Bear sightings and activity seem to be increasing this year. Be aware of bears and follow these safety recommendations.
- Keep a clean campsite. Store food and garbage out of sight and in closed vehicles.
- Never put food scraps or litter in the campfire; it attracts bears and skunks.
- Don’t keep food, medicine, chap stick, shampoo – Anything that smells – in tents or sleeping areas
- Store stoves, barbeques, and dutch ovens in a vehicle or secure place when not using. Do not pour used cooking oil or food remnants on the ground.
- When camping in the back country hang food and garbage from a tree limb, at least 10 feet from the ground and 5 feet from the tree trunk. This tree should be at least 100 yards from your sleeping area.
- Some bears also target motor oil, insect repellant, liquor and other things that look like food. Make sure you put these items away.
For more facts and information on native Black Bears, check out the Cooperative Extension Service’s Bears of Arkansas fact sheet.
Remember: Never feed a bear. A fed bear is a dead bear.
Be Snake Aware
As summer approaches in the Natural State, many Arkansans will take to hiking trails, campgrounds, lakes, rivers and favorite swimming holes to enjoy time outdoors. While doing so, it’s important to be aware of Arkansas’ native snakes – including six venomous species – and how to avoid them.
Arkansas has 39 native snake species. Only six of these are venomous:
- Eastern Copperhead
- Northern Cottonmouth
- Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake
- Timber Rattlesnake
- Western Pygmy Rattlesnake
- Texas Gulf-coast Coral snake.
Of these, only the Cottonmouth can be found in wetland habitats such as swamps, streams and drainage ditches. For a guide on identifying these venomous species and more information on native snakes, check out the Cooperative Extension Service’s Snakes of Arkansas fact sheet.