Wildlife & Life in the City

Nature and wildlife are what makes our world so beautiful and breathtaking. We all get excited when we see a wild animal like gorgeous deer crossing our yards, standing by the side of the road or off in the distance of a vast field with a background of trees and forestry. They are beautiful, majestic animals that are so often misplaced from the habitat that protects and sustains them.

So many other animals lose their way due to improvements and growth of human population. The proof is often the loss of life we all witness when driving our vehicles. So many animals cross paths with cars, trucks and other vehicles while trying to survive. The natural habitat that these critters often call home is not filled with deadly threats when foraging for food or just roaming and frolicking.

Wildlife is not meant to live and survive amidst city life, although there is a misconception that they can subsist anywhere. There are numerous threats they face in urban and metropolitan locations that are absent in the forestry areas and parks. Humans infringed upon their habitats to build, work and exist, causing great confusion for the animals.

Wildlife Commonly Misplaced

wild animalsAmidst the prairies and sagebrush, you may see some pronghorn, elk, and mule deer. In some areas, it is not uncommon to see mountain lions that often prey on the young elk and mule deer. The lynx often forages for snowshoe hares while black bears can be found digging in trash cans and anywhere food is found.

Cities near hilly or mountainous areas may reveal rock loving big-horned sheep climbing the countryside. Wolves, black-footed ferrets, grizzly bears and bison may be seen roaming in the distance although they find it difficult to survive due to human development. Animals more commonly found within city limits are rabbits, raccoons, opossum, squirrel, skunks, and foxes.

A threat for many pet owners is the frequent presence of coyotes in search of food. They often attack small to medium dogs for that purpose, putting fear into the hearts of many rural and urban residents.

Prairie dogs, ground squirrels, and tree squirrels seem to dominate many residential areas, sometimes as an overwhelming nuisance. They are all members of the rodent family but all very different in nature. They have varying dietary needs and behaviors. Prairie dogs and ground squirrels both live underground but are complete enemies. In fact, prairie dogs often feed on the smaller, underground residents. Prairie dogs live in large colonies and can be destructive to residents in many areas, being a threat to pets and even cattle. Despite these statistics, the prairie dogs are now considered endangered, and pose a hazard to the survival of ferruginous hawks, burrowing owls and mountain plovers.

Another concern is black-footed ferrets. They, in fact, are a risk to prairie dogs, the ground squirrels, rabbits, mice, birds, insects and reptiles, primary sources of their diet. Ground squirrels and the diverse varieties of tree squirrels feed on similar foods including plant matter, fruits, nuts, insects, bird eggs and even smaller rodents and birds. They are not as much a danger to family pets but can be quite the menace in your yard and gardens.

The More Unusual Invasive Wildlife

cute lizardVarious other species of animals that typically live in the wild can infringe upon residential areas and are so frequently seen on roadways as what is sadly known as roadkill. There may be numerous varieties of lizards, snakes, and turtles. The concern for people is how to remove these critters from the road and possibly from the yard without harming them.

Lizards are nearly impossible to catch unless done by professional animal specialists. Never do so yourself, which can result in the injury of the animal and yourself. The same goes for any variety of snake. If you witness one of these species on the road, it is best to call a pro and avoid contact with the animal. Wait to see if the animal can make it across the path to safety and relate this to those in animal control.

If snakes or lizards invade your home and property, professionals are necessary to remove them humanely. Small traps can be strategically placed to capture the animals and relocate them back into their natural habitat. Lizards may be difficult to catch and would need to be humanely trapped by specialists. Snakes can sometimes be captured with snake poles and unique traps. Either way, never attempt to rescue any animal on your own without the help of those who know the proper humane handling care they require.

Turtles are a little different, and most are not dangerous to humans. The rule of thumb when trying to save a turtle on the road is to move it to the other side of the road in the same direction it was going. Do not try to turn it around. The turtle typically knows where it wants to go and to turn it around will only cause it to head back where it was going in the first place. If you are not sure of the type of turtle and fear a snapper like the snapping turtle, you can try throwing a towel or blanket over it and carry it near its rear to the other side of the road. Another option is to use a shovel, gently pick it up and place on the other side away from danger. If you are not comfortable doing so, protect the animal from other vehicles while you phone animal control specialists for assistance.