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Re: Animals in Yosemite...

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Animals in Yosemite...
March 15, 2007 07:20AM
I have been fascinated by the beauty of Yosemite Park all my life and I am going to try and make a trip there this summer. Can someone please describe the types of animals which can be seen - any hints on safety would be appreciated. Also, has anyone stayed at the Cedar Lodge? Thanks in advance to all suggestions.
Re: Animals in Yosemite...
March 15, 2007 10:10AM
I haven't stayed at the Cedar Lodge in El Portal (I assume that's the one you're talking about), but I considered it. It is definitely one of the cheapest places to stay. In the end we decided to stay in a Curry Village cabin so we could go ice skating (a winter trip, obviously). I drove past Cedar Lodge and it looked decent from the outside. My favorite new thing to do when traveling is read reviews on Trip Advisor. So here's the link for Cedar Lodge on Trip Advisor:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g32340-d113555-r6573036-Cedar_Lodge-El_Portal_California.html

The Yosemite View Lodge is in El Portal and closer to the entrance of the Park, but of course, a little pricier.

I can't say I've seen any animals of significance on my trips. Then again, I'm not much of an animal watcher. I guess I've seen some deer in the meadow. I've probably been camping/backpacking there 6-8 times and I haven't even seen a bear there. If you're only visiting the valley itself, it's so crowded, good luck seeing any wild animals besides some children. I would think you'd have to get sort of far away from all the people to see animals. So go on some hikes up and out of the valley. Definitely visit between July-Sept. so you can get up on Tioga Road 120 and Glacier Point Road. You havent seen Yosemite Valley until you've seen it from above, in my opinion. The roads may be open earlier this year because there hasn't been much snow.



Post Edited (03-15-07 11:17)
avatar Re: Animals in Yosemite...
March 15, 2007 12:16PM
Jay,
I have hiked most of the trails in Yosemite over the years and have seen:
Bears, big boars, sows with cubs, both totally wild and some that were "bad bears".
Mountain lion, one and it was just outside the park.
Many marmots. They are all over the place.
Picas which are usually in the higher elevations.
Snakes, mostly rattle snakes but a few gopher snakes, some water snakes, and a king snake or two.
Deer, bucks, does and fawns. They are pretty much all over the place.
Grouse, but only when I have gotten close to a nest. The hen goes into the "I'm broken, come eat me." act.
Mice, they will eat holes in your tent to check out the inside. It's happened to me.
Fish, rainbow, brown, and cut-throat. They are in most lakes and streams.
Frogs and toads.
One otter by Twin Lakes near Huckleberry Lake.
Various squirrels. They are all over the place.
Birds, from lots of little ones up to the big eagles. The eagles tend to be in the back country.
Coyotes which in the back country you can't see up close but you can hear. Very cool the hear them calling to each other.
Butterflies and many other insects including a water beetle that that was big enough to just fit in the palm of your hand your hand. That big bug was in Kibbie Lake.
Mosquitoes. Not really an animal but more of a plague. Repellent will keep them off your skin but not out of your face. I've inhaled a few.
Fox but only one.
Lizards and newts. In the spring the newts will be on the trails in shaded areas near water. You have to keep an eye out so you don't step on any.
Bats. Really cool to watch them fly around in the evening.
All kinds of waterfowl.

And one geezer with a couple of goats as pack animals and a dog "for protection" in Matterhorn Canyon.

You can't "go" to the animals. Generally you come across them while hiking however on the valley floor you are more likely to see some as they will be hanging out for food.


For safety I would suggest that you never try to approach any wild animal. If you see one just stay where you are and observe. If it's a wild bear with cubs turn and walk back in the direction you came from without hesitation. If you hear a rattlesnake stop cold and try to locate the snake and then move away from it. I've found that you can nearly step on them and they just rattle. Not much of a bite threat but you really don't want to get bitten.

Do not drink any water from stream or lakes without treating it first. There are parasites in all the water in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. While there is no guarantee you will get infected by them it is NOT worth the risk. Wash you hands before eating after having been out on a trail as horse dung can get on them unbeknownst to you. Horses are carriers of parasites.

If you are an mean thoughtless person and want to help kill animals in the wild then feed them. Most of the animals in the park depend on their natural habits to get them through the winter. If people feed them they will lack the proper body fat and will not put up stores of food and then they will die sometime after the snow arrives. Mice will use bits of paper as nesting material. It works pretty well until the mouse brings a bit of snow into the nest after foraging. The snow then melts in the paper and destroys the insulation quality of the paper and then the mouse dies. This is especially true of toilet paper which gets improperly buried in the back-country. Litter can be deadly. This is really a problem along the roads in the park and at the picnic areas on the valley floor. If you have kids explain about the danger to the animals if they want to feed them. These animals can bite too.

I have not stayed at the Cedar Lodge.

Sorry about the bit of preaching but I get hot about people feeding the animals.



Post Edited (03-28-07 17:06)



Old Dude
avatar Re: Animals in Yosemite...
March 15, 2007 01:56PM
mrcondron wrote:

> Bears, big boars, sows with cubs, both totally wild and some
> that were "bad bears".

I've never seen a bad bear that I know of. I've heard plenty of stories but in every one of those stories the bear was just intimidating the hiker and they were falling for it.

> Mountain lion, one and it was just outside the park.

I've only seen one wild mountain lion in my life and it was in the San Bernardino Mountains. I'm sure many lions have seen me though and I haev seen lots of tracks.

> Many marmots. They are all over the place.

Indeed:

http://yosemitephotos.net/main.php?g2_itemId=1182&g2_imageViewsIndex=1

> Snakes, mostly rattle snakes but a few gopher snakes, some

I almost stepped on a rattle snake near the bottom of the Snow Creek trail. My boot went down about an inch from its head.

Lost count of the number of rattle snakes I saw along the Tuolumne River. The Pate Valley is teeming with them.

> Deer, bucks, does and fawns. They are pretty much all over the
> place.

http://yosemitephotos.net/main.php?g2_itemId=1978&g2_imageViewsIndex=1

While sitting in a chair reading a book in Porcupine Flat Campground the deer would walk through my site unafraid less than 10 feet from me.


> Grouse, but only when I have gotten close to a nest. The hen

> Birds, from lots of little ones up to the big eagles. The
> eagles tend to be in the back country.

This redtail let me get close while he was looking for something to eat in the grass:

http://yosemitephotos.net/main.php?g2_itemId=2845&g2_imageViewsIndex=1

> Coyotes which in the back country you can't see up close but
> you can hear. Very cool the hear them calling to each other.

They seem to be common along the roads.

> Mosquitoes. Not really an animal but more of a plague.

Definately a plague at times.

> Fox but only one.

One year we had a fox at Deep Creek Hot Springs (http://deepcreekhotsprings.net/). Unfortunately some jerk decided to shoot it.

> For safety I would suggest that you never try to approach any
> wild animal.

People have been killed by deer in the park. Don't try to pet them.

> If it's a wild bear with cubs turn and walk back in
> the direction you came from without hesitation.

You can stay back and watch. You don't have to run away. Just don't make yourself a threat.

> If you hear a
> rattlesnake stop cold and try to locate the snake and then move
> away from it.

Ha! That time on the Snow Creek trail I teleported 15 feet down the trail. Then I sat back and watched the snake do its snakey things for a while.

> Do not drink any water from stream or lakes without treating it
> first. There are parasites in all the water in the Sierra
> Nevada Mountains. While there is no guarantee you will get
> infected by them it is NOT worth the risk.

About half the people that get infected by giardia have no symptoms. But around 10% get very ill. Not something to chance.

> If you are an mean thoughtless person and want to help kill
> animals in the wild then feed them.

I had a squirrel come up and bite my thumb at the top of Nevada Falls one time. I have no doubt this behavior was due to being fed by humans.

Please don't feed the wildlife. It's bad for the animals and it'll be bad for you if a ranger sees it.

avatar Re: Animals in Yosemite...
March 15, 2007 04:13PM
eeek,

I've had two experiences with a mama and her cubs. Once about 10 years ago at Rancheria Creek where the creek cascades to the lake. The mama brought her cubs up from behind to me and my buddy. We were boiling water for dinner when my buddy tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to just behind me. There was mama and a cub about the size of a house cat. What to do? We Just stood there for what seemed like a few minutes and she just walked off. That's when the second cub that was virtually standing on my feet became known to me. It just ran around my feet and followed mama and the other cub. That was my closest encounter.

The other time I was hiking along the trail from Miguel Meadow toward Hetch Hetchy and when I came around a bend there was mama up on her hind legs and the two cubs were scampering up a tree. That's when I turned and went the other way. I could hear all three running off and when I turned around to look back they were high-tailing it out of there. Thus the turn and walk away recommendation.

The first incident is I would call a "bad" bear and the second is a wild or "good" bear.

I have not seen a bear with an ear tag.


About snakes. I watched my brother-in-law levitate about three feet and move horizontally about four feet. He had bent down to look at a bush and the rattler was seeking shade under it.





Old Dude
avatar Re: Animals in Yosemite...
March 15, 2007 08:06PM
mrcondron wrote:

> There was
> mama and a cub about the size of a house cat. What to do? We
> Just stood there for what seemed like a few minutes and she
> just walked off. That's when the second cub that was virtually
> standing on my feet became known to me. It just ran around my
> feet and followed mama and the other cub. That was my closest
> encounter.

Making a lot of noise would have been good. She'd have called the cubs and run off with them.

> The other time I was hiking along the trail from Miguel Meadow
> toward Hetch Hetchy and when I came around a bend there was
> mama up on her hind legs and the two cubs were scampering up a
> tree. That's when I turned and went the other way. I could
> hear all three running off and when I turned around to look
> back they were high-tailing it out of there. Thus the turn and
> walk away recommendation.

You just don't want to look like prey. Thus the not moving away and definately not running away.

> I have not seen a bear with an ear tag.

Lucky you. I've seen more than I can count.

> About snakes. I watched my brother-in-law levitate about three
> feet and move horizontally about four feet. He had bent down
> to look at a bush and the rattler was seeking shade under it.

I know that feeling well.

avatar Re: Animals in Yosemite...
March 16, 2007 12:47AM
This bear totally ignored me while I paced him in my car for 30 minutes:

http://yosemitephotos.net/main.php?g2_itemId=4069&g2_imageViewsIndex=1

Re: Animals in Yosemite...
March 26, 2007 11:27AM
One day I saw three rubber boas on the Panorama trail between Illilouette Fall and Glacier Point. Supposedly that is uncommon, but the conditions were just right.

The squirrels around Vernal Fall and Nevada fall are little thugs. They are so aggressive that I feel sure that if there was a road to the falls, those squirrels would be carjacking people.

I saw a Blue Grouse in the Glacier Point parking lot, though it was actually brownish grey.
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