3H – Wildlife returning

Supporting article H: The return of wild to our cities and towns should be welcomed and not seen as a threat.


by Shelley K

It’s hard to get away from wild animals moving into the city when construction moves into their territory. At the foothills of South Mountain city park in Phoenix Arizona there are quite a few animal species that live there. Now that construction sites are there building homes, these animals are forced to find food and water in the local neighborhoods.

Coyotes come down into the alfalfa and corn fields just down the street of an elementary school. They go down there to drink water from the irrigation ditches and hunt food, which are most likely the resident gophers in the fields. Although they have been known to hunt for small dogs and stray cats around in the neighborhoods. There have been times when certain animals would come up missing. They also will come into the yards to drink water from dog bowls that are outside. They are more afraid of you than you are of them, so make some loud noise and they will run off. The coyote has also been seen on local golf courses trying to get some water from the little lakes and ponds. They will also go into the melon patches to eat some melons, which have high water content.

Bats also come down into the local neighborhoods. With the construction moving into the sides of mountains, they get close to some of the caves. The bats here are mostly fruit bats that eat certain fruit from cactus trees, but there are also insect- eaters. They are more beneficial than people realize. For one, they are the only animal that pollinates the night blooming cactus blossom. The insect-eaters keep pests like flies and mosquitoes down to a minimum. Most species are endangered or considered close to endangerment. Also the rabies virus is not that common in bats, unlike what most people think. Only 1 in 200 or so bats carries the virus. So to help out with conservation efforts, some people have put up bat houses in their back yards.

Desert tortoises also inhabit the desert area. The human homes are taking there territory as well. People sometimes take these animals home as pets, which is illegal here.

Sometimes the tortoise does not do to well in captivity and end up starving. So the city is trying to let people know that they cannot take them out of their homes.

Rabbits tend to come around when there is water present in yards. Thinking that the mother abandoned them, a lot of rabbit babies end up in someone’s house and they don’t know what to do with them. So they end up dying because lack of information. The mother usually stays gone during the day, especially if there is noise or work going on around the den. She comes back at night to feed and care for them. The smart thing to do is to just leave them alone. After about 4 – 6 weeks, they’ll all be gone anyway once they leave the den.

Like I said, it is difficult to get away from wild animals in the city when they come into your yard. But they are beneficial for the environment so the best thing to do is to leave them alone. Especially when we are invading their habitat.