Wildlife, Palm Springs
Here is a caution and one to take seriously. I live in the mountains so I know. I have seen one of these big cats almost upfront and person, but fortunately he was either not hungry or didn’t feel threaten by me and believe me I gave them space.
Where there is deer or elk, there is mountain lions plain and simple!!!!
Mountains lions are important to our eco system. They are normally very elusive and usually people rarely get to see one. Yet, if the season for hunting has been poor for them, well this changes their outlook and temper. There are a tawny color with black tipped ears and tail. Adults may be 7 to more than 8 feet long from nose to end of tail, and weigh between 65 to 150 pounds. They live in many different areas of California, from deserts to coastal range forest, and from sea level to 10,000 foot elevations.
To reduce the chances of an encounter:
Aviod hiking alone, especially between dusk and dawn when lions normally hunt. Make noise while you hike to reduce the chances of surprising lion. Always keep children in sight and within arms reach while hiking to areas that can conceal a lion. Mountain lions seem to be drawn to children because of their small size, (easy prey for them).
DO NOT APPROACH OR EVEN ATTEMPT AN ENCOUNTER
Most lions want to avoid and escape. Stay calm and face the lion. Do not run, because this triggers the hunt to attack. Try to appear large, stand tall even if you have to raise your hands above your head or opening your jacket above your head.
Pick up small children immediately so they do not panic or run. Avoid bending over or crouching. If the lion does approach for attack, shout, throw rocks, branches or whatever you can get your hands on, but do whatever it takes and do not turn your backs.
Take a walking stick with you because it makes a good defense and may help ward off a potential attack because a lion by instinct wants to bit the neck or head to remain standing.
If you see any, please report the location back at the ranger station immediately.
In all, I do not want you to be paranoid and enjoy your hike. Yet I want you to be prepared.
Visitors who offer food to animals and birds may have good intentions, but their treats are more likely to cause harm than to help.
Why: Visitors risk injury if they do not keep a respectful distance. Animals startle easily, and they sometimes react by biting or scratching when people get too close. Also, wildlife carry many diseases that can be transferred to humans, such as rabies.
Wild animals look their natural fear to people, as you will see at the tramway viewing area. The little squirrels are very friendly. Some had been destroyed do to aggressive behavior towards visitors. Plus, when you introduce extra food this can increase populations which the environment may be able to sustain. When the environment cannot sustain them, animals will starve and create outbreaks of disease.
So please consider these cautions and it is a real live situations. Yeah, they are cute and everyone wants to help them, so help them by not feeding them. Let’s keep our wildlife wild so they can survive naturally!
Be cautious of snakes while hiking. Although the desert is gorgeous and the hiking supreme in the Canyons, there are snakes. I nearly stepped on a rattler that was sunbathing on a rock. They are quite camoflaged and quite poisonous. Also be sure to take plenty of water, but you knew that...