Wild Animal Safety Tips by HellaWella
February 1, 2018 5:57 am | by National Park Paws | Posted in
Camping, Dogs, Hiking, Nature, Safety
Exploring the American country side is an amazing way to spend time with your dog. But we share this great space with a diverse population of wild animals. We offer you some helpful wild animal safety tips by HellaWella's Freeze or Flee: A Survival Guide for Dangerous Animal Encounters - Illustrated by Liam Gooley.
If approached: Do no run, avoid eye contact, stand your ground
If attacked: Play dead, lie on stomach or curl into a ball
Prevention: Bring pepper spray, make sure your camp is clean
Where can they be found:Brown Bears – In North America, grizzly bears previously ranged from Alaska down to Mexico and as far east as the western shores of Hudson Bay; the species is now found in Alaska, south through much of western Canada, and into portions of the northwestern United States (including Idaho, Montana, Washington and Wyoming), extending as far south as Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.Black Bears – The current range of black bears in the United States is constant throughout most of the Northeast, and within the Appalachian Mountains almost continuously from Maine to north Georgia, the northern Midwest, the Rocky Mountain region, the West Coast and Alaska. However, it becomes increasingly fragmented or absent in other regions
If you see one: Stay back, usually shy creatures they will attack if they feel threatened
If you hear one: Listen up! This is the rattlesnake warning sign, keep on the look out. Note that baby rattlesnakes may not make a sound
Prevention: Wear appropriate shoes, keep on the look out and stick to open areas
Where can they be found: Rattlesnakes can be found in nearly all 50 U.S. states. They are most abundant in the desert sands of the Southwest, but they also like grasslands, scrub brush and rocky hills. They can be found in the swamplands of the Southeastern United States and in the meadows of the Northeast. These snakes can handle high elevation and are found everywhere from sea level to 11,000 feet, according to the San Diego Zoo.
If approached: Act aggressive, noisy and throw things if necessary, do not turn away, make eye contact
If attacked: Fight back! protect your neck and head
Prevention: Be aware of your surroundings. Never feed a coyote
Where can they be found: The ubiquitous coyote is found throughout North America from eastern Alaska to New England and south through Mexico to Panama.
How to Identify: Matted hair, acting erratically, foaming at mouth
If Seen: Avoid the animal, walk in the opposite direction
If bitten: Wash the area and get medical attention quickly
Prevention: Keep garbage can sealed and do not feed them
Where can they be found: They can be found throughout North America. Once thought to be more coastal animals, they have been expanding through out the U.S. only within the last 100 years.
Crocodile & Alligators
If attacked: Hit them in the eyes and nose, roll in the same direction as it
If Seen: Stay calm, avoid sudden movement and keep your distance
Prevention: Avoid inlets, backwaters and other areas known to inhabit crocodiles or alligators. Do not corner them, feed them or come into contact with a nest.
Where can they be found: Crocodiles can only be found in the southern tip of Florida but have been seen farther north towards Tampa. Alligators however can be found in many southern coastal states from Texas to the Carolinas.
If seen: Avoid it, they will sting you
If stung: Stay calm, get medical attention
Prevention: Shake out clothing and shoes before putting them on. Wear long sleeved shirts and pants. If prone to allergic reaction to stings consider carrying anti-histamine or epinephrine
Where can they be found: Typically found in South western American states
If seen: They dont like confrontation, back away slowly
If approached: Make yourself seem large and threatening, throw things if necessary
If attacked: Literally fight for your life
Prevention: Hike in groups, carry a walking stick
Where can they be found: The cougar population has been in serious decline since the 1900s. They are now mostly seen in western U.S. states from California to Washington and only rarely spotted elsewhere. There has been recent sitings in Tennessee, Illinois, Connecticut and Wisconsin.
If seen: Get out of its path
If stung: If not on land, get to shore. Neutralize the sting with vinegar or salt water, not fresh water and please don’t pee on it!
Prevention: Lotion like SPF, keep an eye out for them they can be hard to see
Where can they be found: Any open ocean, inlet and washed up on beaches
If seen: Walk away slowly without making eye contact
If approached: Make yourself look bigger, do not show teeth!
If attacked: Fight back, protect neck and head, improvise weapon
Prevention: Keep a clean camp, consider leaving your pet at home
Where can they be found: The species’ modern range in North America is mostly confined to Alaska and Canada, with populations also occurring in Northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and small portions of Washington, Idaho and northern Oregon and Montana. A functional wolf population should exist in California by 2024 according to estimates by state wildlife officials.
If seen: Leave the water and find land
If approached: Play dead or float, do not make sudden motions
If attacked: Fight back, aim for head, eyes in particular
Prevention: Avoid bright or shiny clothing. Do not swim when bleeding
Where can they be found: Sharks can be found in most American coastal waters although attacks are rare.
Originally published by
HellaWella and Illustrated by Liam Gooley
Have you encountered any of these animals while hiking with your dog? Tell us about your experience or tips below!
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