Recently, my daughters and I were playing in a creek by our house when one of the girls froze in place and stared behind me just over my shoulder. It was bobcat at four o’clock in the afternoon just roaming the neighborhood.
It wasn’t our first bobcat to encounter but nevertheless, it took us by surprise. It’s that time of year when we all emerge from our households excited for the spring weather. Just as we’re excited to get out and about, so is the wildlife.
Before Frisco was Frisco, we’ve always teemed with wildlife. From rabbits to coyotes and possums to bobcats, it’s important to remember that we got here second.
Last spring, I was pleasantly surprised to see a rabbit den located in my raised flower bed. I didn’t see a mom so I was concerned and not sure if I should call someone. Should I feed them? Call someone? Leave them alone?
Luckily, the City of Frisco has a top-notch Animal Services Department and they relish the opportunity to educate the community. Here are some key tips to keep both us and the animals safe.
If possible, leave it alone.
No matter how tempting it is when we find baby rabbits or baby birds, we should not touch, approach or pick them up. Mother rabbits deliberately stay away from their bunnies so as not to attract predators and they’re guaranteed to return. Mother birds can still teach their baby birds how to fly, even from the ground. They do not need our help.
It’s not unusual to find small bunny dens in the grass where they’ve burrowed in and have used fur and grass clippings to camouflage the burrow. In 3-4 weeks when they’re the size of a tennis ball, the bunnies will be off on their own.
If you want to check if the mother bunny is still coming around, spread corn flour around the den and check for footprints!
Don’t feed the animals.
Animal Services Supervisor, Steven Lerner, explained that when we feed the wildlife, we change their instinctual behavior. We shouldn’t leave out food or teach the wildlife that people will feed them because it will teach the animals to approach people when they shouldn’t.
As much as we want to feed the baby bunnies carrots, the flowers in the flowerbed are more than enough. “Rabbits consider flowers candy,” explained Amanda Weddle, Senior Animal Services Officer.
Expect to see more animals after rain or with the warmer weather.
After a rainstorm, you’ll see a lot more wildlife out and about, including bobcats and coyotes. Bobcats are out and about during the day and typically travel in and out of storm drains. Coyotes also go out during the day and can often be seen along the roadside. It could completely be normal behavior because they were born here.
Animals are used to hearing voices, horns, and traffic, but be on the lookout for odd behavior. If the animal looks sick or is walking towards people, it’s not a bad idea to reach out to Animal Services.
If you’re unsure what to do, contact Animal Services.
If an animal, especially a large animal, looks sick or injured, contact the non-emergency police line at 972-292-6010. If you have an animal that frequents your yard and you’re not certain what to do, Animal Services has suggestions for your family, including your pets. Just give them a call.
The City works with rehabilitators in the area, such as the DFW Wildlife Coalition, to make sure that animals get the best care.
Invite Animal Services to speak to your HOA meeting.
The City of Frisco Animal Services team looks for every opportunity to inform the community about urban wildlife. Each community has different issues so they cherish the opportunities to attend neighborhood and Home Owner’s Association meetings. Just call or email to get this scheduled. The direct line for Animal Control is 972-292-5303.
Get to know the myFRISCO app.
The myFRISCO app is a powerful tool that all Frisco citizens can use to report animal concerns. There’s a coyote mapping system where citizens can report when and where they encountered a coyote.
Animal Services will follow the patterns to ensure that wildlife continues to be wildlife with healthy boundaries between them and us.
Most importantly, enjoy the urban animal diversity.
Possums, lots of birds, coyotes, and bobcats are among the unique urban wildlife that we can experience in Frisco and Animals Services encourages us to watch from a distance and not approach them.
So while you’re out enjoying the weather with your family, let’s enjoy together the amazing wildlife that preceded us here in Frisco.