Some people won’t hike in an area where they fear they might run into a bear or snake. The chance of encountering one of these creatures is very small, and if you take precautions, the chance of being injured is even smaller. Here are safety tips. See if you can figure out which are for bears and which are for snakes. Answers are below.

1. Do not hike at night, when this creature is more likely to be out. (You are also less likely to get lost.)

2. Hike in the early morning or early evening, when it is cooler out. This animal likes to bask in the sun. (You are also less likely to get sunburned)

3. Don’t throw your backpack or food at it. This could inspire the animal to approach other hikers, hoping to get more snacks.

4. If you see one, make a lot of loud noises: bang pots, blow a whistle, yell. (Some people wear bells when hiking.) Back away slowly, DO NOT RUN, as this will make you look like prey in this animal’s eyes.

5. Stay on the trail, you are more likely to see this animal before it senses your presence. Leaving the trail, especially into taller plants, increases the odds of you accidentally stepping on this creature (or being bitten by ticks).

6. Do not approach this creature. This will likely make it defensive and cause it to act aggressively toward you.

7. Wear hiking boots with higher tops to protect your ankles from being bit.

8. Do not get between this mama and her children!

9. Carry a hiking pole or staff. This can be used as a defensive tool should you suddenly come across one of these animals.

ANSWERS: 1. Bear  2. Snake  3. Bear 4. Bear 5. Snake 6. Bear & Snake 7. Snake  8. Bear  9. Snake

Kathleen Gaskell is the Bay Journal's copy and layout editor and author of the Chesapeake Challenge. Contact Kathleen at

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