Wildlife & You

2014-08-27Ahhhhh wildlife. . . . .fun to see but it’s just that – WILD. It’s important to know what to do on the trail if you do run into a wild animal that isn’t part of your hiking crew. Always remain cautious when hiking, not fearful, just watchful. Many of us hope to catch a glimpse of a bear in the Smokies, but what if that chance encounter is a little closer than a sneak peek? If you see a bear in the distance, observe from there. Do not try to move in for a closer look. If the animal isn’t impeding the trail, continue along quickly. 

As in any hiking situation if you carry something into the woods, carry it out. Do not leave behind trash or food for animals to find. Feeding bears, whether intentionally or not, creates more problem animals. Most animals that cause property damage or injury are animals who have been provided with food by people in the past. 

The park is also home to a large number of wild boars. These animals can be more aggressive than a bear. If you do encounter one move calmly away from the animal. As with bears, do not move closer or feed the animal. Also, do not use flash photography to take a picture of the hog.

Snakes are another animal you may see while hiking in and around the Great Smoky Mtn National Park. If you find yourself too close to one, do not make any sudden movements. In most cases, animals will give you a warning to let you know that you are too close. Heed their warnings. Getting barked at is better than being bit. 

Read some helpful tips from the National Park service on their website about encountering bears. You can find more info about wild boars here. Be prepared!

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