Living with wildlife: what to do if you come across a wild animal

Wild animals are pretty common in Colorado Springs, especially in the warmer months
Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 6:44 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Colorado Springs is full of trees and natural resources, making it the perfect habitat for wild animals.

This is especially true west of I-25, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, where animals such as bears wander both woods and, occasionally, residential areas.

“Bear sightings are very common in Colorado Springs, especially west of I-25,” said Cassidy English, the district wildlife manager from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

They say that these and other wild animals are more likely to come out as temperatures increase. With more people out as well, the chances of running into animals has increased. Compared to past years, though, they say the number of bear sightings is average for 2022.

Despite the increase in sightings in the spring and summer months, English says the threat of a bear attack is still very low. In fact, the only bears seen in Colorado are black bears, which are not known to be aggressive. Even with the name “black bear,” these animals do come in a variety of colors.

“They can be a variety of colors from jet black to chocolate to medium brown to cinnamon, sometimes they’re even black with some blonde in them, just, they could be any color really,” she said.

Still, she says bears can be dangerous and that everyone should take proper precautions. This includes keeping your distance and giving the bear space.

Should this be impossible, though, CPW says standing your ground is the best course of action; raise your voice, wave your arms, and appear large and aggressive to scare the bear away.

“Just keep your distance from bears and make them feel uncomfortable around humans so we can keep it there safe and keep people safe,” English suggested.

This is called hazing and CPW says it keeps bears away from populated areas.

But there are other animals in Colorado Springs to be aware of. Some common ones include snakes and deer.

CPW says snakes are likely to be seen on hiking trails around dusk and dawn. They suggest not wearing headphones while hiking so you can hear if a rattlesnake is nearby, and to always keep an eye out.

The same advice can be applied to deer.

“Deer do you get pretty aggressive, especially if they’re fed, which is why feeding is it illegal in Colorado to feed big game such as deer and bears and elk and everything because they do get pretty aggressive when they’re used to people,” English said.

Deer also reproduce and leave their fawns alone in the summer months, sometimes for as long as 24 hours. CPW says to leave these deer alone, as there is a minimal chance of rehabilitating them.

CPW has a comprehensive guide to Colorado wildlife on their website, and they routinely take calls answering questions. Nonetheless, the advice for nearly every animal is the same: respect the wildlife and keep your distance.

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