Submitted by: Knox PAO

Category: Environmental

While most people enjoy viewing wildlife, they can become a problem around homes and housing areas. 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.

- Do not feed wild animals! Feeding them only draws them closer and increases the likelihood of a troublesome encounter.

- Do not feed pets outside, or if you do, 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.

- Seal all cracks and crevices in your house and outbuildings, especially the soffit. You would be surprised at how small a crack a bat or mouse can get into, not to mention snakes.

- If you have a chimney, be sure to install a chimney cap or use ¼ inch hardware cloth to cover it. Also, use the hardware cloth to cover all house vents.

- 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.

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. Much of the time, if left alone, the animal will simply move on without any problem, especially if the precautions outlined above are followed and potential food and shelter is removed. Most wildlife poses an extremely low risk to people. 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 you live on Fort Knox in base housing, you should contact Knox Hills Maintenance (502-799-6565) for any pest or wildlife problems. For wildlife problems in the cantonment area you should 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) or the Fort Knox Natural Resources Branch (502-624-7373).

If bats are encountered, contact the Natural Resources Branch. Fort Knox has three threatened or endangered bats (Indiana bat, northern long eared bat, and gray bat) so any bats found in offices or houses must be released alive, and if possible identified by Natural Resources Branch biologists. Please do not kill bats; they are very beneficial, consuming almost half their body weight in insects each night. Snakes also are beneficial; they eat lots of mice and other small rodents. If a snake is encountered, don’t kill it; let it go, or call the appropriate pest management office for your area.

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