Just like plants, wildlife is all around you and requires space and respect. Spiders, scorpions, and snakes can be found all over Texas trails and while some are harmless, others can pose a risk of severe illness. Two of the deadly spiders found in Texas are the brown recluse and black widow; however, the striped bark scorpion is the animal you will see most often on Texas trails. Make sure to be aware of your surroundings, especially where you sit and where you set up your camp. While walking on the trail, try to refrain from picking up rocks or logs where these animals tend to make their homes.
When it comes to snakes, your location will determine which types you will encounter throughout Texas. The three most dangerous in our region are the western diamondback rattlesnake, the cottonmouth, and the copperhead. Avoid these while hiking, as their bites can leave victims feeling extremely ill if not treated immediately. While most snakes will only bite due to reflex and many retreat once they hear footsteps or loud noises, if you do come across one, the best advice is to keep your distance and walk away.
Lastly, you may observe wild mammals such as coyotes and cougars while hiking on Texas trails. Many of these animals tend to isolate themselves and rarely try to get near humans. However, there are times, especially during springtime, that these animals will frequently be out during the day looking for food. A good tip if you happen to see a cougar or coyote is to not turn your back and run away. These animals often interpret running away with prey, so that could cause them to come after you. The best thing to do is to look at their feet (so as not to appear aggressive) while you slowly back away from the animal. If the animal does appear to be aggressive, make your appearance larger by waving your arms over your head and making loud noises. You can learn more about cougars by watching this Texas Parks & Wildlife video.