Animals encounters aren't always cute and cuddly. Sometimes they are surprising, scary and shocking. Here are some of the most memorable animal encounters of 2021.
Otters on Attack
Otters have always seemed like docile creatures, but in Alaska, appearances can be deceiving as the animals have been attacking people and dogs.
In early September, a 9-year-old boy was rushed to the hospital and treated for rabies after being bitten by a river otter. The child was not the only person this month who was attacked.
The attacks are not limited to people, as CBS reported a dog was bitten at a different area of University Lake.
While river otter attacks have happened in recent years, they are not common, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Due to this, officials are wondering why it has happened so frequently.
Scary Slumber Party
An Atlanta woman found herself face-to-face with a wild cat in her bed.
Kristine Frank woke up to a serval 6 inches from her after her husband left the door open to take their dog out.
The wild cat is native to Africa, so the Department of Natural Resources is doing an investigation on the origins of this animal within the Brookhaven neighborhood and has set up traps throughout the area.
Alfie, The Cat
Alfie, the cat, gets to spend the last of his nine lives at home.
The ginger-colored feline went missing 12 years ago from his British home. Owner Shelley Brockbank said he had a penchant for wandering and hitching car rides.
She was floored to see his image on an animal shelter's website, with a listing saying he was a stray. So she went to see him, and sure enough, it was Alfie.
There was no doubt it was him, though he had aged quite a lot, she said.
Alfie probably had several homes during his time away, but now he's back where he should be.
Two Lucky Surfers
Two surfers catching the waves on a Puerto Rico beach swam frantically in the choppy waters as soon as they saw they weren’t alone. A massive shark was trailing them only a few feet away.
Dramatic footage captured the shark’s dorsal fin sticking out from the water. In the video, Rolando Montes tries to get back to shore as his surfing partner follows.
Both surfers were able to escape without injury.
One Ugly Fish
One scary-looking sea creature has got San Diego beachgoers wishing he'd stayed in the deep. A lancetfish about four feet long washed up on shore in La Jolla.
Lancetfish are medium-sized open ocean predators typically found 6,000 feet below the ocean's surface, snacking on — well — each other since these guys are cannibals.
There isn't a clear reason why this creature of the deep ended up on land.
Camels have been kicked out of a Saudi Arabian beauty pageant after being caught using Botox.
Authorities conducted the biggest-ever crackdown on camel beauty contestants and found that some of the animals had received Botox injections and other artificial touch-ups.
Botox is a banned substance from the competition.
Over 40 camels were disqualified from the annual pageant and have lost out on the coveted $66 million prize at the Abdulaziz Camel Festival.
Festive Raccoon Attack
A Massachusetts woman recalls the terrifying moment a raccoon attacked her while putting up Christmas lights at her home.
"I'm screaming wicked loud. He's screeching, and we're like having a 'Crocodile Dundee' attack," Donna Sanginario said.
The sweatshirt she was wearing had blood and a hole on it after the terrifying attack.
Finally, after screaming for help, the raccoon let go. Sanginario called 911, and after that tussle, she says she feels lucky to be alive.
Dog vs. Tire
After Blaze was left home alone, boredom got the best of him, and he ended up getting his head stuck in a tire.
Luckily, quick-thinking firefighters used coconut oil to free the pup.
A wild monkey living in the forests of Malaysia kidnapped a two-week-old puppy named Saru and held it hostage for three days until the puppy was rescued.
The known abductor, a hungry macaque, is part of a gang of primates known to steal food from homes in the Taman Letari Putra region of Malaysia.
After a three-day abduction, a few good Samaritans came to Saru’s aid. After the dramatic rescue, the wild monkey disappeared back into the forest.
One Lucky Pup
A 9-month-old border collie puppy fell 40 feet down a steep cliff in California and miraculously was uninjured.
The incident unfolded about 23 miles south of San Francisco, and Rescuers used a pulley system to hoist the pup to safety.
After the scary ordeal, the fire department cautioned dog owners to “always keep your dogs on a leash near the cliffs."
Amusement Park Blooper
As if a rollercoaster at an amusement park isn’t thrilling enough, this New Jersey teen had the heart-stopping experience of a lifetime when a seagull smacked into her face while on the slingshot ride at Wildwood’s Morey’s Piers.
“I didn’t know what to do when it hit me,” 13-year-old Kiley Holman said. “I was just nervous it was going to peck me.”
Kiley, from Weatherly, had been at the amusement park on July 6, celebrating her friend Georgia Reed’s 14th birthday.
They hopped onto the slingshot ride when suddenly, a seagull became stuck between her face and the over-the-shoulder seat restraint.
Kiley eventually threw the bird off her face, and thankfully, neither the bird nor Kiley was hurt in the incident.
“I’m glad it didn’t poop on me,” Kiley joked.
Scary Polar Bear
Polar bears are in extreme danger of extinction due to climate change.
A recent shocking study showed that the genetic diversity of polar bears in Norway has decreased 10% from 1995 to 2016.
The two most recent generations of polar bears on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard were found to turn to inbreeding due to their dwindling population.
The Barents Sea has experienced a dramatic loss of sea ice, which is one of the primary contributors to these changes in the lives of the bears.
Because of the diminished supply of ice available, the polar bears have been forced to change their diets from seals to birds and bird eggs, and some in other areas of the Arctic have turned to cannibalism.
After recently looking through a sound archive, a Dutch scientist believes a duck in the 1980s learned how to swear.
An Australian musk duck was rumored to have used the phrase, "You bloody fool," on a recording made by an Australian scientist in 1987. The infamous bird was named Ripper the Duck.
The fowl's background and origin are said to be lost to time, but the expert says the recordings serve as proof that Ripper did indeed know the words.
Passengers aboard a Spirit Airlines flight were evacuated after a bird was sucked into the engine, igniting a fire as the plane barreled down the runway at Atlantic City International Airport in Jersey.
Footage from inside the cabin shows just how scared passengers were as they tried to get off the plane. They lined up for their turn, then used the emergency chute to exit safely.
In a statement, Spirit Airlines commended their crew for handling the situation “swiftly and safely.” They also gave the passengers full refunds.
Dog or Fox?
Maribel Sotelo and her family brought home a frisky, lovable pup from a local shop in a Lima, Peru. He frolicked with other dogs in a neighborhood full of chickens, guinea pigs and ducks.
Then he started eating the animals.
As it turned out, Run Run wasn't a dog at all. He was an Andean fox, complete with a bushy tail, pointy ears and a triangular head.
The state National Forest and Wildlife Service is now searching for him and plans to relocate him to a zoo or sanctuary.
Model Wants a New Smile
A model's career is in doubt after a dog bit her on the face. Now she hopes plastic surgeons can restore her smile.
Brooklinn Khoury, 22, was just starting her career when her cousin's pit bull attacked her, ripping off her upper lift. "He was hanging off of my mouth," Khoury said.
At first, she thought it was just a minor bite, but the true realization quickly set in.
Khoury has since had multiple surgeries to rebuild her lip, documenting the journey on social media. Doctors have taken skin and nerves from her arm, transplanting them to create a new, functioning lip.
Through it all, Khoury says she still loves dogs. And while she still has several more surgeries ahead, she is looking forward to getting her smile back.
Dog in a Drain Gets Rescued
Texas firefighters rescued a deaf 15-year-old dog stuck in a drain pipe for 11 hours.
A child from the neighborhood offered up a skateboard so rescuers could slide it into the drain and give the dog something to grip onto.
Once it did, the dog was able to be pulled out.
Hero Therapy Dog
A therapy dog is being hailed a hero after saving a woman who authorities said was on the verge of jumping off a bridge.
Multi-agency crews arrived at the scene. When police negotiators realized they weren’t making the progress they had hoped, a team member suggested they call Digby.
Digby came right to the rescue. And his temperament, empathy, and goofy expressions apparently went a long way. He knew exactly what to do in the emergency situation he and his team members faced.
Firefighters Save Pup
Firefighters in an Upstate New York town had to hit the ice and save a dog trapped in a frozen pond.
Rescue crews hit the scene and the ice to save the dog, as the Frewsburg Fire Department noted on their Facebook page.
"He saw them and got excited," firefighter Nick Niles said. "He was able to crawl out to them. The ice was very thin, and then they were able to get him."
The dog, named Tux, is back at home safe and sound.
Tiny Dog Rescue
Dylan Berian and his friends were enjoying a day of boating off the coast of Florida when they saw a small dog stranded in the water nearby.
Berian didn’t hesitate and jumped right in with his clothes on. His friends aboard the motorboat near Fort Lauderdale pulled in the dog, who was wearing a collar.
Zuko has since been reunited with his owner and is doing fine.
Dog Saved From Iceberg
Russian sailors conducted an unusual animal rescue last week when they retrieved a dog from an iceberg.
The crew of an icebreaker near the Arctic noticed the fluffy white pup stranded on some sea ice, and they lowered a ladder and called to her.
The canine came in from the cold, and warmed up aboard the ship while the crew called around to find her owner — which they did.
A Ghost Dog?
The thought of ghosts, in general, is spooky, but what if the spirit is a playful pup?
Jake DeMarco from Australia was left confused and creeped out after his dog Ryder was caught on tape playing with what looks like a ghost dog.
In the clip, Ryder and a white dog-shaped figure are playfully chasing each other and running around the backyard. After a few seconds, the white figure seems to just vanish.
In the footage, it looks like another dog maybe snuck into the backyard, but DeMarco said that isn’t the case since his backyard is enclosed.
Florida Man Battles Alligator
A Florida man went viral after heroically wrangling an angry alligator into a garbage can.
Eugene Bozzi, a father and Army vet, posted video of the scary encounter on Instagram, saying, “I got kids to protect.”
Bozzi faced off with the gator, with only a garbage can between them. The gator hissed as it was cornered by the fearless homeowner.
Onlookers couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Finally, the decisive moment: with the gator all the way in the trash can, Bozzi closed the lid.
After the gator was in the can, the dad wheeled it about 400 yards to a pond and carefully released it into the water.
Hunstman vs. Human
A huntsman spider made an unexpected — and unwanted — visit during a health official's press conference.
Queensland, Australia Health Minister Yvette D'Ath was giving an update on the COVID-19 situation when a huntsman spider started crawling on her leg.
And she handled it better than most. "Can someone please get that spider off," she said while keeping her composure.
"This shows how controlled I can be," she added. "I don't like huntsman, but I am going to keep going and pretend I don't have a huntsman on me right now and let someone else manage this, but if it gets anywhere near my face, please let me know."
Alligator VS. Drone
Flying a drone in for a close-up of an alligator might get you a cool shot, but it also might be the last thing your drone ever sees.
Travel blogger Dev Langer was in Florida’s Everglades and wanted to get a close-up of a gator with her new drone. But the hungry animal had other ideas.
The alligator, nicknamed George by the stunned tourists, jumped up from the water and bit right through the drone’s battery.
Smoke billowed from its jaws as it munched on the flying camera.
Dog Survives Alligator Attack
A South Carolina man walking his dog had a traumatizing experience when the pup was attacked by an alligator in a neighborhood pond.
Bruce Savage said he was with Hanna when he noticed that the retractable leash she was on was going into the water, but there was no dog.
“Literally, my whole system shut down,” Savage said. “My ears shut down. I couldn’t hear anything, except for myself screaming my dog’s name. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Savage jumped into action and was miraculously able to pull his dog out of the alligator's mouth. Hanna luckily survived, but her tail was bitten off and she sustained injuries to her backside.
Mountain Goat VS. Bear
A mountain goat was able to fend off a grizzly bear attack with its sharp horns.
According to Parks Canada, a recent forensic necropsy of the female grizzly bear suggests she was killed by a goat, seemingly after its razor-like horns punctured her neck and armpits.
The bear’s body was found by a hiker, and the carcass was airlifted out that day in an effort not to attract additional predators.
17-Year-Old Saves Dogs From Bear
A brave teen came to the rescue as her four dogs faced off with a big brown bear trying to invade the house’s yard with two cubs.
The bear was captured on video swiping its paw at one of the pups. Then 17-year-old Hailey Morinico ran out and pushed the bear off the wall with her own two hands.
She then grabbed all the dogs and ran inside to safety.
Aside from some minor scratches, the dogs were perfectly fine.
Man injured by Jaguar
A Florida man jumped over the safety barrier and stuck his hand inside the jaguar exhibit at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and was clawed by one of the big cats, zoo officials said.
The twenty-something male, who was not identified, jumped over the gate between the viewing area of the exhibit and fence to try to get the attention of the big cat.
He then stuck his hand through the mesh of the area that separates the Jaguars from the outside.The man was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries
Bear Attacks Couple
The Blue Ridge Parkway Facebook page announced that a couple and their dog were treated for injuries following a bear attack in the parking area of the Folk Art Center on the scenic highway.
They were having a picnic near Asheville, North Carolina, when their dog alerted them about the bear. The unleashed dog ran at the bear, barking loudly, which is possibly what agitated the bear.
Afterward, the bear repeatedly attacked the couple for several minutes as they retreated to safety in their car. After the incident, the pair drove to Mission Hospital and were treated for injuries. They were later released.