Wildlife in Folsom
As the weather warms up and residents are out walking, running, biking and playing in the sun, it is important to be aware of the wildlife we share our trails with. Rattlesnakes, mountain lions, bobcats and coyotes are just a few animals that live among us in Folsom.
Rattlesnakes are generally not aggressive and will retreat if given the room or not deliberately provoked or threatened. Bites typically occur when a rattlesnake is handled or accidentally touched by a passerby (human or pet). Most bites occur between April and October; it can be difficult to notice rattlesnakes, so be alert when on walks or hikes and be mindful if you are walking with your dog along our trails.
There are also many harmless and non-poisonous snakes in our area such as garter snakes and bullsnakes which are commonly mistaken for rattlesnakes. It helps to know some of the distinctive differences between them.
Here are some tips to avoid rattlesnakes:
- Prepare accordingly by wearing sturdy boots and loose-fitting long pants.
- Children should not wear flip-flops while playing outdoors in snake country.
- Never hike alone; walk with a partner in case of an emergency.
- Do not step or put your hands where you cannot see. Step on logs or rocks instead of over them. Check out stumps or logs before sitting down, and shake out sleeping bags before use.
- Keep your dogs on a leash and be careful if they veer off the trail.
- Always stick to well-used trails, not tall grass or brush.
- While swimming in rivers or lakes, never grab sticks or branches, because rattlesnakes can swim.
- Be careful when stepping over doorsteps—snakes like to crawl along the edge of buildings.
- Do not handle a freshly killed snake, as it can still inject venom.
- Teach children early to respect snakes and to leave them alone.
How to keep snakes out of yard:
- The best protection against rattlesnakes in the yard is a “rattlesnake proof” fence.
- The fence should either be solid or with mesh no larger than one-quarter inch.
- The fence should be at least three feet high with the bottom buried a few inches in the ground.
- Slanting your snake fence outward about a 30-degree angle will help.
- Keep vegetation away from the fence and remove piles of boards or rocks around the home.
- Use caution when removing those piles–there may already be a snake there.
What to do and NOT to do in the event of a snake bite:
- Stay calm but act quickly.
- Remove items such as watches or rings which may constrict swelling.
- Transport the victim to the nearest medical facility.
- DON’T apply a tourniquet.
- DON’T pack the bite area in ice.
- DON’T cut the wound with a knife or razor.
- DON’T use your mouth to suck out the venom.
- DON’T let the victim drink alcohol.
In Folsom, rattlesnake sightings can be reported to the Folsom Police Department non-emergency line at 916-355-7231.
For first aid information, please call the California Poison Control System at 800-222-1222.
Learn more at www.wildlife.ca.gov/news/snake.
California is home to many mountain lion populations as they generally exist wherever deer are found. Mountain lions are solitary and elusive, and their nature is to avoid humans.
Here are some tips to help keep you safe while in mountain lion country:
- Do not hike, bike, or jog alone; stay alert on trails.
- Avoid hiking or jogging when mountain lions are most active—at dawn, dusk and night.
- Don’t leave small children or pets outside unattended; watch small children carefully.
- Bring pet food inside to avoid attracting raccoons, opossums, and other potential mountain lion prey.
- Keep dogs on a leash.
In the case of a mountain lion encounter:
- Never approach a mountain lion; give them an escape route.
- DO NOT RUN, as it may trigger the mountain lion to chase you.
- DO NOT TURN YOUR BACK, CROUCH OR BEND OVER. Face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms, or opening your jacket if wearing one; throw rocks or other objects. Pick up, small children.
- Be vocal; however, speak calmly and do not use high pitched tones or high pitch screams.
- Teach others how to behave during an encounter; anyone who runs may initiate an attack.
- In the rare case of an attack, fight back, as research shows that many potential victims have successfully fought back with rocks, sticks, garden tools, even an ink pen or bare hands. Try to stay on your feet. If knocked down, try to protect head and neck.
- If a mountain lion attacks a person, immediately call 911.
- Report unusual mountain lion behavior to your local California Department of Fish & Wildlife regional office at 916-358-2900.
Learn more at www.wildlife.ca.gov/keep-me-wild/lion.
Bobcats are typically mistaken for mountain lions, though are much smaller at 2 or 3 feet long and only 15-40 pounds with a short tail. Though they are elusive animals and rarely attack; here are some tips to help keep your pets and yard safe:
- Keep dogs on a leash.
- Keep your pets vaccinated.
- Clean brushy areas or wood piles, and remove food sources from your yard.
- If you notice a bobcat, scare it away by clapping or yelling loudly. It is safer in the long run for them to be fearful of humans, so they do not return to the neighborhood.
- If a bobcat attacks a person, immediately contact the nearest Department of Fish and Wildlife at 916-358-2900 or 911.
Though their main source of food is rodents and rabbits, coyotes have tendencies to go after garbage in neighborhoods and houses. If coyotes are given access to human food and garbage, it is possible that they lose caution and fear and can cause damage and threaten human safety.
Here are some tips for preventing human-coyote conflicts:
- Never attempt to feed coyotes.
- Do not leave small children or pets outside unattended.
- Trim shrubbery to reduce hiding places.
- Be aware that coyotes are more active in the spring when feeding and protecting young.
- If followed by a coyote, make loud noises. If this fails, throw rocks in the animal’s direction.
- If a coyote attacks a person, immediately contact the nearest Department of Fish and Wildlife at 916-358-2900 or 911.
Allowing coyotes to access human food and garbage is dangerous; here are some tips to stash your food and trash:
- Keep garbage in tightly closed containers that cannot be tipped over.
- Bring pets in at night, and do not leave pet food outside.
- Avoid bird feeders as they attract rodents and other coyote prey.
- Provide secure enclosures for rabbits, poultry and other livestock.
- Pick up fallen fruit and cover compost piles.
Learn more at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Keep-Me-Wild/Coyote.
In the event of an attack or wildlife emergency, CALL 911.
For more information about wildlife and safety visit www.wildlife.ca.gov or call 916-445-0411.
Please respect and protect wild animals. Keep them wild.