this story is that the news about her tragic death started spreading in 1987, almost ten years after the funeral.
7. Taylor Mitchell
Check out the Canadian folksinger whose story took a heartbreaking turn when she was just 19. While taking a stroll in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, she got jumped by a pack of gnarly coyotes, which is highly unusual behavior. Sadly, Taylor didn’t make it, marking the first-ever recorded incident of an adult human being killed by coyotes.
8. Steve Irwin
So, there was this legendary wildlife celebrity, Steve Irwin, who was like the rockstar of nature shows. In every episode of his show “The Crocodile Hunter,” Irwin had us all on the edge of our seats, wrestling crocs and dancing with venomous snakes. The thrill and fear were real. But it doesn’t matter if he avoided death a hundred times; all it takes is one misstep. In 2006, while he was filming an underwater documentary on dangerous sea creatures, a random stingray attacked Steve right in the heart with its tail sting. There was no escaping that one.