Help Protect Wildlife This Summer


June 3, 2021
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Summer is upon us in Southeast Texas and this is the time of year when animals of all kinds are most active. Animals are mating, giving birth to and raising young, searching for food, and generally in greater numbers, so we are more likely to cross paths. This can be a busy and dangerous time for wildlife, especially young ones that are not quite as familiar with the dangers of the urban environment.

A taxidermy baby calf gets a kiss from their bison parent.
Seen in the Farish Hall of Texas Wildlife.

Here are some things you can do to help protect wildlife in your area:

  • Don’t feed wildlife, especially not junk food! Animals are very capable of finding their own food. Animals that are fed junk food can be unhealthy and obese, and they will start to lose their fear of humans, which puts them, and us, in danger. Many people are tempted to feed wild birds, especially ducks. If you feel so inclined, please feed them healthy food, and not bread. Here is a list of foods that are good for ducks: What to Feed Ducks – Best Duck Food (thespruce.com)
  • Don’t litter – Trash is bad for wildlife. They can ingest it, become entangled in it, or it can attract them to a dangerous location, like the road or a parking lot. Throw your trash away into a secure container.
  • Pay close attention while driving – Sometimes animals have to cross the road, or they are young and not aware of how dangerous it is. Even though an accident can’t always be avoided, make it a habit to keep an eye on the road in front of you, so you can react if you see an animal in your path.
  • Enjoy wildlife from a distance – It’s natural for us to want to be close to animals, but this can disrupt their natural behaviors. Disruptions can cause stress, and prevents animals from doing what they need to do. Viewing wildlife can be a wonderful hobby, but try to do it without interrupting feeding, mating, sleeping, or whatever they may be doing. Would you want someone to come into your home while you’re eating and try to pet you or get a selfie with you? I don’t think so! Invest in a good pair of binoculars and enjoy watching animals from a safe distance.
A toad rests in an adult's hands as a child pets it.
Image by Jamie Johannsen from Pixabay

These simple practices can help you and wild animals have a fun and safe summer. These things are also great to teach children, so they can learn to enjoy and respect wildlife.

Want more wildlife? Take a look at these resources and get involved! Houston Urban Wildlife Project

Erin M
Authored By Erin M Mills

Erin Mills received her undergraduate degree in Entomology from Texas A&M University in 2004, and after a short tour of the pest control industry, joined HMNS as the Cockrell Butterfly Center's Insect Zoo Manager in 2005. Over the years she expanded the butterfly center's live arthropod collection, developed the ever popular "Bugs on Wheels" outreach program, and continued to establish her role as HMNS's insect expert. In October of 2016, she achieved her long time goal of becoming the Director of the Cockrell Butterfly Center and in January of 2021, she joined the team at HMNS Sugar Land as the Director of Nature Programming. Erin leads hikes in Brazos Bend State Park and provides fun, hands-on nature-based experiences at HMNS Sugar Land. As a Board Certified Entomologist, Erin has extensive knowledge of insect identification, ecology, plant relationships, husbandry, really any insect-related topic!

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