black bear

5 of the Most Dangerous Animals in California

The Sierra Nevada bioregion’s tropical climate makes it the ideal home for a number of dangerous wild animals. It’s best to avoid encounters with these 5 species wherever possible or, otherwise, treat them with extreme caution.

Black Bears

Although smaller than the massive Grizzly, American Black Bears are extremely dangerous. These bears are incredibly strong, and their teeth and long claws are very capable of killing a human.

Black Bears are typically found in forests, and many encounters with campers in national parks have occurred. These excellent climbers can weigh as much as 500 pounds and grow to six feet in length. Make noise and back away slowly, but never climb or run from a black bear.


The Golden State is home to six rattlesnake species, and they are all venomous snakes. Although most snakes prefer to slither quietly away from humans, surprise encounters do occur.

The best way to avoid encountering and getting bitten by any rattlesnake in the state of California is to don the proper footwear and watch where you are stepping. Ensure that your feet and legs are well-protected. If you see one in the distance, stop and back calmly away.

Mountain Lions

mountain lion

Mountain lions are notoriously elusive and solitary. Twilight and nighttime are when mountain lions are most active, ambushing prey as large as deer and bears.

Continuous human encroachment on their territory has caused fatal mountain lion encounters to increase, though these are rare. If you encounter this animal, back away slowly as you face it, never turning your back, crouching, or running. Carry bear spray and aim for their eyes and nose as you protect your head and neck.


Found in desert, mountainous, and now urban regions, coyotes pose a very real danger to small children, pets, and livestock. While typically shy by nature, coyotes are savvy pack hunters. As well, increased breeding with gray wolves has resulted in hybrid species that are larger, stronger, and more dangerous.

Encounters with these animals can be diffused by appearing as large as possible, making loud noises, and throwing rocks or sticks. Attacks can be thwarted by targeting the nose and eyes with any available weapon.


Red deer in forest

California is home to six species of deer, and all of them can be dangerous to humans. Deer are commonly found on roads and in yards.

Dangerous encounters are most likely between March and June, when does protect their fawns, and between November and January, which is rutting season. Careful driving, distant observation, and no feeding remain effective tactics.

Other Species

In addition to the above, killer bee and shark attacks have occurred, and bites by venomous spiders like the recluse spider have also been reported in California.

Safe and Humane Wildlife Removal

Animal Capture Wildlife Control possesses over 20 years of experience in the safe and humane removal of the above species and many others. If you’ve seen a dangerous animal on your property, get more information about our safe and humane animal removal services today.