Coyotes are common along the full 23-mile stretch of the American River Parkway. Here are a few things you need to know when it comes to interacting with them: Though you may see a coyote at any time of the day, they are most active at dawn and dusk. If you do see one, do not approach it and enjoy it from a distance. Coyotes are naturally curious and may follow or observe you from a distance. If a coyote gets too close, DO NOT RUN. Face the coyote and maintain eye contact. If a coyote gets aggressive, make loud noises and wave your arms. If this doesn’t work, throw rocks or sticks. Most encounters with coyotes result from the presence of a pet dog. This can be because the coyote sees the dog as potential competition, or – in the case of smaller dogs – as a food source. This is one reason why it is important to keep your dog on a leash at all times while on the Parkway. Keep small children and pets close if you see a coyote and do not leave them unattended while in coyote territory. January through March is coyote mating season. You may see coyotes exhibit more territorial behavior during this time. A coyote may “escort” your dog away from den/territory, food or pups during pup rearing season (Spring and Summer). It may also bluff charge your dog if it gets too close. If a coyote is aggressive, report the incident to Park Rangers by calling 3-1-1. Learn more about coyotes and how you can help keep them wild from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Rattlesnakes are found on the American River Parkway. As the weather heats up, they will become more active, including at night when they may be hard to see. Fortunately, rattlesnake bites are rare and mostly occur during improper handling of a snake or when they’re brushed against by someone walking or climbing. Here are some tips from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on how you can avoid a rattlesnake bite: Stay alert when outdoors. Wear sturdy boots and loose-fitting long pants. DO NOT wear sandals or flip-flops in brushy areas. Stay on well-used trails. Avoid tall grass, weeds, and heavy underbrush. Check rocks, stumps or logs before sitting down. Shake out sleeping bag and tent before use. Let others know where you are going, when you plan to return, and carry a cell phone. Hike with a companion when possible. DO NOT grab “sticks” in water. Rattlesnakes can swim. DO NOT let dogs off leash. Dogs are at increased risk when sniffing the ground near brushy areas. DO NOT try to touch or handle a snake, dead or alive. Dead rattlers may still inject venom shortly after death. Give live rattlesnakes enough space. They will usually escape before striking. In the event of a rattlesnake bite, here is what you should do: Stay calm – but act quickly! Remove items which may constrict swelling (e.g., watches, rings, shoes). Transport victim to the nearest medical facility. Do NOT apply a tourniquet. Do NOT pack the bite area in ice. Do NOT cut the wound with a knife or razor. Do NOT use your mouth to suck out the venom. If a pet is bitten – Speak to your veterinarian about canine rattlesnake vaccine options. Learn more about rattlesnakes, the importance of their conservation and how they behave at California Department of Fish and Wildlife website.