The most common and dangerous animals and insects that you'll encounter while hiking in the Okanagan are bears, rattlesnakes, and ticks.
This page is not a complete resource for potential hazards in the area. Always do your research before heading out to a new trail.
It is very unlikely that you'll encounter a grizzly in this climate, but we have plenty of black bears. See the BC Parks web site for more information.
- Always carry unexpired bear spray with a working knowledge of how to use it. This bear spray should be stored in a container when in vehicle transit.
- Alter your route, or back away slowly.
- Do not run, and keep your eyes on the bear to monitor its body language.
- Running or climbing trees is ineffective against all bear types.
- If the bear approaches you, talk to it in a firm voice, and back away slowly. If its persistence increases, increase your aggression.
- With a black bear, fight back. DO NOT play dead. Kick, punch, and hit the bear with any weapons or tools available.
- Bears will sometimes show a quick exhibition of aggression to defend as a perceived threat. This is a DEFENSIVE move. Try to appear non-threatening, speak in a calm voice, and prepare your bear spray incase necessary.
They cannot hear and sense through vibrations. They will shake their rattler to ward you off. At this point, find an alternative route around the snake. Do not attempt to kill it or scare it off. If you are bitten, seek treatment within 30 minutes for best results. Over the course of 2-3 days, permanent organ damage may occur otherwise. See this article for more information.
These insects are technically spiders, but look like little beetles.
Some nymph ticks can be so small they are hard to see. Wear light-colored long-sleeved shirts and pants as it will make them more easy to see.
Gently remove ticks from the head using tweezers. Do not attempt to burn the tick off.
Some, but not all, ticks carry Lyme Disease and the tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours before Lyme Disease can be transmitted. If symptoms develop (such as a target-style rash), it can often be treated with a course of antibiotics, but lingering symptoms can last up to six months.