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7 Dangerous Creatures in the Wyoming Snake River

Snake River is one of many natural wonders near Yellowstone National Park.

But beware of the dangerous creatures that live there. Since Wyoming is one of the best places to wander without seeing another human for miles, wild animals are everywhere.

But those who love wild animals and nature may wonder what the fuss is all about. Are there really dangerous creatures near Snake River that we should fear?

Let’s find out!

Grand Teton with its reflection in the Snake River at Schwabacher Landing in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA at sunrise.

About Wyoming’s Snake River

The 1,078-mile-long Snake River stretches over Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming. Visitors are especially fond of the area between its Grand Teton headwaters and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Its waters are crystal clear and provide plenty of ways to enjoy its bounty.

Some currents are so mellow that you can grab an inner tube and float quietly along. Canoeing, kayaking, and rafting are also popular. The mild waters near Jackson Hole are also great for fishing.

Further down, south of Hobart Junction, the river becomes a bit wilder. Look into Snake River Canyon, Wyoming, if white water rafting is more your speed.

7 Dangerous Creatures In or Near Snake River

Where there’s beauty, there’s danger, and the Snake River is no exception. Be aware of the scariest animals nearby while planning a fun summer escape here.

#1 Grizzly Bears

The entire area makes for ideal grizzly bear habitat. They love a good river so they can catch fish, and there’s plenty of room to live away from other animals.

Although bear attacks are rare, you definitely don’t want a run-in with one. Weighing anywhere from 300 to 600 pounds, grizzly bears are one of the most dangerous creatures near the Snake River. Don’t run if you see one. Instead, lower your eyes, speak quietly, and slowly back up. Chances are, the bear will wander off. 

That said, you should make bear spray a part of your camping toolkit. Avoid perfumes, keep all snacks in hidden and sealed containers, and always hike in groups.

#2 Gray Wolves 

Wolves most often travel in packs. So if you see one, there are likely at least a few more in the area.

Snake River wolf packs hang out around Thorofare trail in Yellowstone National Park. But they also can be found near the water closer to the park’s border. Once they find a spot, they tend to settle in and will probably leave you alone. Just be sure to stay far away from their pups.

If you see a wolf, keep eye contact and slowly back away. Provoked wolves have been known to attack, biting primarily on the head and face.

#3 Western or Prairie Rattlesnakes 

A rattlesnake bite can be deadly. But the venom in these critters is so poisonous that one nibble requires getting to the hospital asap. You want to get antivenom treatment going as soon as possible.

That said, the great news is that bites are extremely rare. These creatures, also known as Western rattlers, aren’t aggressive. They avoid people as much as possible. So as long as you know what to look out for, you’ll be fine.

You can recognize them by their triangle-shaped head. Their textured brown and tan scales blend well with the prairie landscape. So watch where you step when hiking and be aware of what’s beside the trail. They like coiling up near shrubs, rocks, and recessed piles of rubble.


#4 Bison

If only Bison were as soft and cuddly as their big furry heads. Far from it! These dangerous Snake River area creatures are more threatening than grizzly bears. Because they are highly territorial, the slightest infraction of their personal space can provoke an attack. So you should probably avoid any social media selfies.

These majestic beats love to eat grass and sagebrush near the river. You’ll most likely find them in northwestern Wyoming at the edge of Yellowstone. Watching these 2,000-pound creatures grazing gently on prairie grass is incredible. Especially when you look at their tiny little legs holding up so much weight! Bring your binoculars for safe viewing.

If you come across a bison unexpectedly, stop and slowly back away, especially if it looked at you. Once you’re far enough away to go around them (at least 25 yards), do so while maintaining awareness of where they’re at.

#5 Mountain Lions 

Mountain lions are nocturnal and have been known to kill human pets as well as animals twice their size. Monitoring their surroundings from above is preferred. So steep rocky cliffs and tree limbs are two of their favorite spots.

Residents of Jackson, Wyoming, see them more than occasionally during winter. It’s fair to say the cats have always been there. But as more humans move into the area, more of us take photos and videos of them. As long as we let them be, they’ll usually just go about their business.

But mountain lions are still dangerous. Their claws and fangs are no joke. These cats need to fear you if they seem poised to attack. Stare them down, make noise, get big, and stand your ground.

#6 Snapping Turtles 

This Snake River creature is the least likely suspect on our list of dangerous wildlife. Turtles have such funny faces, and Wyoming snapping turtles are no exception. Still, it’s best to stay out of their way as their bite can cause serious damage.

Snapping turtles live in the ponds and recesses of the winding waters. Their greenish brown shell is anywhere from 8 to 20 inches long. And they typically weigh 10 to 35 pounds. You’ll know you’re in trouble if you hear one hissing at you.

It’s relatively easy to avoid a snapping turtle. Many people are bitten while trying to help them cross the road. If you want to help, the US Fish & Wildlife Service says don’t pick it up! The department suggests using a car mat or something similar to gently nudge it or drag it off the road (if you can get it on the mat.) Be sure to move it in the direction it was already headed.

#7 Moose 

Surprisingly, moose attacks are three times more common than bear attacks. In fact, this massive beast might be the most dangerous creature around the Snake River. Standing almost seven feet tall and weighing over 1000 pounds, it’s best not to mess with them. If you startle them, they could charge and possibly kill you.

But if you keep at least 25 yards away, spotting moose can be a truly magical experience. They like the Antelope Flats near Kelly in Grand Teton National Park. Plan your trip for September through December for better viewing odds.

If you do accidentally get too close to a moose, don’t be aggressive or wave your arms. Slowly and calmly back away, making as little noise as possible. If it charges you, run! Moose aren’t predators, so running doesn’t trigger a hunting response. The key is to get far enough away for them to realize you’re not a threat. Another option is to find cover, such as in a building or even behind a tree or car.

Is Visiting Snake River Worth It?

We think the Snake River area is worth visiting for at least a few days. There’s so much to explore that a week or more would be better. So, plan to take your time if you travel to Jackson Hole and the Yellowstone area. As long as you know which wild residents live there – and you respect them – you’ll be fine.

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