The Western Slope has a variety of wildlife, and getting a glance of a bighorn sheep, bear, moose, or other animals can be a highlight of time spent outside. However, you also need to keep yourself safe.
Staying safe requires respect for wild animals because the outdoor spaces we love are their homes. Before your next adventure, be sure to review these essential tips for encounters with three potentially dangerous wild animals in Western Colorado.
Human-bear interactions have increased in Colorado, including on the Western Slope where black bear sightings are typically less common. Due to increased human impact encroaching on black bear habitats and changes in climate change, black bears are becoming present in areas where humans are present. Bears are opportunistic, and one of the best things you can do to keep yourself (and bears) safe is to store all food and trash properly. This is a good habit both at home and in the wilderness.
If you do encounter a black bear, here’s what you should do:
The topic of rattlesnakes brings up strong opinions in this part of the state. Some people have been exploring the region for decades without a single encounter with a rattler. Others see these venomous reptiles regularly.
Regardless of personal experience, rattlesnakes do live in Western Colorado. The Colorado National Monument is an ideal environment for rattlesnakes, and there have even been sightings in Garfield County. Here’s how to protect yourself:
The sound of coyotes howling isn’t uncommon here. Since coyotes are small, they tend to be fearful of adult-sized humans, but they’re also smart and have adapted to living near us. Children, small dogs, and cats are the most vulnerable to a coyote attack.
These guidelines help your family and pets stay safe:
Many people enjoy the outdoors without ever encountering a dangerous wild animal. If you maintain a safe distance, understand basic safety precautions, and respect their natural habitat, most animals will keep their distance.