Grand Canyon is Rabid with Squirrel Selfies

Scoring a squirrel selfie has become a dangerous game for people visiting the Grand Canyon. Recently, visitors have come to blows with the tiny creatures, as they are not as photogenic as they seem to be.  Park officials now are actively warning visitors of the peril inherent in the pursuit of a squirrel selfie.

Squirrelly Danger
While it might look cute and cuddly, a squirrel is still a wild animal. Being that they are in such a highly traveled area, the squirrels may tolerate humans, but they certainly don’t want to be besties.
“The rock squirrel is the most dangerous animal for most visitors to the Grand Canyon, in part because they’re everywhere,” Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski, a park spokeswoman said.

The rock squirrel is native to Mexico and the Southwest, so it is a part of the natural landscape for the Grand Canyon. Yet, that doesn’t mean that it’s safe to go traipsing up to it and trying to snap a picture.
According to Shedlowski, the native squirrel has even attacked tourists simply for pointing at it.

Elk Surprise
In addition to the rock squirrel, another common animal that people seemed drawn to take selfies with is the elk.
It’s slightly strange that so many people would seriously turn their back while that close to an animal the size and stature of an elk but has happened frequently.  The most recent incident left the person involved injured.

Remember, these are still wild animals and regardless of how much positive human interaction they’ve had, nothing is going to break through their instincts.

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Appropriate Pictures
Of course, there are plenty of safe, appropriate pictures that the park officials encourage tourists to take.
Here are a few tips for getting the perfect shot, without risking the animal or yourself:

• Wildlife is most active during the hours of dusk and dawn. Plus, the lighting is perfect for shooting a photo, which will bring up your #nofilter game.

• Field guides are available to help identify what you’re seeing.

• Stay quiet while you position your shot, so you don’t scare your subjects away.

• To ensure you’re a safe distance away from the animal, make sure you can cover the entire animal with your thumb in the scope of your lens. That way, you will have time to react if anything unexpected happens.