How to interact with Urban Wildlife

By Fort Knox Hunt ControlSeptember 5, 2019

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

While most people enjoy viewing wildlife, they can become a problem around homes and housing areas without taking some precautions. With urban expansion and development, wildlife encounters have become more frequent in recent years. Many wildlife species have become very successful at coexisting with humans in urban and suburban environments. In particular, raccoons, opossums, skunks, gray squirrels, deer, and even foxes and coyotes. Many of the problems can be minimized or eliminated by doing a few simple things around the house. Reproduction this spring and summer has increased the annual population of wildlife to its highest level, and with winter approaching, competition for food increases and small numbers of wild animals--primarily coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and skunks will take advantage of available resources. With this in mind, Soldiers, civilians, contractors, and Family members residing or working on Fort Knox are reminded of the below best practices:

- Do not feed wild animals! Feeding them only draws them closer and increases the likelihood of a troublesome encounter. Feeding wildlife, other than small bird feeders, is also a violation of Garrison policy and greatly increases the likelihood of wild animals becoming a nuisance.

- Do not feed pets outside, but if feeding outdoors, remove food bowls immediately after your pet has finished eating.

- Secure garbage and garbage cans; use cans that have latches, or use bungee cords to secure lids.

- Keep bird feeders clean to prevent disease transmission and clean the ground under feeders regularly to prevent seeds from building up and attracting unwanted rodents.

- Residents are reminded to ensure pets are always leashed when outdoors to avoid potential contact with a wild animal.

Typically, wildlife poses an extremely low risk to people. If you have an encounter or conflict with wildlife around your home, don't touch the animal, touching them can be potentially dangerous to you and/or the animal. Most of the time, if left alone, the animal will simply move on without any problem, especially if the precautions identified above are followed and potential food and shelter are removed. If the animal does not leave on its own and continues to be a problem you will need to contact a pest management professional. If living in Fort Knox housing, you should contact Knox Hills Maintenance at 502-799-6565 for any pest or wildlife problems. For wildlife problems in the cantonment area, call in a service order at 502-624-1171. For road killed deer in the cantonment area, contact the Provost Marshall's office (502-624-1070).

By doing some of these relatively simple things around our homes and offices we can minimize or eliminate potential problems with wildlife.