Successful Co-Existence Between Wildlife, HumansInteractions between people and deer, raccoons, opossums, coyotes, bears and other wildlife can sometimes turn into problems.
Hot Springs, Ark. – Interactions between people and deer, raccoons, opossums, coyotes, bears and other wildlife can sometimes turn into problems.
Wildlife live closer to our homes and families than we realize. Wild animals constantly seek food and shelter. If we toss out food waste or feed pets outside, we are going to attract animals because those food sources are easy to access, plentiful and available on a regular schedule.
We also fertilize our yards, and plant fruit trees and vegetables in our gardens, which attracts deer and other wildlife. In most residential areas, no hunting is allowed, which gives animals the opportunity to populate with little mortality, other than collisions with vehicles.
It’s really basic ecology. Herbivores survive by eating plants around our homes, and carnivores soon follow. More residents in the Hot Springs area are reporting altercations with coyotes, which are just doing what comes naturally and seeking prey.
Unfortunately, that prey can be a pet cat or small dog.
The damage to a vehicle can be significant, not to mention what injuries you and your passengers can sustain.
To help wildlife while keeping your family and yourself safe, consider these tips:
- Deer generally travel in herds. If you see one, more than likely there are others close by, too. Deer also are most active between 6 and 9 p.m. so it’s important to be alert during the evening drive home.
- Do not mistake wildlife as pets. While you may watch a familiar raccoon or squirrel in your yard every day, they are wild animals. Keep them at a distance.
- We often mistakenly assumed a baby wild animal has been abandoned, when actually the parent is nearby, just waiting for us to leave. The best action is to leave healthy wildlife alone.
- Do not attempt to rescue or rehabilitate wild animals. A list of trained wildlife rehabilitators is available at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s website (www.agfc.com). Feed pets inside, or only feed the amount they eat without leaving leftovers outside. Leaving pet food outside will encourage wildlife to come to your property, which can become a nuisance. Also, if your dog or cat feels threatened, it may fight the wild animal, which can lead to injury, illness or death. If there are coyotes around your home, keep small pets indoors as much as possible, particularly at night.
- Pick up litter and dispose of it properly. Keep trash cans and recycling bins in the garage or in an area where wildlife cannot get to it. Put both out as close to the time of pick-up as possible.
- Be alert when driving in wooded areas. Wildlife like skunks, rabbits, squirrels and others may not be able to react quickly enough to get out of the way of a vehicle.
For more information about wildlife, visit Extension's web site, www.uaex.edu, or contact Jimmy Driggers, County Extension Agent – Staff Chair, Garland County.
Are you interested in joining an existing Extension Homemakers Club? EHC is the largest volunteer organization in the state. For information on EHC call 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re interested in becoming a Master Gardener and would like more information, you’re welcome to attend their monthly meeting on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 1pm at the Elks Lodge. You may also call the Extension office on 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email email@example.com.
We have several 4-H clubs for our Garland county youth who are 5 to 19 years old.
For more information on all the fun 4-H activities there are, call the Extension Office
at 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email Linda Bates at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allen Bates
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Allen Bates
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
236 Woodbine Hot Springs AR 71901
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