Monday, May 20, 2013

Types Of Animals That You Might Encounter On The Appalachian Trail

If you hike quietly and by yourself, especially in the early morning and late evening, you stand a good chance of seeing everything from mice to moose, with deer, bears, snakes, foxes, coyotes and turkeys in between.

Of course, the greatest concern seems to be about bears, snakes and mice. There are no grizzly bears on the A.T. The black bears in the protected parks (Great Smoky, Shenandoah) have become accustomed to being fed by ignorant people. Thus, they pose somewhat of a problem to your pack full of food, and to you, should you be wearing your pack. In the Smokies, the shelters are fenced in to keep the bears out.

Poisonous snakes (rattlesnakes and copperheads) are rarely seen. There are plenty in some areas but they can usually feel the vibrations from your feet hitting the trail well in advance so you may just catch a glimpse of a tail slithering into the bushes. Read the guidebooks for warnings about snakes and stay on the trail. Do some research on their habits so you will feel more at ease while hiking in their territory.

Mice can damage your pack as they eat their way into the food. You should hang your food and pack separately at night. It is also a good idea to open all the pack compartments. There really is no way to keep a curious mouse out of your pack - it's better if he comes in through an open door than if he opens a new one himself.Remember, wildlife should be left alone. After all, they had no voice in deciding that a trail would be blazed through their home. The least we can do is respect their rights.

One further caution on the subject of animals: it may come as a surprise but one domestic animal causes more concern to hikers than any of the above-mentioned wildlife. Dogs are frequently encountered on road walks, and some are not friendly.

Information Provided By The ALDHA

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