Wildlife at Tara Mandala

Small Animals and Insects

Love them–they are sentient beings.  If by chance a bird, mouse, or squirrel does get in, just open the doors and windows. By dusk it is sure to find its way out; animals move towards light and fresh air in the evening.  Insects (flies in particular) do this as well. Insects like wasps that you’d rather get rid of immediately can be caught in a drinking glass against a window. Slide a piece of paper under the glass and carry it out.

Larger Animals


We have many different snakes on the land, including rattlesnakes as well as many other nonvenomous snakes. Remember, they will only engage with you if they feel threatened. Wear boots if you walk off the trail. Walk mindfully, and always be listening for the telltale rattle. If you’re lucky enough to see one, don’t go near a snake. Stand still, back off slowly and send it away with blessings.

Black Bears

In general, black bears are shy and want to avoid interactions with humans. They are not as aggressive as brown bears, but should still be treated with the utmost respect and caution. Being prepared for how to respond in situations in which you encounter a bear is incredibly important so that you can remain calm and respond to the bear in the appropriate way. 

Preventative Measures: 

If you are hiking, carry your bear bell, bear horn, and bear spray with you. Carry your radio as well. It is a good idea to make noise while you are hiking by clapping or hollering along the way, as this warns animals that you’re in the area. At your cabin never leave food or dirty dishes outside. Never leave your cabin doors or windows open while away.

What To Do During a Bear Encounter:

If you do see a bear, talk to it in a calm, firm voice. Back away slowly and try to return the way you came, while keeping your eyes on the bear. Do not turn and run, as it can be perceived as threatening. It is likely the bear will run away. 

If the bear approaches you, it’s important to determine its body language. If it appears calm and curious, like a youngster wanting to explore, talk to the bear in a firm voice. Try to get out of the bear’s way. Sometimes a bear will act defensively and is trying to communicate that you are too close. Body language could include: popping its jaw, swatting the ground with its front foot while blowing and snorting, or lunging or “bluff charging” toward you. Try to appear non threatening and remain calm. Get your bear spray ready, as you calmly and slowly back away and leave the area. 

If a bear continues approaching and its attention is clearly directed at you, stand your ground and prepare to use your bear horn or deterrent. Act aggressively and let the bear know that you are prepared to fight. Raise your voice, make yourself look bigger, clap and stamp your feet, use your bear horn if you have it. Threaten the bear with whatever is handy (stick, pole, bear spray). 

If a bear comes looking for food near your cabin, you can encourage it to leave by creating a loud noise such as an air horn or whistle, both of which are in the cabins. 

Mountain Lions

Although rarely seen, mountain lions are native to the land. If you encounter one, stay calm and maintain visual contact with the lion. Talk calmly yet firmly to it and make enough eye contact so that it knows you have seen it. Slowly back away, but stay upright and facing the lion. Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Raise your arms and position yourself to appear bigger by getting up on a stump or a rock and opening your jacket if you’re wearing one. A loud, sustained noise will often drive the animal away. It is a good idea to bring an air horn and a walking stick with you while hiking. Always carry your radio with you. 


Coyotes are common, and hearing packs hoot and howl around dusk is a regular occurrence. Coyotes have a natural fear of humans, and generally do not pose a threat to us.