Activities

4 Animals You Could Run Into While Camping

 

Appreciating nature and taking in everything Mother Nature has to give can be an extremely calming and peaceful experience. However, when you run into potentially dangerous animals while camping, it can be unnerving and terrifying. This is why you should be completely aware of your surroundings and be educated about possible wildlife in the vicinity to make sure you have adequate information on how to handle a situation if it arises. Below are some commonly found animals that campers run into and what to do if you run into them:

 

1. Coyotes

Coyotes are commonly seen on campsites across the US. Some have even crossbred with wolves, so they are the bigger, badder versions of their predecessors. What’s particularly unsettling about coyotes is that they aren’t really scared of humans, so you need to be careful. Who you need to be even more careful about is your pet; coyotes hunt other dogs, even larger breeds, in packs as a source for food.

 

On a spring day, a standing coyote is looking ahead.

 

What to Do:
Maintain eye contact with a coyote until it goes away. Do not turn your back toward it and definitely do not start running; that will trigger it to run after you. If you have a pet with you, keep a close eye on them, and keep them inside when sleeping.

 

 

 

2. Mountain Lions

You’re likely to run into these creatures in the west coast, especially California. They are commonly seen in search of food, which means they could be a possible threat; especially to pets and your kids. These large cats are mostly seen roaming around at sunrise, sunset and through the night – so keep your kids and pets close to you at that time.

 

Dangerous Cougar sitting on branch in the autumn forest background. Also known as mountain lion, puma, panther.

 

What to Do:

Stand tall and remain facing the mountain lion. Maintain your eye contact and grab a stick if it is close by to use it as a scaring tactic; do not remain crouching or bent over. Back away from the mountain lion slowly; do not turn your back or run.

 

 

 

3. Black Bears

Black bear encounters are common through many camp sites across the US. Though black bears are the smallest variety of their species, they are still pretty big! Most black bear encounters occur when the bear is searching for food that you have brought along with you, so make sure you have a bear canister and you store your food away from the campsite.

 

American black bear roaming around.

 

What to Do:

Stay calm and make your presence known; talk casually without being over excited or loud. If you don’t startle or engage the bear, they will acknowledge your presence and move along. Don’t make any sudden movements, and make sure the bear has a route it can escape from.

 

 

 

4. Alligators

If you find yourself camping near any lakes, marshes or swamps, be wary of these creatures. They have been known to cause many deaths in the US; they aren’t afraid to attack. It is best to stay far away from areas where you know they might be, but if you find yourself camping nearby, take all the precaution possible!

 

Alligator in Florida

 

What to Do:

Stay back, alligators aren’t as slow as you think! Try to keep as much distance between you and the animal as possible, and if you see it charging toward you, run! Run as fast as you can until you reach safety and then call someone for help.
The best thing to do is avoid animal encounters in the wild, but if you happen to come face-to-face with one, the most important thing to keep in mind is to stay calm and remember what to do.

 

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