5 Incredible Stories of Wild Animal Encounters in Utah

Estimated reading time: 5-6 minutes

As you explore Utah’s great outdoors, you’re likely to encounter a variety of wildlife, especially with heavy snowfall driving many animals to lower elevations. utah.com It is noted that the state is home to more than 600 species of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians. Although watching a wild animal is exciting, it is important that you keep your distance.

Utah crosses regularly with bison, mountain lions, bears, and other animals and encounters are rarely serious. The following accounts show that all types of Utah’s wildlife command respect and appreciation.

The doorbell camera catches a glimpse of Layton’s Wolverine

Given that National Wildlife Federation Reportedly with only 25 to 300 of them living in the contiguous states, your chances of spotting a wolverine are extremely rare. But in 2021, someone takes a road trip through a Davis County neighborhood.

Leighton resident Sandy Sabin told KSL News that at first the animal looked like a dog — but its behavior suggested otherwise.

“It just seemed to be trapped between us and just kept running back and forth, not sure where to go,” Sabin said. Her phone video, along with doorbell camera video, shows Wolverine running through the neighborhood.

Officials believe this may have been the same wolverine that was spotted on Antelope Island earlier that year. Prior to this encounter, only six wolverine sightings had been reported in the state’s history.

A woman crosses the trails with a mountain lion in the province of Toile

Earlier this year, the Tooele woman went fishing with friends only to realize she was the one being hunted. Laurien Elsholz was hunting in the woods when she suddenly thought she smelled a dead animal.

“To my right, I heard a crash and I felt something, like, slide my leg,” Elsholz told KSL News. “I looked down and it took me a second to realize I was face to face with a mountain lion.”

Elsholz yelled up the hill at her friends and turned away from the cat, who said she had followed them for about a mile before running away.

“Just be aware—you’re not alone in the mountains,” she said. “It’s their land, so be prepared.”

A cougar stalks a man in Provo Canyon

Here’s another close call with a cougar you may have seen since it popped up on social media in 2020. Kyle Burgess is finishing a trail in Slate Canyon when he stumbles across some cougar cubs — followed by their mom. Burgess was chased by Mama’s cat for six minutes, which he mostly caught on his phone. You can watch the amazing full video at KSL.com.

Utah spots an ‘extremely rare’ white squirrel

Not every wild animal encounter is scary. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you might stumble upon something no one else has ever put together. In 2015, Nick Carnahan was having lunch at Red Pine Lake when he suddenly spotted a bright white squirrel and posted the video to YouTube. Wildlife biologist George Oliver of KSL’s Department of Wildlife Resources told KSL sightings like this are extremely rare.

Bear attacks in Utah

The good news is that bear attacks in Utah are rare. The bad news is that they can be very dangerous when they happen. Although there are no bears in the state, there are thousands of black bears roaming the hills–and enough stories to prove that they are dangerous.

in July 2021 Deseret News articleKatie McKellar described a handful of bear encounters in the state—one of which ended tragically.

In June 2007, 11-year-old Samuel Ives died after a black bear tore him out of a tent he was sleeping in with his family in American Fork Canyon. The Ives family eventually sued the US Forest Service because the bear had terrorized the camp site earlier that day and the family had not been warned of its presence.

Other accounts of bears biting or scratching Boy Scouts in the summer of 2019 also appeared on the list, as well as a 2009 account of a 78-year-old man who was attacked while sleeping on a crib near Rock Creek Ranch. The Utah Department of Wildlife Resources reported that one of the man’s daughters jumped on the bear and punched it while another family member helped fight it off. The man’s grandson shot the bear in the back, causing it to flee. She is later found dead.

What do you do if you encounter a wild animal?

While these encounters can make for some great stories, it’s important to remember that crossing paths with a wild animal is not something you should take lightly. In many cases, it can be life threatening. Stay safe out there with these tips from University of Utah Health Communications:

  • Don’t startle the animals.
  • Go back and make yourself look bigger.
  • Talk to the animal so it knows you are human.
  • Give the animal space to leave.
  • Carry bear spray and use it on any animal that might pose a threat.
  • Stay as far away from animals as possible – even herbivores.

If you are wondering how much distance you should keep between yourself and wildlife, then… National Park Service She advises keeping two buses length apart. And if you come across a bull, black bear, moose, or mountain lion, make those three bus lengths. Be smart and stay safe!

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