Camping can be a great experience, but it can also be one that is fraught with danger if you are not prepared. One of the most important things to do before setting off on your camping trip is to learn about what dangers might await you. This article will give you an overview of some of the wildlife hazards that may present themselves during your time in nature and offer tips for dealing with them should they happen.
Know What Wildlife You May Encounter
Camping in North America will present different challenges than camping somewhere like Australia. While all of these regions have some common concerns, they also each come with their own unique dangers that you need to be aware of before heading out on your trip.
In North America, You might run into bears, wolves, or cougars in North America, although most national parks require people to store food properly and use bear-proof containers for this reason. If you do not, it is possible that a bear may come looking for your food and might behave aggressively if you do not have any to offer them. It is also important to be aware of the risk of ticks in North America as they can carry diseases like Lyme disease – so take precautions against tick bites by wearing long clothing and using insect repellent.
In Australia, The most dangerous animal you are likely to encounter while camping in Australia is the Saltwater Crocodile, which can be found stalking prey along river banks and other water sources. Another risk comes from Box Jellyfish which live near beaches and coastal waters; they will deliver a nasty sting that may require medical attention.
Dealing with Bears in Campgrounds
One of the most dangerous animals to run into while camping is a bear, especially if you are not adequately prepared for dealing with them. If you do come across one it is best to keep your distance and avoid provoking their aggressive behavior by making loud noises or throwing things at them. It can also be a good idea to have bear spray on hand just in case, although this is best used as a last resort. Avoiding an encounter with bears altogether will always prove the most effective tactic, so camping at sites that are not near their habitat should mean you do not have any issues during your trip.
Read up on the wildlife species
Always be sure to know what they look like and the habits, habitats, foods, etc that you may come across them in. This can give you a leg up when it comes time to deal with an emergency situation should one arise.
Be aware of your surroundings
Be aware of your surroundings at all times during your trip outdoors. Knowing where wild animals can approach you, can give you the upper hand when it comes to defending yourself and your camp. Taking time to carefully observe any changes in animal behavior or vocalizations (such as birds flying away, squirrels scampering about) before they ever happen may also help prevent emergencies by giving you notice of an approaching hazard so that you might take action accordingly.
Never Feed Animal
Never feed an animal if you know they are dangerous to humans. For example, bears may look cuddly and cute but should never be fed by humans as their diet is almost exclusively meat-based and can quickly turn them into violent predators when access to food becomes limited or restricted (such as through the use of bear traps). Always be aware of what you are putting in your body and where it may end up.
Never approach wildlife
Remember, nature is not always pretty, but by learning about the various animals that can be found during outdoor adventure activities like camping, hiking, or backpacking you will be able to minimize risk while maximizing fun!
Store your food and trash properly
If you don’t keep your food and trash in wildlife proof containers, you may inadvertently supply them with food if you don’t keep it away from your campsite. Make sure to take any waste with you so that the wildlife area is kept clean.
Animals should not be captured for pets
If you see a wild animal, never try to capture it for a pet. This is not only illegal in many places but can be very dangerous for your health and safety both now and into the future as you may have diseases that require treatment once contracted from exposure while trying to feed or interact with wildlife improperly.
Protect yourself when encountering animals
If you run into any animal during your camping trip, protect yourself. If the animal is not acting aggressively towards you and seems completely uninterested in interacting with humans (such as deer) then back away slowly while maintaining eye contact until it has passed by or left your area of activity.
Eliminate odors from food and supplies
Make sure to remove any odors from food, garbage, and supplies before you leave on your camping trip. If animals can smell these items they may come looking for a free meal of their own at the expense of yours!
Avoid unnecessary noise during activities
The use of loud noises or music while playing instruments is not only annoying but also alerts wildlife to your presence so that they may avoid you. Try to keep sound levels down while camping in order to minimize the risk of scaring off wildlife or making them angry enough with humans that they lash out at visitors.
Never try to feed dangerous animals!
If the animal is acting aggressively towards you, stay still and use any available cover (such as trees, bushes, etc) to shield yourself. Make sure that you are not between the animal and its exit path so that it can get away easily should it choose to do so.
If you find an injured or orphaned wildlife baby
Leave them alone! The mother is probably close by but may be scared off if humans approach too closely. If the baby is truly in danger, call for help and leave quickly before you accidentally cause harm to yourself or others in your party (such as through further injury by a scared adult animal).
If an attack occurs
Many animals will run away when confronted with violence but some may become dangerous if they feel cornered. In this case, make sure to fight back if necessary with any available weapons such as rocks, sticks, or even your own fists and feet.
Avoid dangerous animals at all times
If you find an animal that seems particularly uninterested in leaving you alone (such as a bear), avoid it at all costs and leave the area immediately so that both of you can avoid injury.
Some animals can be dangerous to the point of being deadly
Even if you have done nothing wrong, some wild animals will attack humans with no provocation whatsoever. In these cases, it is best just to fight back as a last resort and aim for sensitive areas such as their eyes or nose in order to maximize your chances of survival before a professional rescuer can come to your aid.
Remember that the safety of you and others depends on it
It is important not to take risks when in a camping area with wildlife because sometimes things will go wrong no matter how careful or well trained you are in dealing with dangerous animals. Always err on the side of caution if there’s any doubt and you should be fine.
Keep a safe distance.
Most animals will quickly retreat if approached from a distance. However, if you get too close to a bear or another animal, you should brush up on what to do if you find yourself in a face-to-face encounter. These situations are exceptionally rare, but it is preferable to be prepared than to make an error.
Wear different clothes cooking and to bed.
Have you ever gone to a restaurant and been able to smell the food hours later? The same occurs in the woods. Cooking odors cling to clothing, tempting bears, making your current pajamas not ideal for sleeping in. To prevent any animals from catching a scent, keep your “cooking clothes” in an airtight container or bag. Have a separate bag for your sleeping gear, so you can easily avoid any mishaps in the night.
Do not cook where you sleep!
It is very important to keep cooking activities clear of areas used for resting or otherwise staying put at length (such as tents). This includes keeping food items away from these spots and storing them instead on trees or other high places that will help keep them safe from any foraging animals.
Never cook or eat near your tent!
Most campers realize the danger of cooking and sleeping in close quarters, but many fail to consider how dangerous it is just to leave food items (such as open snacks) within a few feet of where they sleep at night. This includes the temptation of sheltering animals, who are less afraid to approach humans while they sleep.
Never leave food unattended!
Even if you think that there is no wildlife in your area, it never hurts to be extra careful when cooking or eating around a campsite. Food left out for too long can become dangerous to eat due to bacteria or other sources of contamination, so it should be disposed of properly if not consumed immediately.
Do not bring any food into your tent!
If you do need something easily accessible while sleeping (such as medication), store it in a high place away from where you sleep and only take the necessary amount for the night with you. If you must, makes sure that the food is in an airtight container and tied to a tree or other high place until morning.
Do not try to steal from animals!
It should go without saying: if any wildlife shows signs of becoming aggressive (such as chattering teeth), do your best to move away immediately and seek help.
Keep a flashlight with you at all times.
No matter how well lit your campsite is, there will be some areas that are darker than others. If walking alone or going to the bathroom at the night, it always helps to have a small light source on hand for added safety and convenience purposes. In addition, if exploring any caves or otherwise dark areas, it is vital to have a light source that will not fail you if the need arises for either of these activities.
Do not shine lights in wildlife’s eyes!
This may seem like common sense, but any flashlight can temporarily blind an animal that looks directly into its beam. This does no harm after only one or two seconds, but it is still not worth the risk. Keep your flashlight pointed at the ground in front of you to prevent any accidents!
Do not forget about other animals nearby
The sounds that most people associate with camping are generally nocturnal (such as crickets and owls) while many dangerous wild animals become active during the day (such as bears and mountain lions). If you are on a trail, it is best to stay with your group for safety reasons.
Keep an eye on the kids!
If you have children in your party, make sure that they do not wander off or get distracted by potentially dangerous wildlife such as insects or snakes. This includes snakes, who are often found in the same areas where you might like to sit and enjoy your surroundings (such as on fallen logs or rocks).
Do not go near any wildlife unless necessary!
If there is a chance that an animal will approach you for food, do what you can to shoo it away. This includes anything from making loud noises to throwing a rock in the animal’s general direction. If this does not work, do your best to avoid it and seek help from an authority figure if necessary.
Carry bear spray!
If you are going hiking or camping near any areas where bears have been known to roam (such as forests), always carry some form of bear spray to deter any possibly dangerous encounters. This is especially important if you plan on going near rivers or lakes, where bears may be found fishing for their next meal!
Do not approach a bear cub!
This should go without saying: never approach or touch any wildlife unless it is absolutely necessary. If you come across a baby animal that seems to be without its mother, do nothing and make your way back to camp as quickly as possible.
Be aware of any dangers that may occur
Depending on where you are going camping, there may be some factors that change from season to season which could affect how you interact with wildlife. For example: if hiking through a forest in the springtime, you may find more snakes out sunning themselves on rocks and logs as they recover from their winter hibernation.
Remember to always be aware of what you are putting in your body and where it may end up. If you see, hear or smell any kind of wild animal behavior during camping activities make sure to carefully observe the situation before taking action so that you can best protect yourself from danger should one arise!
Avoiding wildlife during your camping trip is the best way to protect yourself and deal with potentially dangerous animals. If you follow these tips, it will be a fun-filled adventure without any accidents!
Nature is not always pretty, but by learning about the various animals that can be found during outdoor adventure activities like camping, hiking, or backpacking you will be able to minimize risk while maximizing fun!