Animal Dangers, Yosemite National Park
During my hike of the Valley loop trail we came across a black bear. It was about 2pm just off the trail between us and the South Side drive. The bear didn't seem to notice us or at least paid us no mind. Although the bear is brown, it was considered a black bear. So be alert and if/when you encounter a bear, and it is off the trail, just mind you business and continue on. If the bear notices you, approaches or in the path of your route, wave your arms and make alot of noise. The bear really wants no part of you.
Camping sites are equipped with bear safe boxes, at night you are forced to put all your food in it! I was very scared of having to face one, bear that is, when i was there but no never did! so I think if you are careful with not letting food lay around, you will be fine
Facing down a bear in Yosemite Valley is very unlikely as the rangers are quick to capture and transfer the animals elsewhere. Bears are easily the most dangerous animals in California, even more so than the powerful cougar. When in the alpine regions of Yosemite, it's important to understand that bears are fully capable of opening a car door to remove what food may be inside. At the Happy Isles Nature Center there is a bent up car window frame to show the ease with which a bear can enter a car. When I was a young hiker, I once lost all my dried rice to a bear during the night. I had tried to hide the food in a place I thought the bear would not find it, but found later that this place was in fact quite easy for the bear. I have also lost backpacks that were strung up in trees to bear that managed to cut the cord holding them there. I would perhaps be more worried about a confrontation with a cougar; however, as the California brown bears normally don't attack humans. Several times, I and others have chased away bears in the middle of the night with flash lights and the banging of pans. So while losing ones sustaining food supply is not fun, I confess that watching a bear run is much more fun than chasing a cat or dog. During the past decade or so, bear proof containers have been designed, and these are now required for all hiking overnight into Yosemite's alpine regions. Fortunately, the ranger stations provide use of these free, with a modest deposit to ensure their return. Use the bear container not only for food, but for anything that could possibly smell like food. Naturally, those who might be tempted to arm themselves to defend against a bear attack are risking jail time for killing a Yosemite bear. See the link for more details on food storage to avoid problems with bears.
Yes bears are definitely a problem in Yosemite. Two people I met there in 2004 staying in the Curry Village Tent Cabins had their cars redecorated by bears.
However it is not you the bears want to eat, it is your food. So if you lock your food and any scented items in one of the bearproof lockers that you get a key to at check in, then you will be ok. Do not keep any food or scented items in your tent. When you check in, there is a continuous video running that shows just what the bears can do to a car.
One guy I talked to, whose car was trashed, said that he left a small bag of potato chips in the trunk, and the bear broke in a side window and clawed his way through the back seat into the trunk. The bears are very smart and they know where the easy food is.
When I was hiking there in August 2004 the rangers told me that if I met a bear I should try to intimidate it by standing up, waving my arms, and shouting because the bears need to learn who is the boss! I am not sure I am ready for that. The rangers patrol the parking lot at night and if they see a bear they try to train it to stay away by using small noise makers etc. I saw deer in the parking lot in the evening, but no bears.
I hope I have not frightened you away. Yosemite is one of the most beautiful spots on this earth, and you and your family should be very safe if you follow the simple rules that they give you when you check in. I have made reservations to stay in a Tent Cabin in Curry Village August 2005, so I hope to see you there!
The many times we have camped here, we are always careful in how we store our food and for good reason. Bears are very frequent visitors into the camping sites because of all the available food . The park rangers try very hard to education the campers because of so many close calls with the bears. I kid you not, thay are able to open a car or truck like it is a beer can and they do it all the time. They are known to wonder into a tent or two in search of the food. So heed the warnings of how to store your food at the camps.
Also, its a good idea not to approach the wild deer. As fragile as they may seem, they pack a powerful bunch which has been documented in causing serious injuries and death to those who approach in a attempt in feeding or petting them. Please keep an eye on your children.
Food Storage from bears
On one trip to Yosemite, we had just pulled in, set up our tent and were laying enjoying the sun. All of a sudden the sun was blocked out, not by a cloud, but by a bear walking over us. Yes, he walked right over us to get to our tent to see what we had brought for him. Fortunately, we had not unpacked the food, it was still in the van. Seeing easier picking, he proceeded to walk about 50 yards away and entered the tent of our neighbors, who were inside!
Well first they came running out and then the bear came running out with a package of Oreo's in hand. He was one happy bear.
Over the years the park has been diligent about moving bears like this one, who were just a bit too familiar with the valley floor and moved them to remote areas, but people still leave food around, and worse, they try to feed the animals. The temptation is great, but you have to realize that these are really wild animals taking advantage of our processed food habits. In a pinch, they will revert to wildness. Check out the bear movies that they show you in the valley. Those guys can open a locked car to get a cookie in a seconds flat by pulling open the window frame!
When you visit here, you can't help but to see the warnings for bears. Most campsites have "bear lockers" which provide a "safe" to keep your food and any other things you wish not to have the local wildlife go through. The squirrels, chipmunks, and raccoons can get rather bold as well.
I can speak from experience on all animals. It is especially not a pleasant experience to be woken from a deep sleep at 1am while a huge bear decides to tear your campsite apart. Like in most cases, it was our fault, so head to the precautionary measures.
They are smart enough to recognize coolers, they can open up the lids to jars, the can open car doors (or… unless they feel like just tearing off the door instead). Try not to eat sweets before bed and before going to bed, rinse off your mouth anyway. There was an incident in Kings Canyon (south of Yosemite) where a group of backcountry hikers/campers was “attacked” at night. The bear smelled the candy residue on the campers’ mouths. Need I say more?
Bears are a real danger in Yosemite. If you are camping in the park overnight, it's important that you remove all food from your car and put it into a bear-proof food locker, available from the park rangers. Bears consider anything with a scent - even deodorant and lipstick! - a potential food item. You especially do not want to keep any food in or near your tent.
Please be aware that these are not the cuddly teddy bears from your childhood storybooks. They are large, strong wild animals with sharp claws and teeth and an incredible sense of smell.
There was an incident last year where a bear tore the door off a car one night, seeking food. The attraction? A paper napkin with a smear of ketchup on it, left over from the driver's lunch.
Be smart and safe.
Beware of bears. When you go to Yosemite, you definitely have to respect the power of these animals and follow everyone of the park guidelines. Do not leave food in your car: bears will break into your vehicle (and not subtlely, either) and try to get atthe food. Do not sleep in clothes that you've cooked in. Do not sleep with food or cosmetics in your tent. Bears have great senses of smell, and might not be aware that your apple-scented shampoo isn't really an apple until after they've mangled you to get at it. Bear attacks happen frerquently at Yosemite. If you don't do it for yourself, do it for the bears -- problem bears are often euthanized.
In the adjacent photo, you can see a car whose window was destroyed and door bent open by a bear. This happened within 20 feet of my parked car over night, and about 100 yard from my tentaloe!
my wife and i were walking on a trail below el capitan and and on the way back, same trail, rattlesnake! it was on the side of the trail moving across it. it made a quick rattle and moved off. it was within striking distance from my wife and we both did not see it, looking up at the rocks. we took a few pictures and off we went.
so.. this was in the spring so watch out there are rattlesnakes in the valley!
Read up on bears and how to protect yourself before you go to Yosemite. There are 20,000 to 24,000 black bears that live in California. Yosemite estimates about 300 to 500 bears live in the Park. Most of the bears are actually a brown color. The largest black bear ever captured in Yosemite weighed 690 pounds.
Try to make some noise while walking down a isolated trail. That way you won't startle the bear.
Stay at least 50 yards from the bear.
Throw rocks or sticks at the bear. If you are with someone, stand together so you look bigger, more intimidating to the bear. The objective is to scare the bear away and keep you safe.
The National Park Service prohibits feeding animals. Of course, they may seem rather tame; most of them, especially at the popular tourist spots, are accustomed to having people around. And they may beg for food.
Don't give them any. Remember the ranger slogan: A fed animal is a dead animals. Or, as the late Milton Friedman always said, "There's no such thing as a free lunch." Let them fend for themselves. If they become dependent upon humans, then they are no longer truly wild; they turn into little beggars.
It's always quite an amazing experience to see the wild life in its natural environment. At Yosemite National Park we saw a lot of wild animals, it looked like they just kept popping up!
Often seen grazing in or on near meadows, the natural timid mule deer has grown accustomed to seeing people. Although it appears to be tame, and may even approach you. its still is a wild animal. Always leave it a wide area to walk away and never try to feed it.
We also saw the western gray squirrel on the ground or in the trees. It is known for its impressive bushy gray tail. Never tempt it with food or approach it at close range.
We were stunned to see a mama bear and her two cubs right near the pathways at Glacier Point. It was even more shocking to hear that minutes prior to us arriving, they just appeared and had walked across some of the sidewalks! It always pays to keep an eye out for wildlife - you for sure don't want to be messing around with these guys!
Particularly if you're walking around deep in the woods at night, these guys might notice you and become interested. Don't try to hide from them (you can't, anyway). Instead, show them you don't care that they know you're there, and that you're not prey at all--in fact, that you're aggressive and dangerous yourself. Talk loudly, even if it's to yourself; sounding angry is a plus. If you're approached anyway, holler, stomp, unzip your jacket to look larger, throw rocks and sticks. Remember, you're aggressive, and you are not prey. DO NOT RUN. That's what prey does, and the cat's hunting instincts will kick in. Finally, in the extremely unlikely case that you do get attacked, FIGHT BACK! You'll be injured whether you fight or not, but if you do fight, you have a chance at survival.