WildlifeYou will not be alone in the wilderness. The chance to observe wild animals as they go about their natural lives is one of the most fascinating experiences that Canada’s national parks have to offer. Along with this opportunity, however, comes the responsibility to treat wild animals with the respect they deserve, and need.
InsectsDuring the spring and summer you need to be prepared for biting insects such as blackflies and mosquitoes. Cover up or wear specially designed bug jackets. Use insect repellent. Learn more about the prevention and treatment of West Nile Virus (Public Health Agency of Canada).
Poison IvyThere are areas in Kejimkujik where you will find poison ivy, a climbing plant of the sumac family. It grows on sandy, stony, or rocky shores, sprouts in thickets, in clearings, and along the borders of woods. The sap of the plant contains an oily resin that causes an irritating inflammation of the skin in most people. Learn more about about poison ivy (Health Canada).
© Parks Canada/J. Brownlie
Blacklegged ticks and the bacteria that cause Lyme disease are known to be present in mainland Nova Scotia and Kejimkujik.
To reduce the risk of encountering ticks, it is recommended that people and their pets stay on trails in natural areas and avoid tall grassy areas or shrubby areas and wooded edges. Do not let your dog run free as the ticks can attach to them and be passed on to you. Dogs can transport ticks to other areas.
People are encouraged to wear light coloured clothing (easier to spot the ticks) consisting of long-sleeved shirts that fit tightly around the wrist and long pants tucked into socks or boots, use insect repellent containing DEET, and check for ticks on clothing and skin. Conduct daily "tick checks".
The Blacklegged tick is very small (the size of a sesame seed and can be difficult to see on a dog) and the bite is usually not painful, or produces only a mild "tingling" sensation. Look for a new "freckle". A daily total-body inspection and prompt removal of attached ticks (i.e. within 18-24 hours) can reduce the risk of infection in the case of Lyme disease.
What do I do if I find a tick?
To remove a tick, use smooth, blunt-ended tweezers to grip the tick body firmly where it enters the skin and pull it straight out. If possible, ensure that the mouthparts are removed since they may cause local irritation and inflammation. Don’t squeeze the tick. Don’t put anything on the tick, or try to burn the tick off. Apply an antiseptic to the bitten area.
How can Lyme Disease be Prevented?
The only known way to get Lyme disease is from the bite of an infected Blacklegged tick. Knowledge of where these ticks are found, avoidance of such areas and taking measures to prevent them biting, and if bitten, prompt removal of the tick, are the primary preventative measures.
Be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease. If you develop symptoms, particularly a skin rash around the bite that looks like a red bull’s eye and /or flu-like symptoms medical attention should be sought. If Lyme disease develops antibiotics are necessary to prevent complications and the earlier treatment is received, the better. If not treated, complications of the heart, nervous system or joints can occur.
What about Dog ticks?
Dog ticks are also known to be present at Kejimkujik. Unlike Blacklegged ticks, Dog ticks do not carry Lyme disease. The presence of Dog ticks is very weather dependant. Dog tick numbers decline when hot summer weather begins (often late June - early July) and remain present at reduced levels through the summer.
This fact sheet provides basic information only. It must not take the place of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Based on information prepared by St. Lawrence Islands National Park and Thousand Islands National Park.
Parks Canada is working with experts in coyote behaviour, wildlife management, and human behaviour and education to develop and implement best practices for public safety. Visitors to any park or natural area should be aware of the risk of wildlife encounters.
Here's what you can do to improve your personal safety:
- Do not feed coyotes and be sure to properly dispose of garbage and other food sources. Coyotes that have access to our food lose their fear of people.
- Hike with friends or carry a solid walking stick.
If you see a coyote at a distance
- Stay back. Do not approach the animal.
- Watch it carefully to assess its behaviour (e.g. Is the animal following you, acting without fear, openly aggressive, fearful, wary, etc.?)
If the coyote approaches or is close by
- NEVER run away. (Coyotes are capable of running much faster than humans.)
- Maintain your distance by walking away slowly. Do not turn your back.
- Stay together and try to scare the animal away.
- Make noise, swing sticks, and generally act big and aggressive.
If a coyote attacks
- Fight back. Shout, swing a stick, throw stones, use whatever is available to defend yourself.
Report all coyote sightings to Parks Canada staff. If approached by a coyote, report the incident immediately.
To learn more:
BearsBlack bears are opportunists, always on the lookout for "easy" calories. Once they find human food or garbage (if they become food-conditioned), they continue to seek it out from backpacks, picnic tables, coolers, etc. If they become accustomed to humans, their natural fear of people fades and they take more chances to find food rewards. These "spoiled bears" are unpredictable and may be aggressive.
Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to manage habituated, food-conditioned black bears. These bears often pay with their lives for human mistakes. The only true solution is not to create "problem bears" in the first place by making sure all food, trash and other possible bear attractants are stored properly.Read more at You are on bear country