Dealing with wildlife on post
A squirrel eats just outside the Fort Leavenworth garrison headquarters. (Photo Credit: Russell Toof) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- Thousands of people live and work on Fort Leavenworth. The base is also home to numerous species of wildlife. Sometimes those two worlds cross but there are ways to keep those interactions to a minimum, especially for someone worried about animals getting into their house.

“If you see wildlife, the best policy is to just leave it alone and keep your distance,” said Neil Bass, Natural Resource Specialist for the base.

Some of the most common animals on post that become nuisances are coyotes, raccoons, skunks, opossums, squirrels and many species of mice.

“We have come into some instance where these animals end up near people’s homes,” said Bass. “In almost every case, those animals are being fed. If you fed it, those animals could get used to humans and expect food and then they have to be removed. The bottom line is, don’t feed wildlife.”

Bass said the two best strategies for all these groups is to remove their access to food and habitat.

“The food can be everything from someone actively feeding the wildlife or leaving your pet food out and available to wildlife for long periods of time,” he said. “Habitat can be a board laying on the ground near a home for weeks or a pile of firewood.”

Bass added that in almost all instances, wildlife doesn’t want to be near humans.

“What draws them in is that we push into their habitat, and they have access to food, either intentionally or unintentionally,” he said. “Also, if you don’t secure your trash cans, they can go through your trash and get food and they learn very quickly to associate that location with food. Raccoon mothers, for example, will teach their young to get into trash cans.”

Some easy things that can be done are to close the lids to your trash and use weights or bungees to keep the lids closed. Don’t toss compostable food out back unless it is in an inaccessible container.

If wildlife is threatening outside of houses or outside of fenced in areas attached to houses, call the Fort Leavenworth DPW animal control services at (913) 684-5555. For non-threatening wildlife in your house or yard, call the Frontier Heritage Communities Maintenance Department at (913) 651-3838. For wildlife issues after hours, contact the military police desk at (913) 684-2111 and they will connect you to the right people which could be Natural Resources, Entomology, Frontier Heritage Communities or Conservation Law Enforcement.