When many people are preparing for their trip, the last thing they might think about is how to keep animals away. Although it is possible that wild animals are friendly, many are known to be individualistic and unpredictable. They can cause you serious injury and damage your property. Here are some tips to keep you and your family stay safe while in the outback.
1) Choosing & Researching Your Campsite
Take the time to research the ideal place to camp. Knowing which specific animals are in the area and their habits is one of the best ways to keep critters away.
- Water is attractive to snakes, mosquitoes, raccoons, foxes and kangaroos
- Wooded areas are good homes for mosquitoes, other insects, foxes, snakes, raccoons and kangaroos
- Fallen trees, piles of locks, leaf piles, and rocky areas are friendly to snakes and insects
- Damp areas are natural homes for insects, and bears like to eat the vegetation that grows there. This includes marshes, still water, and the bottoms of valleys
- Tall grasses are good homes for snakes and insects
Choosing a flat, open area with little to no grass can help keep snakes and bugs away, as well as protect you if an unexpected visitor wanders in. Make sure there are trees nearby to hang your cooler, backpack and rubbish bags, as well as a water source to stay hydrated.
2) Repelling Mosquitos
Mosquitos can be deterred by the following items:
- Citronella candles
- Coffee grounds
- Apple cider vinegar
- Fire — it also eliminates moisture and darkness
3) Storing Food
When the sun goes down, foxes, possums and kangaroos are known to come out for a late night bite. If you do not store your food and garbage, you might wake up to find it all strewn across the floor.
An easy way to avoid animals getting into your food is to put it in a locked cooler and wrap it tightly with rope. Hang it at least 6m off the ground and at least 2.5m from the trunk of a tree. If possible, do not use the same tree as other campers because it might be marked as a more fruitful target.
Remember to wash all your cooking supplies before and after you use them. Animals may come and eat food scraps off used utensils and cooking implements if you leave them out.
4) Disposing Rubbish
If your campfire doesn’t take care of the trash, bring strong garbage bags and double bag your trash and hang it as high as your cooler. Do not bury your trash because animals can easily dig it up and do not burn your trash because it may produce toxic trash and leave toxic residue. If need be, take your trash with you when you leave and dispose of it in a designated rubbish disposal area or at home.
5) Protect Yourself
- Do not eat inside your tent because the scent of food can linger and do not ever leave food unattended – even if you are only away for a few moments. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Set up your tent or sleeping area at least 60m from where you cook to avoid encountering an animal when you least expect it.
- Always have something to protect yourself in case an animal decides to wander in your campsite. A bright flash of light or loud sounds can scare off most animals.
- Keep shiny objects like aluminum foil, tin cans, jewelry, keys and cutlery out of site as they may attract raccoons.
- When you brush your teeth, do not spit anywhere near your campsite because some animals enjoy the smell of peppermint.
Now that you know the best ways to keep animals away from your campsite, all that’s left to do is have fun and enjoy your trip!