You may have heard of this insane story. Dylan McWilliams, a Colorado native and outdoor enthusiast, was attacked by a bear, a shark, and a rattlesnake – all in the course of 36 months. This went viral a couple months ago, but as stories continue to circulate about animal encounters and attacks this summer, it seems relevant to revisit how 1) this is insanely crazy and 2) odds are it’s not going to happen to you.
According to National Geographic, the odds of all three of these incidents happening to one person is 893 quadrillion to one. 893 QUADRILLION TO ONE. For reference here's an infographic of your chances of dying ranked by sport and activity.
While each of these incidents could have resulted in death, it's important to remember that these types of animal encounters are rare. "It's kind of crazy," Dylan told the BBC, "I don't seem to have a lot of luck but it's kind of lucky in unlucky situations.” Considering how he had his head in the jaws of a bear, that’s a pretty good way to sum it up.
Let’s start from the beginning: Dylan got bitten by a rattlesnake in Moab, Utah while hiking. He didn’t go to the hospital, but rather waited it out. He says 60% of rattlesnake bites are nonvenomous. His gamble paid off; he vomited a couple times, but that was it. NatGeo tells us that the odds of getting bit by a nonvenomous snake in the US are 1 in 37,500. In other words, you are more likely to write a New York Times Bestseller than get bitten by a snake.
Up next: a bear attack. While camping near Boulder, CO, Dylan got dragged from his tent by a bear. Thankfully he was able to punch it and and alert the others camping near him, scaring the bear off. He did, however, have to get 9 staples in his head. So, what are the odds that you'll be injured by a bear? National Geographic tells us it’s 1 in 2.1 million. To put that in perspective, you are more likely to get injured by a toilet than get attacked by a bear.
Last, but certainly not least, Dylan got bitten by a tiger shark when surfing. He swam to shore and was fine, but had some gnarly stitches to show for it. The odds of being attacked by a shark in U.S. waters is 1 in 11.5 million. You are more likely to become the President of the United States than get hurt by a shark.
The most amazing part of it all? "I don't blame the shark, I don't blame the bear, and I don't blame the rattlesnake," Dylan told BBC. In fact, his Instagram bio reads #istilllovebears. If Dylan almost died and still loves all of these animals, then we can too, because odds are we can all coexist peacefully.