Keeping Wildlife Wild

Devils Postpile provides a wonderful opportunity to view animals in their natural setting. Along with this opportunity comes a special obligation for park visitors. With just a little planning and forethought, visitors can help ensure the survival of a threatened or endangered species. Always enjoy wildlife from the safety of your car or from a safe distance. Do not approach wildlife to take photographs. Every year visitors get too close to wildlife in order to get a picture. Sadly, injuries have occurred as a result. Use a telephoto lens instead. This will not only insure your safety, but the safety of the animal. Never approach a bear or get out of your car to get a picture of a bear. Respecting animals at a distance will help create a safer environment in which to view wildlife in their natural habitats.

  • Keep your distance from animals, even if they approach you
  • Dispose of trash in animal-proof trash cans or dumpsters
  • Never touch or feed the animals
  • A feed bear is a dead bear


You may not see a bear during your visit because bears naturally avoid people. If you do see a bear, what you should do depends on the situation but consider yourself lucky! Almost all visitors want to see black bears during their stay in the Park. Learn more about bear safety.

Mountain Lion

A glimpse of one of these magnificent cats would be a vacation highlight, but you need to take precautions to protect you and your children from an accidental encounter. Don’t hike alone. Make noise to avoid surprising a lion and keep children close to you at all times. If you do encounter a lion, do not run. Talk calmly, avert your gaze, stand tall, and back away. Unlike with bears, if attack seems imminent, act aggressively. Do not crouch and do not turn away. Lions may be scared away by being struck with rocks or sticks, or by being kicked or hit. Lions are primarily nocturnal, but they have attacked in broad daylight. They rarely prey on humans, but such behavior occasionally does occur. Children and small adults are particularly vulnerable. Report all mountain lion encounters immediately!

Hantavirus/ Rodents

Deer mice are possible carriers of Hantavirus. The most likely source of infection is from rodent urine and droppings inhaled as aerosols or dust. Initial symptoms are almost identical to the onset of flu. If you have potentially been exposed and exhibit flu-like symptoms, you should seek medical care immediately. Avoid rodent infested areas. Camp away from possible rodent burrows or shelters (garbage dumps and woodpiles), and keep food in rodent proof containers. To prevent the spread of dust in the air, spray the affected areas with water and bleach solution (1½ cups bleach to one gallon of water).

  • Although rattlesnakes and cougars live here, they are shy and will try to avoid you if given a chance.
  • Always watch where you put your hands and feet, especially when climbing on warm rocks.
  • Most snake bites here result from teasing or handling. Very few people die from bites, but tissue damage can be severe. If bitten, avoid panic. Call a ranger or 911.
  • Chances of seeing a cougar (also called a mountain lion) are very small. But on rare occasions, cougars have attacked people and pets.
  • Avoid hiking alone — especially jogging. Avoid any behavior that makes you look like prey.
  • If you see a cougar, your goal is to convince it that you do not want trouble but may be dangerous. Don't run or turn your back. Instead look as large as possible by raising your arms over your head. Pick up children. Wave your hands and shout. If attacked, fight back. Report any cougar sightings to a ranger

NOTE: These regulations and precautions help decrease the chance of personal injury or property damage. However, damage and confrontations are still possible even when all of the above guidelines are followed. Remember your safety is your responsibility!

Last updated: March 31, 2012

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PO Box 3999
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546


(760) 934-2289

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