Dry Weather Brings Wildlife Into Urban Areas - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Dry Weather Brings Wildlife Into Urban Areas

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Wildlife officials say we can expect more wild animal sightings with this springtime weather.

Not just because more animals are coming into town, but because more people are also heading outside.

Chris Healy, of the Nevada Department of Wildlife, says we could see even more of them, after back to back dry years.

"You're going to see things like coyotes," Healy said. "You're going to see spottings of mountain lions, probably later in the year. People who live in the desert areas are probably going to see a lot more rattlesnakes."

Over the weekend, the Sparks Police Department received multiple reports of a mountain lion in the area of Pinewood Drive in Sparks.

The animal was never found but residents we talked to say they aren't too concerned.

"I think they probably stay away from people as much as they can," Jim Cole said. "So, it didn't get my nerves up, at all. If I had small animals, I would worry about small animals like cats and stuff like that."

Some ditches have water and good coverage, for animals.

Many follow those ditches right into residential areas. 

Wildlife officials say they doubt Saturday's sighting was a mountain lion, but rather a bobcat or even a large house cat.

"People see something at dusk or at night and it just looks bigger to them and it's something they're not used to seeing," Healy said. "But all that said, we've had these kinds of things happen before."

Just last August, NDOW released a 100-pound mountain lion after it was captured outside of Harrah's downtown.

Officials say if you see one, don't approach it but don't run from it either.

"Most of the time, what happens is the animals get themselves into a very difficult place and they're not going to attack their way out of it," Healy said. "They're going to climb up a tree. They're going to crawl under something."

This is also the time of the year when Black Bears are coming out of hibernation, and they're usually hungry.

"They're immediately going to start looking for food and if people who live in bear country have garbage exposed or available to those animals, they're inviting trouble not only for themselves but for the animals," Healy said.

Wildlife officials say animals march on their stomachs, always looking for food and water.

So, they say keep that in mind and don't give wild animals a reason to come into your neighborhood.

Written by Paul Nelson
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