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Are Swans Dangerous? Prevent Them Being Aggressive With These Tricks!

Are Swans Dangerous? Prevent Them Being Aggressive With These Tricks!

Swans are a symbol of grace. When looking at them, you wouldn’t think that these heavy-bodied and long-necked birds can do humans or any other animals any harm. But you know what they say, looks can be deceiving. 

Are Swans Dangerous?

Yes, swans are dangerous. Studies show that swans can be aggressive, especially during winters.

But while looking at the research in detail, I read that this aggression is more intraspecific, directed towards their own species. But that doesn’t mean that swans can not pose a threat to humans or other animals. 

A man once drowned because of a swan attack. A swan once killed a dog by continuously attacking it with its wings. There have been many similar cases like these.

What to do if the swans are aggressive when it’s not breeding or winter season?

If you see a swan being aggressive when it’s not protecting its eggs or cygnets, then it may have lost its fear for humans. Just like turkeys can lose their fear for humans when they’re living among them for years (insert turkey link), swans show the same behavior.

Can a Swan Kill You?

Even with its aggression, it is rare for a swan to kill you. Over the years, there have been some cases where the swans have killed people, but it is pretty uncommon. When threatened, they’ll puff their chests out and hiss at you while charging. They have a ‘trespassers will be prosecuted’ attitude.

What Does Hissing of a Swan Mean?

When a swan hisses at you, it sees you as an intruder who’s trying to enter its territory or harm its family. Its hissing is its way of threatening you.

Why Are Swans Aggressive?

Swans can be aggressive if they see you as a threat. The cause of a swan’s attack depends on how subtle or severe the attack indeed is. They have a fearsome reputation. If we consider gender, then male swans (cobs) tend to be more aggressive than female swans. Some reason for swans to go all Tai Lung on potential threats.

1. Protecting the Younglings

One of the major reasons why swans show aggression is to protect their young ones. The case where a man drowned due to a swan attack is because the swan was trying to protect its cygnets and saw the man as a threat.

2.  Protecting the Nests

During the breeding season, while the female swan is laying eggs, it’s the male swan’s duty to protect them. So, the cob is always on duty to scan the area for any intruder that may pose a potential threat to its eggs. Their first line of defence is hissing and making threatening motions, or you may just call it ‘bluffing’. That’s most of the time enough to make people step back, but sometimes if it’s not, then the real attack comes. 

3.  Protecting Their Mates

Their aggression does not only stop at their cygnets and nests, but swans are also extremely protective of their mates and can show aggression if they see you as a danger towards their mate. The male and female swans’ bond for life once their courtship is complete. If one swan’s mate were to die or leave, the other swan could die because of a broken heart. 

4.  For Food

Starvation or lack of food can lead swans to become aggressive. When they don’t have the proper resources, they tend to fight over the little food source they find. And if humans by chance are there with food, starvation can force them to show aggression towards humans.

5.  Fight of the Fittest

Food, as well as territorial competition, may cause the swans to attack other water birds. Continuous and extreme attacks of swans on other waterbirds can cause habitat change. Swans are known as the largest waterbird. Their body size is an advantage that makes them win every fight against other waterbirds. 

But according to research, attacks on other waterbirds are not as common as swans attacking their own kind. 

What to Do if a Swan Attacks You?

You might have guessed, by now, that swans are territorial waterbirds and will attack anyone who they see as a threat to their territory. To avoid a swan attack, my first piece of advice for you would be to not anger any swans in the first place. But if you do get caught up in the mix, here are a few things you can do.

1. Back Away Slowly

When you find yourself face to face with a swan that seems like it’s not happy to see you there, then slowly back away. Don’t make the mistake of turning your back towards the aggressive swan. Backing away will make the swans think that you’re not a threat.

2.   Don’t Attack

If a swan is chasing you, your second instinct would be to scare it off (the first would be to run). Your aggression will only be met with more aggression from the opposing side. Don’t yell at the swan or make any physical gestures towards it.

3.   Do Not Run

Running will encourage the swan to chase after you. If a swan is approaching you, then just walk away slowly with you facing it.

How to Prevent a Swan Attack?

In order to save yourself from the situation whose solution is stated above, here are some tips on how you can prevent getting ambushed by a swan.

1. Don’t Feed It

Feeding a swan can easily trigger an attack. Swans can lose their fear of humans when fed by them frequently. If you’re at a park and see swans by the lake, avoid feeding them and encourage others not to do so as well.

2.    Put Up the Fences

If you live near a place with swans or you indeed own swans, then separate them from the rest of your house so that you or your family members don’t get attacked by them. Put up fences or barriers separating them from your other part of the house.

Final Verdict

Reading this blog, you might have become aware of exactly how aggressive and dangerous swans can be. The main reason for their aggressiveness is that they might see you as a threat to them, their mate and their cygnets. 

Harming swans is unethical and against the law. So, your best option is to take preventive measures in order to avoid any attacks. And if you do see yourself face to face with an aggressive swan who looks like it’s ready to charge at you, then just back away slowly so that it doesn’t see you as a threat.

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