Tag Archives: wildlife

  • Rattlesnakes at Your Door?

    Just in case you thought we’d exhausted the topic of bizarrely unpleasant side effects of the drought plaguing the Western US, here’s one more to chuck on the pile: rattlesnakes. According to CBS News, scarcity of ground water is driving rodents closer to homes and neighborhoods to quench their thirst. And where the vermin go, the snakes follow, with the result that “Rattlesnakes are Slithering Closer to Homes in Northern California.”

    The snake removal specialist quoted in the article reports a record year for his business, netting over 70 snakes in a single week. Incidentally, he keeps them alive in a room and releases them back into the wild—which, if you live in Sacramento, may not be the most comforting part of the article.

    I mean, not to creep anybody out, but RATTLESNAKES!

    I’m knocking on all kinds of wood as I tell you that I happen to live in a part of the country where rattlesnakes aren’t found, but I did have a glancing encounter with one as a kid at camp. As I remember it, one of my grown-up relatives took a shovel to the creature and lopped off its head—a technique frowned upon by the reliable sources below, I’m sure.

    So, what does one do if one comes across one of these nasty pieces of work, whether on the trail or in your garage? First of all, do your homework!

    • The US Forest Service offers a Snake Safety handout, with precautions, first aid, and some really enlightening snake facts. My favorite is the DOs and DON’Ts section—turns out Hollywood’s old cut-and-suck method is a no-no.
    • Washington State’s Trail Association has a page dedicated specifically to “How to Hike in Rattlesnake Country.” Tips include how to identify signs that a rattler is near, how to safely photograph snakes, and what special considerations to make when hiking with dogs.

     

    With all the other drama of this particular crisis, I really hope an infestation isn’t part of your experience this year. But if it is, learn what you need to do to keep your household safe. And for more info on other biters, stingers, and suckers, see our “First Aid for Insect Bites and Stings.”

     

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: drought, wildlife, snakes, California Drought

  • What would you do if you ran across wild animal tracks?

    It seems I just wrote a post about a family who went for a short mountain outing and ended up stuck in the snow for days. The last one happened in Nevada. This newest one happened in Idaho, and adds a chilling new element to an already frightening, if familiar, winter scenario.

    Friends Will Murkle and John Julian loaded up an SUV with their kids for an afternoon ride in the snow. When Will’s wife still hadn’t heard from them by midnight, she panicked. Turns out the group had gotten stuck in the snow and decided to walk to the nearest town for help.

    Which is when things got really dicey.

    “‘The scariest thing was when we came across fresh wolf tracks,’ Will Murkle said. ‘And we could tell wolves had been in the area recently.’”

    Not many of us would think to include bear spray or pepper spray in a car emergency kit, and even fewer of us would know what to do if we were to encounter an aggressive animal while stranded. The Murkle-Julian party got lucky—the tracks were as much of the wolves as they saw. So as not to rely on luck, however, here are a couple of resources to help us all avoid being eaten (or—more likely—just attacked) in an emergency situation.

    • Alaska knows a thing or two about wolves. Read their Department of Fish and Game’s article, “Living With Wolves”, then check the links to the left of that article for how to deal with other potentially predatory wildlife.

    Just because you’re isolated doesn’t mean all is lost! Know how to protect yourself and your family when circumstances are worse than you thought.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, Winter, preparedness, Emergency plan, Survival, emergency preparedness, wildlife