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Anatelostaxus's avatar

How should a wildlife traveller be equipped?

Asked by Anatelostaxus (1428points) June 9th, 2010

What are some snake-proof, mosquito-proof, parassite repellent products ( or herbal remedies ) etc you know and suggest ..?

and what lightweight, nourishing, long lasting foods would you suggest to carry?

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6 Answers

ipso's avatar

You should give an example of where, conditions, and for how long, and what kind of “wildlife” will you encounter. SWPL pretty much sums it up, but I’ll blow hard.

I believe statistically the number one danger is dehydration. Carry more water than you think you’ll need. (All the other no-brainers as well: dress in layers (if possibility of cold), let someone know your trip and when you’ll be back, know where you are going or have someone with you who does (e.g. map, compass, geo, etc.) Don’t be afraid to backtrack if you get lost. Don’t force it.

I think “snake-proofing” is more about paying attention. Summer is snake season, so we’re in it. Don’t be the “cell phone freeway driver” when on the trail. Watch and listen carefully and confidently as you walk. Snakes don’t want any part of you (or mountain lions or bears for that matter). If you’re going into a risky area, make a big noise to let them know you are arriving, and they will clear out. Snakes can only uncoil to just over half of their length, so the actual danger area around you is pretty small – well within your sight. Use ankle boots if you have them. I don’t think snake-proof gaiters are needed, but they exist.

If you square up on a mountain lion (probably only early morning or dusk – especially dusk – when they generally feed), and if they do not instantly run away – DO NOT RUN. Square up and make yourself as large as you can (e.g. lift a mountain bike or hands above your head) and make as much noise as you can. Running or turning away will make them instinctively want to taste you. If you are attacked (90% chance you won’t know until after the fact), protect your throat and do not ever – EVER – give up. Grab a rock, or a stick, or poke them in they eye, or grab a leg and break it … you get the idea. Mountain lions are not bears. Playing dead is the last thing you ever want to do. If you’re way in the outback, best thing is to be next to a man with a gun.

Everything else is small stuff. Literally.

Mosquito-proof is more about time of day (dawn and dusk). Some people like to feel good about themselves with eucalyptus based repellents. Me – I like hard core purpose-built industrial strength insecticide. The higher DEET value the better. When I know I’ll have to walk a trail at dusk, I put on repellent over my whole body, but also carry a net to cover my face. Critical that. Get the spray because you’ll need to cover your clothes as well. They will bite right through Levis.

“Parasites” should not be ingested. Never drink trail water. Giardia is a VERY ugly critter. If you can’t cary your fresh water, purchase a proper camping portable water filter. Talk to a professional for the right one.

The tick/flea type parasites you can buy repellent for as well. Ticks should be pulled out slowly, from as close to the skin as possible. You should pull enough so the skin pulls up, but you may need a min or two for him to decide to let go. Do not yank him out or the head might come off. If the head does come off, and remains in the skin, you have to dig it out.

Poison oak/ivy can be a real problem. Of all the things mentioned so far (I have encountered them all) I am most afraid of poison oak. I’ve had golf ball sized blisters. I literally have scars on my shins. Oh the tales of woe.

You must know how to identify it. Leaves of three, run and flee was the Boy Scout mantra.

Hope some of that helps.

Oh – the most important part: Port wine goes down best by a campfire. Get a little 10oz Nalgene screw top and dedicate it to camping Port wine. It is a mysterious and magical drink by a campfire. Nothing goes with campfire like Port.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

“Wildlife traveller” would seem to refer to migratory habits of bears; could you be a little more specific? Are you hiking the Appalachian Trail for months? Weekend hiking? Camping? Becoming a forest ranger?

stratman37's avatar

Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.

reverie's avatar

I just answered question about insect repellents in this thread, and would echo @ipso‘s recommendation about DEET-based products. I would actually recommend 100% DEET if you are seriously wanting to avoid being bitten (try a product like this).

PacificToast's avatar

Regarding food, I think fruit jerky, dehydrated fruit, and almost anything by Nature Valley would be good. They have these little nut and granola clusters. Honestly, it’s the loudest food I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.

lilikoi's avatar

There was some reason why you’re supposed to limit the concentration of DEET you expose yourself to, but I forget what it was. Consumer products don’t normally have 100% DEET. You’re also supposed to wash it off within a day or something. I probably wouldn’t ever opt for 100% DEET…

Standing next to someone juicier than you works nicely to deter mosquitos from biting you since they opt to bite the other person :P

Really the best repellent is probably to be in your tent before dusk and wearing long sleeves and pants (covering up) otherwise.

Cheese, certain meats, oats to make oatmeal, nuts, raisins, granola, fruits, dried fruits, pasta, tomato paste, herbs, spices, couscous, rice, and other grains, flour and yeast for making bread, salt and sugar, beans…you can combine these to make things like chili, pancakes, sandwiches, soups, spaghetti and other italian dishes…I always tend to crave citrus after a few days in the boonies. Bringing a lemon or two would be worth the weight for me probably, or even those Daily C tablets or just plain vitamin C tablets.

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