Recent rainfall may be one reason why fewer wild animals have been spotted inside city limits this year.
Deer and other animals “are going to move toward where they can find the most food,” said Andrew Alexander, Coryell County’s Texas Parks and Wildlife game warden.
Last year, the drought was significantly harsher than this year, so animals had to travel further to find food, often showing up in people’s yards.
But with a wetter season, Copperas Cove Animal Control experienced fewer calls to remove wild animals from residences inside the city limits, said David Wellington, senior animal control officer.
“Last summer we had a big complaint about deer, because they were eating everyone’s flowers and trees and everything,” Wellington said. “That was mainly when the drought was going on. It also got worse when the construction first started on the bypasses, but it is pretty much back to normal.”
If people are having problems with wild animals, Cove Animal Control can assign traps to residents and collect the animals.
Last year, a resident in the Colorado Drive area complained about a coyote sitting outside his fence, Wellington said. Animal control attempted to trap the creature, but it never entered the cage.
Alexander said it’s rare to spot predators in the city limits, but their presence has been increasing as neighborhoods are built, displacing the natural habitat of many wild animals.
“A lot of these animals really adapt to their surroundings,” he said, noting bobcats and coyotes may not leave an area even if a subdivision is built.
To prevent unwanted wildlife, the best thing residents can do is not feed them, Alexander said.
Feeding animals, such as deer, causes them to rely on humans for food instead of foraging for meals, he said. They pass that habit to their fawns and they also become reliant on humans for food.
Deer also have a tendency to over populate when more food is available, he said.
To keep smaller wildlife, such as armadillos and raccoons, away, keep trash properly stored and don’t leave food and water for pets outside unattended.
Wellington said there have been numerous cases of raccoons getting stuck in trash cans or dumpsters.
He also cautioned residents not to approach wild animals for their own safety.
“People shouldn’t touch them and stay far way because you never know if they are diseased,” he said.