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Dealing with Wildlife

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What to Do If You See a Wild Animal

Safety First! All wild animals are unpredictable. For your safety and the animal's well being, please maintain a safe distance between yourself and any animal encountered. Do not provoke wild animals and remember, never feed any wildlife.

For sightings and/or further information, please contact Alberta Fish and Wildlife at 403.529.3680 or visit their website at

Types of Animals

Badgers. Largely solitary and nocturnal in their habitats, and are not violent. They only show aggression towards people if provoked. Keep your dogs away.

Bats. Bats are extremely effective at controlling the mosquito population. A single brown bat can catch 600 mosquitoes in one hour. Bats also help plants and trees by spreading seeds, germinating and fertilizing through their droppings. If you see a bat, do not touch it. Bats only bite in self-defense and might think they are being attacked if handled. When bats are found on the ground it may be because they cannot take flight from the ground. One solution is to take a rag and let the bat grasp on to it and then hang the rag in a tree over night. By morning if the bat is healthy, it will have flown away.

Beavers. Beavers are often considered pests due to their destructive nature, but they are beneficial to the environment. The ponds created from their dams create habitat for other wildlife, and the vegetation around these ponds flourish. After a dam breaks, the fertilizer - created from the decomposing mass in the dam - spreads downstream. A beaver's teeth never stop growing, so they gnaw on bark to wear their teeth down. Their diet consists mostly of bark from poplar, aspen and birch trees, and they only eat enough to satisfy their needs and to make dams. Beavers are timid creatures, but become aggressive when frightened or threatened, so respect their space.

Cougars. Cougar sightings are confirmed across the province, although they are most common in the mountain and foothill regions. In recent years, sightings, in the prairie region have become more frequent, if you see a cougar or signs of a cougar (tracks or scat), contact Alberta Fish and Wildlife.

Coyotes. Coyotes are common in urban areas. Keep your dog leashed at all times, and pick up children or small dogs if a coyote is spotted. If you are in a remote location and see a coyote, leave the area immediately. Never leave food in your yard, even pet food, and avoid hanging bird feeders that contain lard or suet.

Deer Fawns. Deer fawns are usually seen in June. If you encounter a fawn that is not moving, do not touch it. Many people think the fawn is injured or abandoned when, in fact, the process of remaining still for up to several hours is the fawn's natural defense mechanism. The doe will leave the fawn alone so as not to attract a predator. If a doe is present, they are protective and may charge at dogs to protect their young. Keep your dog on a leash and immediately leave the area. Try to avoid areas where fawns and does are known to be to prevent encounters with your dog.

Magpies. Magpies eat nuts, sunflower seeds, insects and small animals. They are scavenger birds and are adapted to our environment. Young magpies will make a lot of noise when they want to be fed. Older magpies are noisy when trying to scare predators away from their nest. If you have a noisy magpie near your house, there is probably a food source nearby – therefore, removing the food source should solve the problem.

Moose and Elk. Moose and Elk have become common within the County of Cypress and recently have ventured within city limits. They are large and pose the greatest risk to motorists. Moose are solitary animals that frequent coulees, river/creek bottoms or any areas that have ponds or wet areas. A cow moose with a calf can be the most dangerous since they could become aggressive if their calf is threatened. Elk are prairie dwellers and have been seen on the outskirts of the city, they are more skittish around human habitation and don’t commonly venture into urban areas. If you see these large animals within the city, contact Alberta Fish and Wildlife to report their location so they can be monitored.

Porcupines. Porcupines do not shoot quills; they need to touch their target. Keep your dog away, as it can be a long and painful process for your pet to have the quills removed.

Skunks and Raccoons. Skunks and Raccoons are common in the city; some have become habituated to humans and in most cases can become accustomed to human activity. Under no circumstances should you try to get close to these wild animals or their young. The best way to deal with them is to prevent them from frequenting your property by eliminating all attractants such as pet food, garbage or exposed compost piles.