Wildlife in Ridgeview Ranch

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Bobcat in yard in Russell Creek neighborhood.

 

With continuing construction in areas surrounding Ridgeview Ranch, we have seen an increase in wildlife sightings near our homes and on our streets.  Our Nextdoor community at “ridgeviewranch.nextdoor.com” has been very active with discussion and debate on what needs to be done about this growing trend.

For the most part, experts agree that wild animals need to remain “wild” and as residents we need to do what we can to keep them from growing even more comfortable around people and using our homes and yards as dens for their families.  However, this is not at all easy living on a golf course with the large amount of birds, rabbits, squirrels, mice and rats that live on the course and surrounding undeveloped areas.  If you search “bobcats in plano” you will find pages of pictures of these animals on roofs and fences, or in storm drains and backyards.  It can be quite disturbing especially if you have young children and small pets.

In February, the City of Plano posted the following notice to all of the Nextdoor communities.

There has been increased concern with new bobcat and coyote sightings in Plano. We wanted to answer some of our most frequently asked questions we receive at Animal Services about these particular animals that call Plano home as well as inform you about some of the ways to deter bobcats and coyotes from entering your property.

• Bobcats have never injured a single person in Plano’s history. Even children are too big to be considered a meal as the bobcats in this area hunt only animals that are rabbit sized or smaller.
• Pets that are bigger than a rabbit are not usually at risk.
• If a pet is small enough for a bobcat to consider it a meal, it’s also small enough to be a meal for some of the owls, hawks, and eagles that live in this area so owners should always be vigilant with tiny pets to protect them.
• Bobcats are more commonly seen during the day in the colder months because the animals they hunt are more active during the day due to the cold nights.
• Studies have shown that bobcats that are trapped and relocated typically die within two weeks after being relocated – some people may mistakenly fear them but very few want them all dead.
• The best course of action to take when a bobcat is seen is to scare them off by yelling, throwing a small rock at them, spraying them with a high-powered squirt gun or hose, or otherwise making them feel uncomfortable so that they learn that people are to be avoided.

If anyone has any other questions, please feel free to contact Animal Services at (972) 769-4360 or by emailing them at planoanimalshelter@plano.gov.

You can find the city’s urban wildlife website here.  They have also published this document detailing the program and how it has evolved into what they do today by clicking here.

Most of the time, although these animals seem not to be affected by our presence, they are not looking for human interaction.  They are sunning, looking for a meal of a rabbit, mouse or squirrel, and then moving on their way.  If we will be vigilant in making our yards and garages no place to seek shelter, it will help.  Do not leave dog or cat bowls of water out where bobcats and coyotes can use them.  Do not leave dog or cat food out on your porch.  Be extra careful and stay very close to small dogs, cats and children when you are outside.  These steps will not solve the problem of displaced wildlife in our neighborhood, but hopefully it will help make it a better safer place for residents and keep the wildlife from being quite so comfortable.