Grizzly bear
Grizzly bears have an extremely powerful bite, possessing the capability to crush a bowling ball Reuters

A hunter in the US has survived being mauled by a grizzly bear by sticking his arm down its throat and activating the predator's gag reflex. Chase Dellwo, 26, used the tactic after coming face-to-face with the 180kg (28st) beast and remembering a piece of advice he had read in a magazine.

Dellwo was hunting with his brother Shane for elk in the Montana mountains and was hoping to guide the herd to a ridge where his brother was waiting. Without realising, Dellwo had come within a metre of a sleeping grizzly bear and attempted to retreat. He had only taken a few steps back when the bear swiped him off his feet and bit into his head.

"He let go but he was still on top of me roaring the loudest roar I have ever heard," Dellwo said. The powerful animal then sank its teeth into the hunter's leg and tossed him around in the air. Grizzly bears have a bite force of 8,000,000 pascals, which is enough to crush a bowling ball. As the powerful animal made another lunge for Dellwo, he recalled a story that he had come across in a magazine.

"I remembered an article that my grandmother gave me a long time ago that said large animals have bad gag reflexes," he said. "So I shoved my right arm down his throat." The advice worked and the bear retreated.

Bloodied and disoriented, Dellwo still needed help. "I forced myself to calm down and not to panic," he said. "I was lost. I cleared the blood out of my eyes. If I had allowed myself to panic, I would still be in there." He eventually found Shane who called the hospital to alert them and the pair raced to the medical facility for Chase to receive treatment.

Dellwo received a few hundred stitches, staples to his head, a bruised and swollen left eye and a deep puncture to his right leg. In spite of the injuries, he said: "I want everyone to know that it wasn't the bear's fault. He was as scared as I was."