By BEN FRENTZEL
It was 5 p.m. Aug. 26, rush hour in the rest of Columbia, but on a quiet street in the Parkade neighborhood, a deer paused on a front lawn. After that initial “deer-in-the-headlights” moment, it jumped up and out through some trees along the side of the house. Only then did its companion become visible as it followed the first deer into the trees.
Farther down the street, a fox slipped into some bushes — a blurry glimpse of orange.
If you live in the area and would enjoy a little animal sightseeing, here are a few tips from the USDA Forrest Service website to make it as enjoyable and safe as possible:
- Keep your distance: Your first instinct may be to trust them because they’re so darn cute. But wild animals can be easily frightened and suddenly aggressive. Stay at least 25 yards from most large animals.
- Let them be themselves: Just like human parents, animal parents provide for their young by hunting and foraging. Let them sleep, play and eat with their young in peace. Never try to feed a wild animal.
- Hide your garbage: Wildlife like raccoons will find all sorts of ways to grab your leftovers. Keep your trash sealed tight at home. Aside from the mess, some garbage items like aluminum foil and plastics can be damaging to animals’ digestive systems. Help them keep themselves safe.
- They’re wild: However tame or docile a wild animal may seem, they have an unpredictable instinct that aids their safety. Caution is always applicable.
If you have any photos of your furry neighbors — the ones without a mortgage — send them to me with when and where information and I’ll post them. Ben Frentzel at firstname.lastname@example.org.