When planning a trip to the mountains, it’s important to know what to expect when it comes to wildlife. The most common animals you’ll encounter include bears, elk, deer, and mountain goats, as well as smaller creatures like squirrels, rabbits, and chipmunks. It’s important to respect that these animals are essentially wild and should not be approached or touched. Popular areas to explore include Yellowstone National Park, the Rocky Mountains, and the Great Smoky Mountains. When visiting, it’s a good idea to do some research ahead of time to learn about the specific animals in the area. Always put safety first by staying on designated trails, keeping food and trash in sealed containers, and never approaching animals.
Discovering Mountain Wildlife
If you’re planning a trip to the mountains, you’ll be in for a treat when it comes to the local wildlife. From majestic bears to timid deer, there’s plenty to discover in these breathtaking environments. Here’s a guide to help you make the most of your mountain wildlife experience.
What to Expect
When you’re in the mountains, it’s important to know what to expect so you can prepare accordingly. Some of the most common animals you’ll encounter are bears, elk, deer, and mountain goats. You should also keep your eyes peeled for smaller creatures like squirrels, rabbits, and chipmunks.
One thing to keep in mind is that many of these animals are essentially wild and should be respected for that reason. While taking pictures from a distance is perfectly fine, getting too close or trying to touch them is never recommended. Not only can this be dangerous for you, but it can cause stress for the animals as well.
Where to Go
There are countless different mountain ranges across the United States, each with their own unique wildlife populations. Some of the most popular areas to explore include Yellowstone National Park, the Rocky Mountains, and the Great Smoky Mountains.
However, no matter where you’re going, it’s a good idea to do some research ahead of time to learn about the specific animals in the area you’ll be visiting. This can help you know what to look out for and also give you a greater appreciation for the environment you’re in.
When to Visit
Obviously, the best time to see mountain wildlife is when they’re most active. For many species, this will be during the early morning or late afternoon when they’re out foraging for food.
Another factor to keep in mind is the season. In the winter, many animals will hibernate or migrate, so you may not see as many. However, you may be able to spot some unique winter wildlife like snowshoe hares or even wolves.
How to Stay Safe
While it’s exciting to get up close and personal with mountain wildlife, it’s important to always put safety first. For example, if you see a bear, you should always keep your distance and never approach them. If a bear appears curious or aggressive, make yourself as large as possible and make loud noises to try and scare them off.
It’s also a good idea to keep your own food and trash in sealed containers, as this can help prevent animals from being attracted to your campsite. Additionally, you should always stay on designated trails and never venture off into the wilderness alone.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What should I do if I encounter a mountain lion?
Mountain lions should be taken very seriously. If you see one, give it plenty of space and try to make yourself look as large as possible. If it approaches you, throw rocks or sticks at it and make loud noises to try and scare it off. Above all, never try to play dead or run away.
Can I feed the animals?
No, feeding wild animals is never a good idea. Not only can it cause them to become too reliant on humans, but it can also cause them to become more aggressive. If you want to photograph animals, try using a zoom lens rather than getting too close.
What should I do if an animal attacks?
In the rare event that an animal attacks, you should fight back with everything you have. This may include using rocks, sticks, or even your bare hands. In general, the best way to avoid attacks is to keep your distance and make plenty of noise to alert animals to your presence.
What should I do if I bring my dog with me?
If you bring a dog with you into the mountains, it’s important to keep them on a leash at all times. Not only can this prevent them from running off, but it can also prevent them from disturbing wildlife. Additionally, be sure to pack plenty of water and food for your dog, as they can easily get dehydrated in mountain environments.
What should I do if I see a baby animal?
While baby animals may be adorable, it’s important to remember that they’re not pets. In fact, getting too close to a baby animal can cause a mother animal to become aggressive and protective. If you see a baby animal on a hike, be sure to keep your distance and leave them alone.