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Tips to Help Keep Families, Pets Safe from Wildlife

 
Bobcat (Photo: Texas A&M University)

Bobcat (Photo: Texas A&M University)

As new businesses and homes continue to develop throughout Frisco, wild animals – including bob cats and coyotes – are being displaced and may seek shelter and food in our neighborhoods.

“Usually, bob cats take off running when they see people,” said Michael Hansen, Senior Animal Control Officer. “If you come across a bob cat wandering through your neighborhood, you want to scare the animal by making as much noise as you can.”

Hansen says wild animals naturally look for an “easy” food source — so if you eliminate the source, the animals will go somewhere else. Early spring marks the end of bob cat mating season, so animals may be seeking additional food for their families during that time. Hansen advises residents to avoid keeping pet food outside, around the clock; secure trash containers and pick up any fallen fruit from trees. Such action will also reduce other wildlife such as rodents.

“Approximately eighty to ninety percent of their (bob cats’) diets consist of rodents and rabbits,” said Hansen. “If you eliminate those animals, you can also reduce your chances of attracting larger wildlife, such as bob cats and coyotes.” Hansen says never attempt to feed a wild animal.

City animal control officers and police officers are not equipped to remove bob cats or coyotes. Residents may choose to hire licensed, professional trappers; however, residents should ask trappers about their licensing, training and references to ensure the trapper follows state and federal regulations.

City of Frisco Animal Control officers offer residents the following tips to help keep their families and pets safe:

  • Do not leave pet food out overnight. Keep food outside for only a half an hour during the day, if possible.
  • Remove any fallen fruit from trees, daily.
  • Keep trash in a secure container. This alleviates ‘easy meal’ access. Place container outside on trash pick up day.
  • Be mindful of birdfeeders and scattered seed on the ground. Birdseed attracts squirrels and rodents.
  • Make a disturbance when confronted with wildlife so the animals know they’re in your territory. Waving a stick or banging pots and pans are good means for creating a disturbance.
  • Take a stick with you when walking pets. This can be used to harass a wild animal, if you’re confronted during your walk.
  • Keep eye contact and slowly ‘back way’ from larger, wild animals. Don’t turn your back and run, as this can trigger an animal to attack.
  • Physically restrain all pets and bring them into the house overnight, if possible.
  • Keep landscaping trimmed back around the house and pool. This helps prevent wild animals from finding shelter at your home.
  • Immediately report sightings of wildlife which appear to be staggering. Call the DFW Wildlife Coalition Hotline at 972-234-WILD. Normally, wild animals run away at the sight of humans. However, if an animal is staggering and continues to move towards you, it’s possible the animal may be rabid.

Resources:

  • City of Frisco Animal Control: 972-292-5303
  • Local division of the Texas Wildlife Damage Management Service: 817-978-3146
  • The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department provides information online