Wild animal sightings

LITTLE ROCK, AR – When you live in the country, you expect to encounter wildlife on a daily basis, however a lot of wild animals are venturing closer to the city. That’s why the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is warning people to watch out.

Wildlife officers say depending on where you live, it’s not uncommon to see raccoons, deer, and opossums in urban areas. Those are the animals Tom Bennett usually sees living near Ferndale Cutoff Road in Pulaski County. For the first time in 30 years of living there, Bennett saw a bob cat.

Bennett says he enjoys living on the outskirts of town in part to enjoy the country landscape and the wildlife. “We have raccoons, skunks, opossums, and coyotes howl at night.” He even set up a game camera to watch the deer come feed by his pear tree, but the other night he caught another animal on camera too. “Wylie Coyote comes up every once in awhile.”

David Goad with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says that is not uncommon as humans move into wild territory. “The wildlife was here first right?”

Goad says beside coyote and fox sightings there are big cats too. “Bob cats and mountain lions are secretive animals. You won’t see them. They don’t want to be seen, and they see and hear you before you do and then they’re gone.”

Imagine Tom Bennett’s surprise when he found a bob cat on the road near his house hit by a car. He says he’s not too concerned he’ll see another one anytime soon. It’s coyotes he knows he’ll see again. “We see momma deer and baby deer coming up to feed and then here comes a mangy Wylie Coyote.”

The bob cat sighting is just one more reason Bennett says he makes sure to keep his dogs in at night. He doesn’t mind living side by side with wildlife, but it’ll become a problem if his pets are attacked.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says the best way to keep big cats and coyotes away from your property is to make sure you don’t leave any food or garbage out to attract them.

Bennett says he left the bob cat on the road but he wishes he would have taken it to a taxidermist because the cat’s coat was so beautiful. He says it was sad to see such an amazing animal have to die.

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