Wildlife in Folsom
Folsom is home to a variety of wild animals that are native to the area. With Folsom rapidly expanding into the foothills, many indigenous creatures in the area are being forced from their homes. Here are some of the more dangerous creatures you may encounter, and what to do if you see them.
Rattlesnakes are the most commonly seen dangerous creature in the Folsom area. With dry, hot summers, and abundant open spaces for them to feed on rats, voles, and other creatures, rattlesnakes are a definite danger to your children and pets. Although rattlesnake bites are rarely fatal if treated quickly, it is still important that your children are educated so that if they ever encounter one, you or your children will know what to do.
- Never stick your hand under cool, dark areas, such as rocks. This is the most common area rattlers may hide. Be careful when picking up sticks, etc. for firewood.
- Do not walk freely in tall grassy areas, as you may step on or near a rattlesnake without even knowing it.
- When clearing brush, make sure you wear long pants and boots, never exposing your legs.
- Consider installing snake fencing along your open fence areas. They can usually be purchased at any local home improvement store.
- Don’t leave your garage door open. It’s an easy source of hiding spots for a rattler looking for a cool hiding spot.
- Don’t try and kill a rattler, call animal control. Most rattlesnake bites happen when someone tries to handle or kill it.
If you or your child are ever bitten by a rattlesnake:
- Remain calm. Panicking will cause blood to flow faster, making the venom more potent.
- Wash the area with soap and water.
- Apply a cold wet cloth over the bite.
- Transport to the nearest emergency facility.
- Do not try and suck out the venom, this is very dangerous!
- Visit CalPoison for more info
Though coyote sightings are relatively uncommon in Folsom, it is not uncommon to hear them howling in the middle of the night, a sign they are nearby. Coyotes are generally scared of humans, but recent events have shown they have become more brazen with human encounters.
- Make sure your children are close at hand when hiking in wilderness areas.
- Keep your pets on a leash – dogs off leash may wander off and get surrounded by a coyote.
- Do not befriend wild animals, as they grow dependent on humans for food, etc.
- Keep pets inside during the evening hours.
- Cats are especially vulnerable if they have the ability to wander outside of your fence.
- Act aggressively around coyotes – yell, stamp your feet, throw stones.
- Teach kids to not act like prey – stand tall, wave their arms, and make themselves look dangerous to a coyote.
- If coyotes do not leave, seek shelter in a building, but do not turn your back on them.
- Your best bets are to not have a food source available for coyotes – do not give them the incentive to visit.
Mountain Lions are extremely rare, however, there are a number of them in the foothills. Your most likely scenario where you may see one would be in the Folsom Lake area if you were hiking or jogging on one of the many trails. In 1994, a jogger was killed in the Auburn area by a mountain lion, likely killed because it appeared as prey to the lion. Sightings of mountain lions are very rare, but you should know what to do if you see one.
- Never hike alone – hike in numbers and make lots of noise. Noise will likely scare it off and avoid any possible confrontation.
- Never approach a mountain lion, by any means.
- Give it lots of room to run away.
- If you see a mountain lion, be sure to pick up any children. Put them on your shoulders if you can – it will make you look bigger and protect your kids.
- Do NOT run away from a lion. Running triggers their natural instincts and makes them look like prey to a mountain lion.
- If you are ever attacked, FIGHT BACK.
- Go for the eyes, throw sand in it, or just plain hit it as hard as you can in the head.
- Guard your neck and head, as they will be their target.
- Never roll into a ball in the fetal position – it decreases your odds drastically as it makes you look like more of a target.
Bobcats have been seen in the Folsom area. In fact, this picture to the right was captured by a Folsom resident. Fortunately for humans, bobcats are not much of a threat – though they can reportedly take out a deer, they are typically scared of humans. Unfortunately for small pets (like cats), bobcats have been known to be a predator. Their diet is typically rabbits, rats, small birds, and wild turkeys (also found in Folsom). It is best to keep pets indoors at night, not only for bobcats but coyotes as well. The bobcat’s tail is usually small, around 3-6 inches long. The way to tell the difference between a bobcat and a lynx is the tufts of the ear – lynxes have more pointy and pronounced tufts at the top.