Wildlife and Pets in the Wildlands

Protecting Wildlife and Pets By Keeping Them Apart

by Amber Kingsley

One of the best ways we can help to preserve and protect wildlife is by keeping them away from our companion animals. Although it can be said that wildlife can pose possible risks to our pets, our animals can also be dangerous to smaller critters like possums, skunks, rodents, etc. Sadly, one of the few possible solutions from keeping tame animals away from wildlife is by trapping the latter and possibly relocating them.

One of the few risks with living in, near or recreating inside the Sierra Nevada mountains is the off-chance you may run into some dangerous wildlife. While smaller animals like those mentioned previously don’t pose a too much of a threat to people or their pets, larger predators like coyotes, black bears and mountains lions can be more than simply problematic.

But when it comes to stalking predators like mountain lions, although there has been headlines about sightings over the years, attacks are rare. In fact, over the course of the last 150 years, there have only been 17 reported attacks by mountain lions in the entire state of California. Studies have shown that if you come across one of these big cats, you should never approach them nor should you run from one. It’s also not a good idea to go jogging through the mountains, with our without your pet for this reason.

This is why it is so important to keep your pets leashed in and near the the Sierra Nevada mountains at all times. No matter how well behaved your animal may be, if they encounter this type of wildlife, the chances they will be injured, attacked or killed are greatly diminished if they are under your control.

Keeping Wildlife Out Of Your Yard

For those living near these beautiful mountains, there are many ways to keep wildlife, big or small away from your home and yard. For example, when I was a kid and we were living in the foothills, my Dad always had a radio blaring outside somewhere, usually where he was tinkering on something in the garage, cutting wood, etc.

I thought he just liked the company of the background noise, but I didn’t realize until I was much older that one reason he did this was to keep wildlife away. It is also effective in keeping nocturnal animals, like raccoons, skunks and rodents, from nesting in and around your home. Other ways to keep outdoor animals away from your house and yard include:

●     If you have fencing, make sure there are no loose boards, holes, cracks and that the latches and hinges are in good working order.

●     Don’t store pet food (or people food) outdoors or inside out building or garages. If you have a garden, make sure it’s fenced and keep fruit from trees picked up off the ground.

●     Get rid of standing water, which will also help keep the insect and mosquito population under control. Basically, you shouldn’t be offering wildlife free food and drink.

●     Regularly check outdoor structures and sheds for holes and possible entry points.

●     Keep clutter, even stacked wood, down to a minimum or kept in places where wildlife can’t use them as shelter.

●     Wildlife often like to use overgrown shrubbery and out-of-control landscaping as homes and temporary hiding places, so keep these well-trimmed.

●     If you have a compost pile, keep it covered and away from your house.

Sometimes the best way to live in harmony with nature is to avoid encountering wild animals, especially if you have pets. It will keep them both safer if they’re kept apart.

Thank you, Amber, for contributing this piece. It is timely. With rain and rising water, the wild is meeting our back doors here...