Camping while on a motorcycle trip is an unforgettable experience, but it can also become a nightmare if you don’t take the necessary steps to avoid attracting wildlife to your campsite.
This was something I had previously not considered until my most recent trip to Norway. However, after a chance encounter with a wild animal at 2 a.m., it certainly left me with food for thought. Not only does it concern your safety and comfort during camping, but it’s also crucial for the well-being of wildlife and maintaining the balance of the ecosystem.
Negative encounters with wildlife can have severe eco implications. For humans, this can range from minor inconveniences to potential harm like overpopulation of pests.
For the animals, gaining access to human food can lead to unhealthy eating habits, reliance on humans for food, and increased aggression. All these can disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem.
Don’t leave food out for animals.
The allure of food is one of the main reasons wildlife venture into human-populated areas like towns and villages. Your campsite is no exception. When camping, it’s essential to store food securely to prevent attracting animals.
For countries with native bears (think American bear country or Eastern Europe), bear-resistant containers are your best bet. These containers are designed to contain food smells and are difficult for animals to open. Even if bears are not common in your area (like most of Western Europe and the UK), these containers can still be beneficial in keeping smaller critters away.
Remember, animals have a much stronger sense of smell than humans do. For example, feral dogs can smell waste food for over 20km!
Dispose of waste correctly.
Campsite hygiene extends beyond food storage. Proper waste and rubbish management is another vital point when avoiding attracting animals. Make sure to dispose of your rubbish and waste food regularly.
If there aren’t any bins nearby, consider wrapping your waste in carrier or ziplock bags and placing it in your motorcycle panniers. Position your bike away from your tent. That way, if you attract animals, it should help prevent them from approaching your tent.
Please do not bury your waste, as animals can easily dig it up. For human waste, dig a hole at least 6 to 8 inches deep and cover it once done. Only use biodegradable toilet paper on the road, or put your waste in a ziplock bag and take it with you.
Noise is another factor that can help keep wildlife at bay. Animals are naturally wary of unfamiliar sounds and will generally avoid noisy areas. It’s no coincidence that campfire songs are popular as they drive away local wildlife, especially at night. It’s theorised that snoring was an evolutionary trait which kept us safe at night.
However, if a dangerous animal is within sight, try to remain silent so as not to attract its attention or scare it. A scared animal is an unpredictable animal.
In conclusion, while motorcycle camping offers an exciting adventure, it’s crucial to take preventive measures to avoid attracting wildlife to your campsite.
Remember, we’re visitors in their home. It’s our responsibility to ensure our presence does not negatively affect them or their environment. Safe and responsible camping benefits us all.