Residents have reported mountain lion sightings near Clayton, Pleasant Hill, and in Martinez. There have been numerous rattlesnake sightings and snakebites. In Lake Tahoe, Clayton resident David Moss recently survived an encounter with a black bear that crawled into his cabin’s bathroom window. As he posted on his facebook, “So. . . I am in Tahoe just falling asleep, when I hear what sounds like a squirrel or chipmunk in the bathroom! Turns out it was the larger, furrier variety! A FRICKEN bear is coming through the window! I scared the living crap out of him and he turned tail into the night – huffing and moaning at me for disturbing his anticipated warmer digs! I needless to say probably won’t get much sleep tonight!”
Here are some safety tips so you can enjoy your summer without serious injury or death.
Mountain lion: Hike, jog or ride your bicycle in groups. Keep children in sight always. Mountain lions are especially drawn to children. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape. Do not run, instead, stand and make eye contact. Pick up small children. Appear larger. Raise and wave your arms. Throw stones, branches, etc. without crouching or turning your back. Speak firmly in a loud voice. Fight back if attacked with rocks, sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools, or bare hands. Protect your head and neck.
Rattlesnakes: Look at the ground ahead of you, under logs and rocks before sitting down, and check the area around picnic tables, campsites, and barbecues before use. If you see a rattlesnake, move slowly away. If bitten, call 911. Remain calm by lying down with the affected limb lower than the heart. If you are alone, walk calmly to the nearest source of help. Do Not Run. If you are not sure what kind of snake bit you, check the bite for two puncture marks (in rare cases one puncture mark) associated with intense, burning pain. This is typical of a rattlesnake bite.
Black Bears: Bears will avoid humans if they hear them coming. If you encounter a bear, stop what you are doing. Speak in a calm, appeasing tone. Back away slowly. Walk, don’t run, and keep your eye on the bear so you can see how it will react. In most cases, the bear will flee. If you are in your campsite or other place bears shouldn’t be, try to move it out of the area. Ensure the bear has a clear and safe escape route with no people or obstacles in its way. Stand tall and look it directly in the eye. Yell at the bear and firmly tell it to leave: “Get out of here, bear!” Have pepper spray ready in case the bear approaches too closely. Never try to move a grizzly bear! For more information go to. http://www.bearsmart.com/live/bear-deterrents/
Have a safe and happy summer.