They Live Here, Too

They Live Here, Too!

I think it’s safe to say that we have escaped any hurricanes this year.  One at this time of year is not impossible, of course, but improbable.  In a couple of weeks, we’ll end Daylight Saving Time and go back to what nature intended. 

As the days grow shorter, a lot of us will be coming home at dark or near dark.  That puts us active at the same time as most wild critters.  They become more active at dusk and in the dark.  We should slow down for our own safety as well as the safety of wildlife that we share the world with.  It is sad when an opossum, armadillo or raccoon is hit and killed, but an entirely different story if you hit a deer.  Drive slower and use high beams whenever there is no oncoming traffic.

As winter sets in, food will be harder to find and foraging will go farther afield.  Raccoons love outside cat food and garbage cans and being opportunistic feeders will try that before looking for insects or fishing for crawfish.  If you see one raccoon, slow down and look because they travel in families.

Opossums will try to get into a garbage can for food even though they normally eat insects, worms, snakes and wild fruits.  Should you find an opossum trapped in your garbage can, just turn the can on its side and the opossum will walk away.  Opossums are totally harmless to you or your plants.  On a plus side, their body temperature is so low that rabies is almost nonexistent among opossums.

Armadillos dig burrows and spend the coldest times inside a naturally insulated shelter. However, they must eat every day, so they will be out foraging for ants, termites or eggs of small lizards or snakes.  Armadillos get a bad rap for making holes in your lawn.  Stop to think:  they’re digging up the grub that feed on the roots of your grass thereby doing you a favor.  The hole will fill in during the first rain or you can stomp it if it bothers you.  The hole, not the armadillo.

Enjoy the cooler weather and watch out for our four-legged fellow travelers.

Daphne Rashall

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