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(WHTM) — Spring means you may be encountering more animals out and about as they shake off the winter cold. But not all of those animal encounters are friendly.

One animal, in particular, has garnered a bad reputation, mostly because of how aggressive they are: geese.

Geese have a reputation for attacking or chasing anyone that crosses their path. According to Varment Guard Wildlife Services, this is because geese are extremely territorial. They like to be in their own space and do not want to share it with anyone else.

They are also protecting their young and their eggs. Geese build their nests on the ground, where plenty of threats can come after the geese or their offspring. They tend to hiss and scream if someone or something invades their space.

During the breeding season, while the female goose is sitting and incubating her eggs, the male goose (also called a gander) is not too far away – keeping an eye on her and the space around her. Ganders will honk, hiss, and even bite anything they perceive as a threat until the eggs are hatched.

Geese are not sharing creatures. Varment Guard Wildlife Service said that they occupy urban areas because there is plenty of food and water and a low risk of predators. Geese don’t care they are invading your space, but they do care if you invade theirs. They will become aggressive if they believe you are overstepping their boundaries.

Geese are also not easily spooked. They might get aggressive with a human of any size. Geese will go after anything seen as a threat, even gorillas.

Varment Guard Wildlife Service said that while geese will hiss and chase, an actual physical attack does not happen too often.

They offer the following tips to keep yourself safe from an aggressive goose or gander:

  • Watch for any hissing, headbobbing, or honking. This means the goose is ready to start chasing you.
  • Do not turn your back.
  • Stay calm and do not yell. If you start to yell, a goose may take it as a sign of aggression and could attack.

As a general rule, you should keep your distance and stay away from any goose or little gosling, no matter how cute they may be.