Safety Tips for Unexpected Wildlife Encounters

Squirrels might look cute. You might want to pet them. Maybe you just want to slip some nuts to the chipmunk that’s eyeing you during your rest stop. Although animals in the great outdoors look adorable, they’re still wild.

  • Don’t feed the animals. Any animals. It’s not great for them, and it can be potentially dangerous for you. From a slight nip to an all-out attack, giving food to wild animals can set you up for an injury or worse.
  • Don’t try to pet the animals. That beautiful baby moose walking across the road probably has a mama moose nearby who’ll attack. Don’t even go near any cute and cuddly animals. Avoid touching any wildlife you see. It’s not safe for you or them.
  • Don’t get too close. Believe it or not, you’re in their territory. Most wild animals don’t love it when you invade their space.
  • Don’t provoke, sneak up on, or scare animals. Wild animals are unpredictable and that innocent-looking deer will protect itself at all costs. Trying to provoke them is a recipe for disaster.
  • Don’t wander off the trail after dark.
  • Don’t surprise a mother who’s with her babies.
  • Do make noise. It’ll let animals know you’re nearby so you don’t startle them.
  • Do watch for animal tracks and poop. They can let you know what might be around.
  • Do carry bear spray if you’re in an area known to have bear.
  • Do tell a park ranger if you have an encounter with a wild animal or have a close call or sighting.