Living With Dangerous Wildlife

People should be aware of the presence of dangerous animals including bears, coyotes, and snakes.


Alexia Acosta

According to One Kind Planet, bears care deeply for their family members

Annika Firlik

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Well, maybe not lions and tigers, but bears are one of the many species of wildlife that Santa Barbara residents have come into contact with lately. 

Sixty percent of students have seen dangerous wildlife in Santa Barbara and many do not know the potential dangers that live in their own backyards and neighborhoods, including black bears or grizzly bears. 

A black bear made a guest appearance on the Lower School campus in September damaging a fence and causing quite a stir in the process. 

According to American Expedition, coyotes are very good swimmers. (Alexia Acosta)

Students reported their own encounters with wildlife, including bears. Sophomore Jesus Arriaga said he “saw a bear at his house.”

Wild animals encroaching in populated areas is a new phenomenon, which is mainly due to habitat loss. 

Large expanses of nature are being either burned down in fires or built up with construction causing animals to have no place to catch food or stay safe resulting in animals coming into densely populated areas to sustain themselves. 

Besides bears, coyotes make frequent appearances in neighborhoods, especially those in more natural areas and pose a threat to pets, particularly small dogs or cats. 

People should be aware that coyotes inhabit this area and know not to leave their pets out at night or unsupervised for long periods of time to prevent any harm to them. 

According to American Expedition, coyotes are very good swimmers. (Alexia Acosta)

In February, a mountain lion was spotted in Hope Ranch not far from campus and students’ homes. 

Like coyotes, mountain lions are a threat to pets and people. 

It is rare for anyone to see a California mountain lion because they are endangered. These sightings prove that habitat loss is more important now than ever before. 

Additionally, California is home to a few types of venomous snakes, all being from the infamous species of the rattlesnake. 

These snakes are present more in the brush and wild places of Santa Barbara than residential areas, but it is still good to be aware of them. 

For example, sophomore Vanessa Mielcarek said that she “saw a snake while [she] was on a hike.” 

If you are going for a walk or hike in the mountains or natural areas of Santa Barbara you should always be mindful to look where you step and not leave the trail. 

According to Healthline, “A rattlesnake bite is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately.” Fortunately, however rattlesnake bites are rarely fatal. 

According to Treehugger, rattlesnakes hear by sensing vibrations (Alexia Acosta)

Other types of wildlife in Santa Barbara include bobcats and foxes. It is increasingly likely for these rare and endangered animals to come into contact with humans. 

Freshman Milla Hirsch said that she “used to see bobcats in her backyard.” 

These animals go into yards and come too close to residents. It is important for people to be aware that animals inhabit the same space that they do and to know how to both protect themselves and help with the issue of habitat loss.