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You're attacked by a bear

bear attackBears are unpredictable, but there are steps you can take to improve your chances of surviving an attack. Do not run away if charged, advises Thomas Coyne, chief instructor at the Survival Training School of California, north of Los Angeles. "If you exhibit the behavior of prey, bears may treat you as prey."

Attempt to scare the bear away by making noise, suggests Cliff Hodges, the owner of Adventure Out, an outdoor school based in Santa Cruz, Calif. "Raise your arms and present yourself as threatening as possible."

If the animal comes too close, pepper spray formulated to repel bears is a highly effective tool. If you have no spray, try to determine whether you are a facing black bear or a grizzly. More common in the United States, black bears can be aggressive. Sometimes weighing in excess of 500 pounds, their fur color varies from blond to black. They have long snouts.

If you are attacked by a black bear and have no repellent spray, fight back with whatever weapons you have at hand.

In the lower 48 states, grizzlies can be found in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming and Washington, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They may grow to exceed 1,000 pounds and have more concave facial profiles than black bears. Their fur, which varies in color, has light tips and there is a pronounced hump between their shoulders.

If you are attacked by a grizzly (pictured), it may possible to survive by curling into a ball and remaining motionless, says Mark Wienert, the owner of Lifesong Wilderness Adventures in Oregon. He suggests lying on the ground while protecting your neck and abdomen.

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