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You wake up in a forest, naked and lying on your back.

As you stand up you realize something has been watching you, it seems to be a dog, a very big f*** dog, a wolf!

The wolf, bigger than you'd ever expect rushes in eager to attack you.

6 meters between you and the wolf is the line separating you from a one way ticket to eternal sleep.

You've got one chance, running is not an option, you've gotta endure through the pain as the wolf bites into you and meanwhile hurt it really badly in a weak spot.

What weak spots in a wolf can be severly damaged without weapons and cause the wolf to run away or be defeated?

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    $\begingroup$ Just how big is this dire wolf? "bigger than a wolf" describes everything from a big wolf to an elephant. $\endgroup$
    – Erik
    Sep 13, 2021 at 8:11
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    $\begingroup$ thats not a wolf, that is the same size as a polar bear, it will bite THROUGH your arm. not on to it. your guy is dead. hard stop. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Sep 13, 2021 at 20:41
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    $\begingroup$ @SteroidSandwich they're bred for that size though, and are fed well enough to support it. Direwolf skeletons are about the same sort of height and length as modern north american wolves, though with a somewhat more robust head and they probably weighed perhaps 50% more. Chunky, not giant! D&D is not an ideal biology textbook, it turns out. $\endgroup$ Sep 14, 2021 at 13:45
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    $\begingroup$ @SteroidSandwich There are not dogs as big as that. And it's extremely unrealistic for a regular wolf. You said eye height. Wolves have their eyes pretty in line with their shoulders at a normal gait. The tallest shoulder height of a dog in the world is 27 inches (and it weighed 314lbs). Nowhere near "shoulder height" for an adult man which is around 50 inches. And adding an extra 23 inches to that dog's height and keeping the same proportions would increase its weight (by the square cube law) up to ~1994lbs; almost twice the weight of the average polar bear. $\endgroup$ Sep 14, 2021 at 15:42
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    $\begingroup$ @sphennings nah, I'm not askin that, that's just your free interpretation. $\endgroup$
    – User 89947
    Sep 15, 2021 at 19:28

10 Answers 10


An unarmed, unarmoured, unprepared human against a large apex predator? That can be expected to hunt in packs? That's a fairly clever hunter? That eats things that are substantially bigger, stronger, faster, tougher and more dangerous than humans?

Your best bet is to offer it a limb you don't need as much... your off-hand, perhaps. If you're lucky, it won't like the taste of you very much, and will give up. If you're really lucky, it'll choke on some of the splintery little bones, but I wouldn't pin my hopes on that. It is at least slightly more likely than plan B, which is hope that a tree falls on it.

What weak spots in a wolf can be severly [sic] damaged without weapons and cause the wolf to run away or be defeated?

The same weak points that any predatory mammal has. Realistically though, you will simply not be able to hit them... you are a naked ape, with limited capacity for resisting teeth and claws, you have no useful natural weapons, and you're trying to go one-on-one with an actual killing machine. You know how you don't hear many stories about people kicking bears in the balls, or poking tigers in the eyes, and escaping to tell the tale?

There's a reason for that. Don't fight apex predators on their own terms. You gonna get et.

(also, even if you did somehow manage this miraculous action, this is a pack animal, and do you really think you're gonna pull it off more than once? against multiple opponents? nope)

Consider though, it might not actually attack you. You're a funny shape, and a funny smell. You aren't much like its regular prey. Wolves aren't stupid. It isn't going to just charge in and attack immediately like a computer game random encounter. If it has rabies, it'll behave as you're asking, and then you're SOL (and even if you did survive, you've probably just contracted a deadly virus, yay!)

Your only hope is that it reacts like a normal, healthy wolf, and you're able to back away, take stock of the situation and start equipping yourself with the tools you need to survive. Cos without them, you won't.

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ A naked human can't even win in a real fight against a same-weight chimp. The only reason we aren't slaughtered by chimps is because they have no reason to hunt us. Also, our body goes into shock as a defense mechanism, which is absent in a lot of animals; they can walk away with chunks of missing flesh, and die later, whereas a human will just blackout from pain, and then the animal gets to eat you alive. $\endgroup$
    – Nelson
    Sep 13, 2021 at 11:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Nelson: “a human will just blackout from pain” Nope. Adrenaline is a hell of a drug. There are plenty of stories of soldiers who only noticed after the battle that they’ve been shot. Plenty of cases where athletes finished races despite bleeding wounds and broken limbs. Example from this year’s Tour de France $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Sep 13, 2021 at 11:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Michael it depends on the type of injury, got hurt badly myself and more than once noticed I was bleeding only after taking a shower, also had a broken limb and only noticed because it was getting dark from the internal bleeding. But a kick to the liver and you are down and shut off. $\endgroup$
    – User 89947
    Sep 13, 2021 at 16:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Nelson: I'll note, most of the difference between modern humans and chimps is that we're soft and lazy. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors (who actually used their muscles all the time) were a lot stronger on average. That said, it does seem chimps have a bit of a lead on us; they have more fast twitch muscles fibers, giving them greater burst strength, but lower endurance. It wouldn't be as lopsided a win as the monster direwolf would have, and the human has a non-trivial chance of winning against the chimp if they're in good shape. $\endgroup$ Sep 15, 2021 at 5:38

This is a game. You aren't going to get killed in the first 10 seconds.



If you attack it will kill you. If you run it will chase you and then if you turn and attack it will kill you.

The wolf has been there. It could have killed you in your sleep but it did not. Why not? Now it is rushing in because you woke up. It is excited that you woke up.

If you stand your ground it will watch you. If you talk to it and look at its tail, it might wag its tail. If you hold out your hands it might come get a scratch. If you throw a stick it might go get it and crunch it up.

This is a game. A dire wolf sidekick will be cool.

  • 11
    $\begingroup$ What a way to dodge the question. $\endgroup$
    – Henry Shao
    Sep 12, 2021 at 22:18
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    $\begingroup$ Love it. :D (+1) $\endgroup$
    – Rekesoft
    Sep 13, 2021 at 8:30
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    $\begingroup$ @HenryShao *doge the question $\endgroup$ Sep 13, 2021 at 20:06
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    $\begingroup$ The direwolf is better suited to the environment, more experienced in it, and much better equipped to survive and indeed facilitate the survival of the human. I feel like it is soon-to-be-hypothermic nudist with opposable thumbs who is going to be the sidekick in this situation. $\endgroup$ Sep 14, 2021 at 18:52

Using examples of people attacked by dogs and jaguar, ram your fist down its throat. Your hand is large enough it can't bite down effectively once it is far enough in, and it will choke. This will be hard to do but not impossible, even if you are bit drive your arm deeper, no predator is ready for that, prey tries to escape it does not push deeper. Other wise ideas are to kick, punch, and grab, a human easily has the strength to rip a wolf's ear off or gouge an eye. Pin it if you can, humans are much better wrestlers than wolves.

Even better kick or try to pin the wolf first, lettings yourself get bit is stupid, a wolf is unlikely to let you go if it has your arm because it can drag you to the ground. Stay on your feet and hurt it first, predators are not movie monsters if you are strange and dangerous they will leave you alone.

Before it even gets to you grab rocks or soil and throw them at it, humans have defended themselves form predators by throwing things since forever, most predators are confused by projectiles, and a human can throw rocks HARD, hard enough to crush its skull. The mixture of oddity + pain + aggression = get out of there to a predator.

Even if it does not run away it will be far more cautious, which buys you time to find a better weapon or tree o climb.

If you successfully injure the wolf, it may leave you alone, animals are not movie monsters, they generally ty to avoid dangerous fights. If you are aggressive you are automatically a threat, if you do things that have never happened before then you are a strange threat to be left alone.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Remember, this isn't a wolf. It's a dire wolf. A normal wolf's eyes are at less than human waist height. OP said this dire wolf has eyes at human shoulder height. Even some of the largest mammal predators such as tigers and polar bears have an eye height less than our shoulder height when they're on all 4's. So, we're looking at something that weighs well over 1000 pounds. A human trying to wrestle something that weighs over 1000 pounds is like a toddler trying to wrestle an adult. $\endgroup$ Sep 13, 2021 at 20:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Shufflepants that detail was added after my answer, and drastically changes it, real dire wolves were just on the high end of gray wolf sizes. this is a fantasy wolf not a dire wolf. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Sep 13, 2021 at 20:43

Just like sharks. The eyes. Creatures are psychologically inclined to avoid permanent damage (except eusocial creatures or a few outliers like badgers). Poking its eyes is your only chance of really threatening to deal permanent damage enough to at least let it back off. If it backs off permanently is the question though.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Adding to this, since (most) animals don't have any healthcare options beyond "lick the wound" and do the animal-equivalent of prayer, predatory creatures are usually extremely risk adverse and aim to make their hunts as unfair as possible. In nature, this means that they typically gang up on and target sick, weak, or very young animals because even a scratch could result in infection and death. Assuming this wolf isn't a) at the edge of starvation, b) trained to kill, or c) enjoys killing for fun, it's not likely to attack a strange humanoid, so long as the human appears ready to fight $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    Sep 13, 2021 at 15:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Dragongeek yes! Going further this is why you can see something like a small waterfowl chase a swan away when breeding. Even without infection you have to spend energy healing the wound and avoid opening the wound again. As humans we forget that all other life is one meal away from starvation. A herbivore might not get enough food together and get weaker, ending in a vicious cycle of slowly starving or being too weak to avoid a predator. Predators mostly need all their strength to catch prey, any wounds can cause starvation (exception: social animals that nurse them back to strength). $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Sep 13, 2021 at 17:16

Maintain eye contact.

Look as big as you can make yourself look.

Back away slowly while maintaining eye contact.

That is, treat it like a wolf.

However, if you can, see if there are any large branches in convenient grabbing position, or trees you can climb. Use your ape advantages! With a branch you can go for its eyes. Rocks can do damage, and dirt can blind.

Note that the leafless branches low on trees often break off with no more than hand pressure, so be careful if you use them for climbing, but hey -- the other way gets you a club.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ rocks for throwing work even better, you can drive lions away with those. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Sep 13, 2021 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ That's true! Expanding $\endgroup$
    – Mary
    Sep 13, 2021 at 1:23

Be more Brian Blessed

As famously reported by the man himself and illustrated by Jim'll Paint It, Brian Blessed once punched a polar bear when it invaded his tent. Apparently clocking the bear on the nose and loudly shouting at it to f*** off (and we know how loud Brian Blessed can be!) was enough to make it want to be elsewhere. When it comes to apex predators on land, polar bears are well in the running for top place, so if it works on a polar bear then it'll work on anything.

Predators, by definition, want to eat prey. They also want to not get injured in the process. If you look aggressive enough, regardless of size, there's a decent chance you can make it decide that there are easier meals out there.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Every animal has to do the math. Chance of meal + size of meal - risk of injury = odds of attack. If you make it seem like you can hurt it (even if you can't), that changes the math. Good answer. $\endgroup$
    – Michael W.
    Sep 13, 2021 at 21:14
  • $\begingroup$ Crazy beats strong 9 times out of 10. Animals instinctively know this. A man has successfully strangled a bear. Another one successfully ripped tongue from jaguar's mouth, causing it to choke. croatiaweek.com/herzegovina-man-kills-bear-with-bare-hands $\endgroup$
    – jo1storm
    Sep 15, 2021 at 12:52

First, don't get bit.

Wolves (Dire or not) will go for the throat, this would be instantly fatal. If they grab your arm, the canines will pass straight through, they'll then (once you're crippled with pain and shock) seek a better grip on something vital. Don't let them bite you.

You'll need to be fast and bold.

Hold your forearm out horizontally as a point of aim for the attacker, then at the last minute (impossible to practice the timing, just go for it) drop it a few inches, then thrust it upwards with full force. This will have the effect of knocking the D-wolf's mouth closed and their head up.

Wrap both your arms around it's neck pressing your head against its and holding on as tight as you can. At this time the animal will try to bite whatever it can reach - ear, scalp. Ignore the pain, the growling, the claws raking your chest and stomach.


The thing will be jumping, snarling and writhing, trying to free itself, you must wrestle it to the ground. Your objective is to wrap your legs around its waste, cannids are not well protected there. Cross your ankles and using the strength in your quads - kick away with all your might. You might lose grip with the ankles at first, but lock them and kick again crushing it's gut up into its diaphragm. With any luck you'll have the strength to rupture the membrane and muscle between it's abdomen and its chest - thrusting its guts into the space it needs for its lungs and make it impossible for the creature to breath.

Keep kicking hard until you're sure that it's not going to put up any more fight, then pick yourself up and seek first aid for your missing ear, lacerated chest and half a face.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ It what those rear claws are raking that concerns me. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Sep 12, 2021 at 21:53
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    $\begingroup$ Gotta up those squat numbers then $\endgroup$
    – User 89947
    Sep 12, 2021 at 22:33
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    $\begingroup$ OP said eye height was human shoulder height. A regular wolf has an eye height lower than human waist height. Even tigers and polar bears have eye height less than human shoulder height. So, we're looking at a dire wolf that is almost certainly more than 1000 pounds. No one is wrestling that. $\endgroup$ Sep 13, 2021 at 20:41

One friend got attacked by a Karakachan like dog because he patted a female dog of its interest. While dog was not super aggressive in general, it was a real attack. His quick reaction (before he could think about it) was to give it a uppercut which caused the dog to fly back whimpering.

So a strong man can scare off a predator giving a few real-strong punches and not letting the predator byte. So a strong punch and like John's answer - throwing rocks and sand at it, can realistically scare off a large wolf.

  1. Snout
  2. Eyes
  3. Dewlap
  4. Groin

1, 2 and 4 hit hard, 3 is caine specific, if You grab and hold then is posibility that wolf surrender and find You alfa male. But need a lot of strengh and agility to do that.

Can try to put arm in to jaw and rip throat from inside but that is so much risky.


Only option I see is to make like Ryan Hall. Dive for an ankle, wrap your legs around its upper limb, and use your entire body to put enough torque into its joint that it snaps.

It probably won't work though.


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