News & Opinion | July 12, 2018 9:00 am

This 20-Year-Old Survived Snake, Bear and Shark Attacks

They all happened within 36 months.

Black bear attack
A Canadian outdoorsman was attacked by a black bear. (Getty)
Getty Images/iStockphoto

At only 20-years-old, Dylan McWilliams is either the luckiest person in the world or the unluckiest person, after being attacked by a rattlesnake, bear and shark all within 36 months — but he did live to tell all three tales. McWilliams had spent the past few years backpacking around the United States and Canada, making money through odd jobs and as an outdoors survival instructor.

He was bitten by the rattlesnake in September 2015 while hiking out of Grandstaff Canyon, near Moab, Utah. He and his friends were a few miles from the trailhead when he stepped off a ledge and felt a “sharp, needle-like” stab in his right leg. When he looked down, he saw the snake. Thanks to his training, he knew that roughly 50 percent of rattlesnake bites are dry, which means no injected venom, so he decided to take his chances and sat down to wait. But after 20 minutes, his leg didn’t swell, so the group kept hiking. He vomited once that night and the next morning.

Then in July, he was in Colorado sleeping outside when he woke up to a crunch and felt a jerk at the base of his skull. A 300-pound male black bear had “dug his claws” into McWilliams’ scalp. The bear dragged him by the head out of his sleeping bag, so McWilliams punched the bear hard and jabbed its eyeballs. The bear dropped him, stomped on his chest a few times and then ran away. He was rushed to a hospital. He had five bite marks in his head, deep cuts from claws on his face and bruises on his chest and neck. McWilliams camped again two days later.

Finally, he was attacked by a tiger shark in April while surfing off the coast of Shipwreck Beach in Hawaii. He was about 30 yards offshore when he felt a hard bump and then felt a twinge on his left calf. He saw his own blood start to flow around him. He kicked out and ended up connecting with the shark’s nose. The six-foot shark was swimming under his surfboard. McWilliams spun around and paddled as quickly as he could to shore. He got seven stitches. Three days later, he duct-taped his leg and surfed the same beach.