Summer is officially here and many of us are hitching up and heading out to our favorite campgrounds and national parks. Time spent together hiking, swimming, and relaxing around the campfire can be magical and create lasting memories. But “we” aren’t the only ones enjoying the great outdoors are we? The hills are alive with the sounds of bison and bear, and coyote! You may have packed up the suntan lotion and bug spray, but did you pack the bear spray? If you did, do you even know how to use it?
Most campers and RV owners have a vague sense that their are bears out there, but do you know how to avoid them? And, God forbid, do you know what to do if one attacks?
Thankfully for the RVFTA tribe we’ve got you covered and we are going to help keep you safe! On this week’s podcast we are talking to Rachel Levin, the author of LOOK BIG: And other tips for surviving animal encounters of all kinds an entertaining, humorous, and illustrated A to Z guide to wildlife safety! Rachel has got the best tips and intel for encounters with animals from ants to woodpeckers–and everything in between. Whether you are camping in Yellowstone, or Jellystone, this episode will help keep you stay safe and prepared this summer!
Segment One: Alligators, Ants, Bats, and Bears!
Rachel was first inspired to write LOOK BIG when she was cross-country skiing in Breckenridge, Colorado and she found herself face to face with a “ginormous” moose and realized she had no idea what to do. Her first instinct was to snap a selfie, but her “natural-born instincts kicked in” and she decided to turn around and glide away while telling the moose not to follow her. She later discovered that this was pretty much exactly the wrong thing to do and she decided to channel her neurotic fear of animal into a charming book that she packed in every RV–right next to the bear spray.
After recounting this story Rachel dives right into some tips and tricks for encountering animals big and small. What do to when you come face to face with alligator? Well, unlike a bear or a moose, you might just be able to outrun it! How about keeping Ants out of the RV? Rachel has all of the latest “scientific” home remedies to keep those critters out of your home on wheels?
And what about every RV owner’s greatest fear? THE GRIZZLY BEAR? Rachel’s gonna tell you when to play dead and when to LOOK REALLY REALLY BIG!
Segment Two: Bees, Wasps, Hornets, Bison, Mosquitoes, Snakes, and Ticks! Plus a surprising list of animals from most to least deadly!
Did you know that there are 60 times more deaths caused by bees, wasps, and hornets, than by bears? Well, we didn’t either until we interviewed Rachel. In segment two we dive deeper into Rachel’s A-Z guide to wildlife safety. Stephanie discusses her fear of snakes and Rachel gives us way too much information on how to deal with tick this summer, because according to her they “are everywhere, literally waiting for us.”
RVFTA is heading to South Dakota this summer, so we pay particular attention to the common sense safety rules regarding Bison, which we hope to see in great number in as we head out to Mount Rushmore. Finally, we wrap up our interview with Rachel by dipping into her list of animals from “most to least deadly” which is filled with surprises.
Segment Three: Additional Resources for Wildlife Safety
In segment three of this week’s podcast, we discuss additional resources for Animal Safety–just in case!
- Don’t Get Eaten: The Dangers of Animals that Charge or Attack, by Dave Smith is another excellent book about Wildlife Safety that can fit in your pocket–though we would recommend reading it before you hit the trail.
- “Tourists Behaving Badly: What Not to Do in National Parks” is an excellent article by National Geographic that is available for free online.
- RVFTA recommends that before taking a trip to a National Park you check that particular parks website for wildlife safety tips that are specific to that landscape and region.
- The National Park Service website also has an entire section entitled Staying Safe Around Bears, which is comprehensive and includes links and videos about using the proper use of bear spray in (God forbid) an emergency encounter.
We hope this episode of RVFTA provides some much needed levity when it comes to the serious topic of wildlife safety. But more importantly, we hope it keeps you safer at the campground this summer.
See you at the Campground!
Stephanie + Jeremy