Ever encountered a black mamba on the move or that’s agitated? ... It's deceptively fast, and aggressive, and don't like people or any other animal in its breathing space. And when it strikes, nothing stops it from striking more than once. You're a goner. ... and when encountering or seeing black mamba, even when armed, I'll give it a very, very wide berth…
Good Stuff Dan!
A couple of points:
OK, first the mamba. It is very dangerous to generalise with ("black") mambas. They seem to differ in temperament by region. I don't have much experience with them, but my understanding is that the Northern TVL mambas are particularly aggressive. One friend of mine managed to survive an inspection by a large mamba while hunting, by "freezing". When it had left him, he exhaled and relaxed, and immediately it was back at him, having spotted the slight movement. (Mambas have unusually good vision for snakes.) But he passed muster that time too. His rifle was totally useless in that situation. My point is that freezing is not as easy as people think it is. The slightest tremor or blink might kill you. It is a tactic of last resort, like when the snake simply pops out of nowhere and your only other option is to scream for the antivenin. (good luck!)
The other case that springs to mind is when another friend was walking cheerfully through the dusk with a couple of branches over his shoulders (never mind why! He is an entomologist!) and suddenly a stick across the pathway rears up at an angle of about 45 degrees: large mamba! He made what turned out to be a bad choice. He froze.
Trouble was, the mamba had seen him and he was in its territory. It wasn't happy. It stared at him and suddenly lashed out at him, then vanished. It had hit him in his chest pocket -- in which he had been carrying a packet of cigarettes! He still has the packet, including fang marks, and the fags, with venom stains! It is the only case I personally know of, where smoking did anyone's health much good!
Now, in retrospect, he had done the wrong thing. My bet is that if he had quickly and quietly retreated backward, the snake would have ignored him. All it wanted was its own space, and its rearing, mamba-style at an angle, instead of erect like a cobra, was mamba-talk for "Go away!"
With mambas the best trick is to leave quietly. If you are more than several steps away a person in good health can outrun a mamba; the highest speed I have heard of was 20 KPH, and they don't have much endurance, so you can sprint if you like. But it shouldn't be necessary if you have time to retreat quietly.
Possibly apart from a mamba, there is no snake that is a threat if you see it first. Forget about all the "freezing" or panicking, or shooting. Just step away (not run
!), watching where you put your feet (which is what you should have done in the first place. It can't catch you and doesn't want to, even a spitter reared up ready to spit. (If you are not wearing glasses, put your hand over your eyes while stepping away from a rearing cobra-like snake. That's all.)
It is unusual for a puffy to strike if you don't step on it or sometimes if you step right
in front of it suddenly, probably kicking twigs or gravel at it.
BTW, bees can be a very nasty problem if you get yourself into a position where you irritate a hive where you can't move in a hurry, such as up a tree, up a cliff, in a swamp, or worst of all, in a thicket. You could find that a totally inoffensive little hive, totally inconspicuous, with only a few workers to-ing and fro-ing every few seconds suddenly erupts into a swarm of kamikazi killers. You can do something about a mamba, usually, but it is very hard to talk reason to a mob! But if you have learned to think ahead when you go into places where you can only move slowly, and know the (slight) smell, (slight) sound, and (inconspicuous) sight of bee activity, they generally aren't even interested in you.
And if the victim is the kind of trash that will deliberately tease any animal, I hope that a rabid squirrel does
Apart from doing silly things, such as you mentioned, the most dangerous thing in the wild, whether a park or not, is to drop your awareness; I don't mean dropping your guard; the wild is pretty safe in most ways most of the time, I mean losing your consciousness of what is going on around you, even small things. Everything short of germs you can safely avoid if you know it is there and are prepared, and being aware makes the difference between treading on a puffy or zipping blindly through the countryside in your vehicle when tick-hunting for the big five or on the other hand making a really life-changing, enjoyable experience with small medium and large creatures around you all the time.