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Selfies Gone Wrong: 3 Reasons Not to Take Selfies with Wild Animals

Curators’ Corner

Selfies Gone Wrong: 3 Reasons Not to Take Selfies with Wild Animals

The Animal Kingdom is amazing and inspiring. When you’re out in the wild, you want to document your adventures. That’s cool – that’s what cameras are for. But in humanity’s never-ending quest for the ultimate Facebook profile picture, you’ll be tempted to make some bad decisions, particularly with Animalia.

As a general rule of thumb, taking a selfie with an animal that has any capacity to inflict any sort of harm on you is a bad idea. Your pet Poodle? Go for it. Your friend’s cat? A little risky, but probably okay. A rattlesnake? Come on, man.

If you’re ever tempted to take a selfie with a wild animal, here are three reasons – stout, small and slithery – to resist the urge:

Three Bison Selfie Attacks in Three Months

So far this year, at least three people have learned the hard way that bison are not photo-friendly. The latest, a 43-year-old woman from Mississippi, earned a full-steam-ahead launch from a bison in Yellowstone National Park after getting too close and turning her back on the brawny beast. She escaped with minor injuries, but described the incident to ABC News as the most frightening experience she has ever had.


That case marked the third month in a row in which a bison snapped during a selfie. In May, a 16-year-old girl suffered serious injuries at Yellowstone after a bison interrupted the moment by goring her. And in June, a 62-year-old man also had serious injuries from being tossed in the air multiple times.

“We have a little saying here: ‘Give them room, use your zoom,’” Yellowstone spokeswoman Julena Campbell told ABC.

Bison weigh between 1,000 and 2,000 pounds. If you’re close enough to take a selfie with one, you might be in for an unexpected relocation.

Squirrel Snaps

In 2014, 17-year-old Brian Genest from Maine was visiting colleges in Tampa, Florida when he came across a friendly-looking squirrel sitting on a park handrail. Naturally, he leaned in to take a quick selfie with his new friend. When the camera clicked and flashed, the squirrel freaked out and jumped on Genest, climbing under his shirt and clinging to his back before finally skittering away.

“He was just in that spot where my arm can’t reach him,” Genest said. “I threw myself on the ground, and that scared him off.”


Genest was unharmed and the whole situation was more humorous than anything, but wait until you see this next case.

The $153,000 Rattlesnake Selfie

A San Diego man who dragged and picked up a rattlesnake thought he had found his defining selfie moment when the lethal reptile sunk its teeth into him.

“My whole body was shaking and gyrating,” Todd Fassler said. “He literally paralyzed my whole body.”

While nursing a deep purple, cringe-worthy, completely nauseating arm, Fassler was hit with a medical bill totaling more than $153,000 for the large anti-venom supply (roughly 36 vials at $2,300 a pop) and intensive care provided during his five-day hospital stay.

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The lesson in each of these occurrences is clear – don’t do things like this: