If you think getting stung by a bee is unlucky, just imagine getting bit by a snake, then a bear, then a shark.
20-year-old Dylan McWilliams is one such unlucky fellow. In the past four years, he’s been poisoned by a rattlesnake, mauled by a black bear, and just recently, bitten by a tiger shark.
The young outdoorsman from Colorado was out bodyboarding in Kauai last April 19 when he felt something on his leg.
“I saw the shark underneath me. I started kicking at it – I know I hit it at least once – and swam to shore as quickly as I could,” said Dylan, who has worked as a survival training instructor. “I didn’t know if I lost half my leg or what.”
The tiger shark, believed to be between six and eight feet, left a huge wound on Dylan’s leg that needed seven stitches.
But that’s not the only near-fatal encounter Dylan has had with wildlife. In July of last year, he was out camping in Colorado when, at around 4am, he woke up feeling something had clamped onto his head. It was, as it turns out, a black bear trying to drag him away with its teeth.
“This black bear grabbed me by the back of the head, and I was fighting back, poking it in the eye until it let me go,” said Dylan.
As a result of the attack, he needed nine staples to the back of his head, which until today hurts whenever he touches it.
The two unfortunate incidents follow an earlier encounter with a rattlesnake during a Utah hiking trip three years ago. Story goes, he was walking down a trail when he kicked a cactus – that wasn’t a cactus. It was a rattlesnake. And it bit him.
Luckily for the then-17-year-old, it was only a dry bite, so it wasn’t as life-threatening. He later told the media: “There was a little venom so I did get a bit sick for a couple of days.”
So what does Dylan think of animals after getting attacked thrice?
“I’ve always loved animals and spent as much time with them as I could,” said the aspiring police officer, who added that all these incidents were a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. “I don’t blame the shark, I don’t blame the bear, and I don’t blame the rattlesnake.”
“We have to respect [animals’] boundaries but I don’t think I was invading or provoking any of the attacks – they just happened.”
Ultimately, despite everything that’s happened, Dylan still thinks he’s quite lucky.
“It’s kind of crazy,” he said. “I don’t seem to have a lot of luck but it’s kind of lucky in unlucky situations.”