Wildlife Safety

Loveland is located in the Foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and consequently we see many types of wildlife in the city limits. Bears wander into town most years in late summer or fall in search of food to fatten up before hibernation. Bobcats and mountain lions appear all summer long. Coyotes, rattlesnakes and a small elk herd make their homes in our town. Despite their apparent tameness, remember they are wild animals and should be treated with respect and care. Please do not feed the wildlife!

Always remember: if a wild animal changes its behavior, you are too close. Stop what you're doing, and back away slowly.

Bears

If you see a bear, remain calm.

  • Pick up your children, stay close together, and slowly back away from the bear. Do not run.
  • Never get between a mother bear and her cubs.
  • Make lots of noise by shouting, clapping, clanging pots and pans, blowing whistles, or anything else you can.
  • If a bear continues to approach you, try throwing sticks, stones or anything else you have at them.
  • If attacked, fight back!

Mountain Lions and Bobcats

If you see a mountain lion or bobcat, remain calm.

  • Make yourself appear as large as possible, by raising your arms, lifting your children, raising sticks or anything handy. Wave your arms slowly.
  • Back away slowly, maintaining eye contact. Never run, never bend down, never crouch.
  • Make loud noises, shout, clap, clanging pots and pans, blowing whistles. Be sure to not make any sounds that the cat may interpret as the sound of prey.
  • If attacked, fight back!

Coyotes

If you see a coyote, remain calm. (If you managed it with the bears and mountain lions, you can remain calm with the coyote.)

The coyote is more likely to run from you than the bears and cats. Give it plenty of room to escape (don't corner it). Then enjoy the beauty of these predators as he dashes away.

Rattlesnakes

Rattlesnakes are found in Loveland, especially in grassy or rocky areas on hot summer days. Bull snakes are also often found in Loveland, and have similar markings. If you come across a snake you believe to be a rattler, remain calm.

  • Stop walking if you find one, and keep your pets away from the snake. Pets are more likely to be bitten than humans, so please protect Fido.
  • Stay at least five feet from the snake, preferably more. Back away slowly.
  • Do not harrass or try to kill the snake. Provoking it will cause it to fight back.
  • Alert others to its presence, to keep others away from it.
  • If bitten by any snake, seek immediate medical assistance.

Elk

Elk live in western Loveland, hopefully you'll get a chance to see the herd while you're here. Our elk are used to humans, and will likely let you close enough to take their photograph. Please remember they are wild animals and treat them as such.

  • Remain calm.
  • Do not approach the elk closely, remain a safe distance away.
  • During the rut (September - October), bull elk become aggressive in protecting their harem and may charge. You won't come out on top in this confrontation, so remember to remain a safe distance away.
  • Cow elk (females) become aggressive when protecting their young and may charge.

There are tourists each year who believe these giants are gentle, and they encourage their kids to get close enough to the herd for the perfect photo opportunity. Do not do this! Your children will be in danger, these are truly wild animals who will charge anyone, even your children, to protect their herd. Remain a safe distance away.

Please note that elk hunting is allowed in certain places within Loveland and the local Roosevelt and Arapaho National Forests. If you are viewing elk, please make sure you are wearing bright clothing to ensure hunters and the elk herd are aware of your presence.

Moose

Moose live on the western slope of Rocky Mountain National Park and up the Poudre Canyon, and on the rare occasion they wander into town. If you find yourself face to face with a moose:

  • Remain calm. Don't be aggressive.
  • Cow moose are extremely devensive of their young. Be very, very careful if there are babies near.
  • Talk softly, move away slowly. Make sure you aren't moving towards her young.
  • If a moose has its ears laid back and hackels up, it's likely to charge. The first charge is often a bluff, a warning to get you to leave, so run!
  • It is ok (and appropriate) to run away from a moose (but not a bear). If you can't run away, at least get behind something solid, such as a tree or car.
  • If you are knocked down by a moose, curl up into a ball and protect your head. Do not fight back. Only get up when the moose has moved off to a safe distance.

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn sheep live up the Big Thompson Canyon and up in Rocky Mountain National Park. The ones along the canyon road often appear tame, crossing the road and coming quite close to the cars. They are still wild animals and should be treated with respect.

  • You guessed it, rule #1: Remain calm.
  • If you stand still, they are highly unlikely to charge you. Aggressive behavior on your part is likely to cause aggressive behavior on theirs.
  • As always, be sure to not find yourself between a mother and her young.
  • If a sheep charges you, hide behind your car or something else solid.

The most common incident you may encounter with a bighorn sheep is its lack of respect for automobiles and bikers. Please drive carefully up the canyon and through the park, being mindful of animals darting in front of your vehicle.