Protecting food from animals

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Protecting food from animals

Postby alpinewanderer » Fri 15 Feb, 2019 12:51 pm

Hello, I am from Canada and am planning multi-day hikes of Larapinta Trail and Great Ocean Walk when I visit in April. My query is what do folks doing the Larapinta Trail and Great Ocean Walk do to protect their food from animals? In Canada, some campsites have lockers to put your food in (I understand a few of these on the Larapinta, but not at all sites) or we carry a bear barrel or an ursak (or hang food from a tree). Some may put it in their tent, but some animals will chew through the tent if they smell it - is this a risk on these trails? If I bring an Ursak ( bear resistant food sack made from lightweight, flexible, 'bullet proof' fabric) and leave it outside of my tent, could a dingo on the Larapinta Trail simply drag it away? Anyway, trying to figure out what you folks do on these trails.
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Re: Protecting food from animals

Postby ricrunner » Fri 15 Feb, 2019 5:13 pm

Personally I know nothing about the track, but do camp a lot here OZ, and I have never had an attempt to get to my food in a bag in my tent, but that is never to say it wouldn't happen. An Ursack would be a good idea, and have thought of one myself for another trip up to Cape tribulation in Nth. QLD, as it is quite over run with rats. The first time we camped up there, we were advised to put our food in plastic drums(we were car camping), so that's what we did, and yes we saw lots of rats. I could only see a problem with rats and possums, here and maybe an dingo, if they are known to be there. So other guys will chime in, but if there is a likely a problem, then do what you do at home and hang in a tree. You wont have to hang it far from your tent as none of theses animals will eat you, so close by will be OK.
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Re: Protecting food from animals

Postby trekker76 » Fri 15 Feb, 2019 5:16 pm

Hi, I'm not from the regions you intend to hike but I'm sure those that are will weigh in shortly. Where I am we have large rats as mentioned above which can gnaw through packs and tents to get at food. I usually use sealed screw top containers(old protein powder canisters in fact) to protect food and hang it from a tree as you mention. I am doubting the trails you mention will have these animals but not 100% sure. Dingo's and wild dogs I have not heard of pilfering food, at least in my region anyway. Ants can be a problem in some areas, don't leave food scraps on the ground unless you want an army marching into your camp, they can get quite large here.
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Re: Protecting food from animals

Postby Warin » Fri 15 Feb, 2019 5:40 pm

alpinewanderer wrote: could a dingo on the Larapinta Trail simply drag it away?


Yes. One person I know left there boots outside the tent.. took some hours to find one boot the next morning .. obvious teeth marks and saliva on it - a dingo. Keep all your gear in the tent or out of pilfering range. Dingos do recognise water bottles too.

I have had a dingo look in my tent, it was open. Another person noticed and shooed them away. Keep your tent closed.

The animals are not aggressive, yet, as no one feeds them so they don't demand food from you and if they fail to get it came after you. Message .. do not personally feed any of the animals! But they do see your gear as a potential source of food and water. So they will look if given the chance. They will even track you to see if anything falls off.

I think the lockers are for mice/rats at that location.

I have had mice/rats chew a hole in a canvas bag to try and get at food. They have very sharp teeth.
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Re: Protecting food from animals

Postby ChrisJHC » Fri 15 Feb, 2019 8:31 pm

The “lockers” on the Larapinta are for you to pre-position food in so that you only have to carry 3-4 days’ food at any time. You need a special key and there are only a few of them along the 230 km.
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Re: Protecting food from animals

Postby Mark F » Fri 15 Feb, 2019 10:14 pm

A bit off topic but April is the very earliest most people would attempt the Larapinta - normally mid May to end of August would be best. In April you are likely to strike extremely hot weather with several days in the low to mid 30s and you would appear to be coming out of a Canadian winter so not acclimatised.
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Re: Protecting food from animals

Postby north-north-west » Sat 16 Feb, 2019 11:52 am

The places you're most likely to have trouble along the Larapinta are at the major camping sites with vehicle access, such as Ormiston and Ellery's. Lot of food scraps get left and the wildlife know that. Frequently there is a problem with mice and other rodents around the shelters at the main walk-in sites. Odour proof bag will help. So will hanging, although some of these critters are very agile. There is more than one thread on the fora about how to best protect food from wildlife - you could try doing a search. Best method is a wire trace (fishing shops) with the top section from a soft-drink bottle to prevent anything climbing down.
I mostly camped away from the official sites and never had any trouble.

As well as rodents there will be possums, goannas and various sneaky large birds on the GOW, and they have learnt to identify the campsites, tents and packs as sources of food. Never leave food easily accessible, make sure they can't smell it when you're camped, and hang where possible.
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Re: Protecting food from animals

Postby Warin » Mon 18 Feb, 2019 12:59 pm

ChrisJHC wrote:The “lockers” on the Larapinta are for you to pre-position food in so that you only have to carry 3-4 days’ food at any time. You need a special key and there are only a few of them along the 230 km.


Humm A question of 'words'?

There are a few 'shelters' with 'cupboards' - these are intended to keep food safe from animals... I don't think these are intended for food drops, they are not in a locked area nor are locked themselves.

There are 2 'official' food drops along the Larapinta.These use the key which chris speaks of. https://nt.gov.au/leisure/recreation/bu ... food-drops
There are at least another 2 food drops that can be organised. See the above web link.
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Re: Protecting food from animals

Postby ChrisJHC » Mon 18 Feb, 2019 5:35 pm

Much clearer - thanks, Warin!
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