This week’s Sunbear Squad watch tip addresses a large part of the nation that is currently suffering from drought conditions, such as Texas. These conditions are forcing wildlife to enter populated areas they normally would not, and where the general public possibly has not had to have concern for the pets’ safety in that regard under normal circumstances. Arizona, however, is not having a particularly severe drought season, so one might think these tips don’t really apply.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. These tips actually apply in Arizona every year. While other parts of the country may suddenly be encountering wildlife driven into their neighborhoods by the unusual weather conditions, Valley residents must be on guard for their pets virtually all the time, due to the desert landscape that the metro Phoenix area inhabits. Phoenix, and other desert communities, must contend with wildlife such as dangerous toads, rattlesnakes, coyotes, and javelina on a fairly routine basis. Unlike some other states, Arizonans can’t ever let their guard down when it comes to their pets and wildlife, and the following tips should be heeded at all times.
Sunbear Squad Weekly Watch Tip:
If you live in a drought-stricken region, step up your efforts to protect your pets from hungry and thirsty wildlife. Desperate wild predators, birds of prey, reptiles, and some dangerous arachnids will approach yards and neighborhoods that offer scents of water or food. Secure your kennels, buildings, yards, and crawl spaces to protect your pets and avoid providing new homes to pests.
In a drought, protect your pets from hungry, thirsty snakes, birds of prey, coyotes, insects
Drought drives wildlife and insects into populated areas in the fierce fight for survival; it’s a well-known fact. Now more than ever, you must be vigilant and proactive to protect your family. Protect your homestead and all lives depending on you, especially your helpless children and pets. Here are the basics:
Protect your family and pets:
- Inside pets must now be supervised closely when let outside. Walk dogs on a leash in well-lit areas.
- Outside animals must be kenneled using secure, heavy-duty materials and providing roofs.
- Chained dogs are at high risk for snake bites and other dangers. Build kennels or move them indoors.
- Consider enrolling your dogs in a snake proofing course to teach them to avoid snakes and give an alert to the presence of snakes.
- Never allow your dogs and cats to roam at will. Hungry predators will kill them.
- After feeding outside pets, remove uneaten food to avoid attracting wildlife.
- Place water containers in clear view with space all around to avoid providing a damp, cool corner for pests.
- Use insect control products and vet care to keep your outside pets healthy; the heat causes much stress already.
- Wear leather boots when working outside to provide some protection from snake bites, especially in later summer and fall when they are more numerous and more active.
Secure your home and buildings:
- Keep trash containment and collection areas clean to avoid attracting insects, rodents and their predators which include snakes and coyotes. Dispose of containers that have holes.
- Keep trash tightly secured. Dispose of containers with loose-fitting lids.
- Close off crawl spaces beneath buildings and decks to avoid providing homes to wildlife and insect pests.
- Fix damage to outbuildings to make them secure, again to avoid providing homes to wildlife.
- Watch for dangerous arachnids such as scorpions and tarantulas which are more likely to show up around buildings during droughts seeking moisture and shade.
Secure your yard:
- Fill any holes and large cracks in the earth which might provide shelter to insects, rodents and snakes.
- If you are feeding wild birds or other wildlife, relocate your feeding and watering stations to a generous distance from the home; these stations will attract more wildlife than previously.
Read more about the risks associated with drought:
Uh Oh! Here Come the Snakes!
Fleeing Drought, Coyotes Roam Neighborhoods
Insects bugged by drought
Read more about desert safety tips, specifically for Arizona pets:
Pet Safety Tips for Arizona Residents (from the Animal Guardian Network)
Pet Tips for New Arizona Residents (from Four Peaks Animal Rescue)
Written by Anna Nirva; Copyright © Sunbear Squad, all rights reserved. Reproduced with permission.