Tucson is nestled just inside the eastern edge of the Sonoran Desert, a beautiful, ecologically diverse, and wonderful climate. It is also the hottest desert in the United States and Mexico, and is home to so many different animals and creatures. In the desert Mother Nature rules – and that includes the natural struggle for survival and food. Desert animals looking for their next meal could very well take a look at your pets and see an easy way to live longer so it is up to us as responsible pet owners to keep them safe!
Follow these tips and you’ll be on the right path to ensuring your pets don’t fall prey to any would-be predators.
Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe from Sonoran Wildlife
Secure Your Pets
Whether on a leash or inside your home, keep your pet secure. Not only is keeping your dog on a leash necessary for their safety in the city, but t will also keep them from being snatched by predators. Hawks, owls, and other birds will swoop down and attempt to pick up animals for food, whether they’re cats, rabbits, or dogs. They don’t discriminate between pets and wild animals. So prevent this by keeping your pets inside. Even coyotes can be potential problems. Able to jump up to 12 feet, you need to keep your pets safe even in a fenced area. If you like to allow your cat some outside play time, make sure it’s in a screened enclosure so that they can’t be attacked.
No matter what, you need to supervise and secure your pets for their safety!
Secure Your Environment
It’s not enough to keep your pets secured, you need to do your best to keep wildlife out. Do this by covering any water drain holes, and cover any gaps at the bottom of fences or gates with wire mesh. This will keep snakes from finding their way into your yard. Keep your eyes peeled for any signs of animals digging at your fence attempting to burrow under. Keep your windows and doors closed to prevent scorpions or spiders from finding their way into dark spots in your home to hide. These pests will look for dark, cool spaces and your pet could surprise them by finding them and get stung or bitten.
No Bells, No Excuses
Putting little bells on collars is a common enough thing people do for their cats and dogs to keep tabs on where they are. The big problem here is it does the same thing for predators. Now a predator has precise knowledge of your pet’s location and can easily find them. The bell can also encourage curiosity which might bring the predator to your pet without even knowing what it is they’re following.
Speaking of curiosity, animals are trying to survive. That means they’re looking for sources of food and water. Garbage cans are an all-you-can-eat buffet just waiting for a wild animal to come by. Skunks, raccoons, and even larger animals like javelina and bears can find their way to a garbage can for a meal. Pay attention to what you’re doing and what signals you might be sending nearby wildlife. Feeding pets outdoors can attract rodents, rodents attract snakes and birds.
Monsoon Season Safety
We love the monsoon season! That rain brings a special magical quality to life in the desert. But it also floods the ground and creates new homes for animals such as snakes, toads, Gila Monsters, and more. Carry a flashlight when walking at night to spot any potential dangerous animals before you or your dog step into a puddle of problems.
Just Say No to Poison
If you’re fighting a battle against a rodent problem and are leaving out bait or poison it can have a devastating effect on the wildlife as well as potentially your pet! If a rodent ingests the poison, other predators (or even your own cat or dog) could attempt to chew or eat the rodent and ingest the rat poison. That poison goes through the food chain – just say no and don’t do more harm to the wildlife.
Learn About the Wildlife…
As G.I. Joe used to say, knowing is half the battle! Know about what wildlife you’re surrounded by and understand what they are looking for and doing. Understanding their behavior can help you to pay attention, identify what is happening, and what to do in response. The biggest thing you can do?
…And Leave them Alone!
If you see any animal at all that may be a threat to your pet’s safety just leave it be! Put some space between you, your pet, and the animal. Pick up your pet if they’re small enough. Don’t run, as that can trigger certain animals’ instincts to chase. Other animals may be passive unless cornered, trapper, or have young ones with them. Do your best to steer clear and leave them be and you’ll be well on your way to keeping your pet safe from the desert wildlife.