Explore Monterey County Parks Tour

Deer Ticks


Things to be wary of when hiking
Poison Oak,
Rhus diversiloba

Poison Oak is abundant in most wild lands in Monterey County. The distinguishing three leaf clusters are to be avoided. The leaves impart a poisonous oil that blisters the skin and can be spread by brushing against the leaves, petting a dog that has walked through poison oak, or contacting clothing that has brushed against poison oak leaves. The dried, brown leaves of poison oak also contain the poisonous oils. If you do come into contact with poison oak do not touch your eyes, and cover the infected areas to prevent exposure to sun light. Get immediate medical attention.

Deer Ticks are very active and abundant in the spring time. They are slow moving and feed primarily on mammal blood, about 1/8' (3-4 mm) in size. Female ticks lay eggs in the ground. The hatchlings climb up vegetation and wait for a host to brush against the vegetation where it latches on and feeds. After the tick is gorged from the blood the tick will fall off, molt and start all over again by climbing up to the tops of vegetation to wait for another host.
Wear light colored clothing when hiking (ticks favor dark clothes). If you are walking through pastures or wood lands, stuff your trouser pant legs into your socks to prevent ticks from climbing up your bare legs. Spray tick repellent on your clothes before you hike and check your clothes for ticks after hiking. Remove any ticks and burn or drown them in alcohol. Ticks can transfer disease organisms including Lyme Disease.

Rattle Snakes (western diamond back) Most active in midday when its warm. Rattle Snakes inhabit most of Monterey Counties wild lands. They have a large triangular head and most always feature a rattle at the end of its tail. Be especially wary in rocky areas because of the likelihood of rattle snake dens, or basking snakes. When hiking always carry a "snake bite kit."

Mountain Lion, Cougar (felis concolor) Elusive and rarely seen. Mountain lions feed primarily on small mammals and deer. Mountain lions weight from 80-200 lbs, with tawny coloration. There are rarely any attacks on humans. Keep small children and small pets close to you when in the woods. When hiking be careful when bending down as this posture mimic's the lions prey animals, do not run in the presence of a mountain lion this will only trigger its instincts to attack. Instead when confronted by a mountain lion stand as tall as possible, waving your arms and yelling. Always try to hike with a friend.

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