Monday, November 26, 2012

Living with Wildlife

Living in isolated areas of the county you’d certainly expect to see a greater number of wildlife, but during this time of year we also see an increase in the number of calls involving wild animals as they venture closer to the suburban areas.

With the increase in fox, bobcat and coyote movement, it’s normal to see them during all hours of the day and night. This anticipated behavior occasionally raises questions about safety in neighborhoods, so here are a few facts and helpful tips when dealing with coyotes in your area.

Coyotes generally won’t attack a dog for food. Rather, they view dogs as competition for territory, food and mates. Coyote’s favorite foods are small mammals (mice, voles, shrews, rabbits). Coyotes will also eat feral and free-roaming cats. However, research done in the Chicago region has shown that even in an urban environment, coyotes prefer their “natural” foods of small mammals and carrion.

The most effective way to prevent a bad encounter with a coyote is to make sure all of your behavior reinforces its natural fear of people. Clean up food around your house that coyotes like, such as bird seed, messy garbage cans, or food left out for pets. These types of food sources are not natural and teach coyotes that if they risk coming close to people, they will be rewarded with food. Finally, keep all pets inside at night and watch small dogs while outside, even during daylight hours.

For additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our Animal Control Department at 913-895-6300. Animal Control does not provide nuisance wildlife removal.

• Nuisance wildlife complaints: Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, 913-894-9113, or contact a nuisance wildlife removal agency in the phone book.

• Tips on handling orphaned wildlife: Operation Wildlife, 913-631-6566.

Stat Fact: In a year's time, Animal Control will answer more than 9,000 calls, impound more than 1,200 animals, investigate more than 120 animal bites, and process more than 200 special animal permits.