The planet is inhabited by many different predator species, all of whom hold an important place in the ecosystems they call home. A predator is any animal that feeds on other animals (prey), typically, ones that are smaller or weaker than it. In many regions around the world, humans have historically hunted and pushed out many of these apex animals, sometimes to the detriment of the entire ecosystem. We sometimes react negatively to the mere presence of certain wildlife in our backyard and neighborhood. But we are coming to learn that co-existence is the key to sharing the planet peacefully with other animals.
Many times, a negative reaction to wildlife entering “your territory” comes from a place of fear (of wild animals or a particular species), as well as a lack of understanding of that species’ habits and behavior. If you find that an unwanted predator is frequenting your yard, stop to consider the reasons it may be entering your yard and try to think of ways that you might help lessen that behavior. It can sometimes be as simple as picking up rotten fruit, removing piles of brush and debris from your yard, or bringing your cat or dog food inside at night.
If you live in an area that has carnivorous predators like mountain lions, bobcats, bears, coyotes and rattlesnakes, you must educate and prepare yourself for encounters with these majestic animals. If you have a good understanding of what types of native animals are in your area, as well as learn more about predatory behavior, you will be better equipped to handle any chance encounters with these animals should they occur. For a better understanding of the importance of predators in the world, learn more about the biology and impact of predators in an ecosystem.
Wildlife Clues to help identify native animals
If you feel that an animal is behaving abnormally or aggressively, and you live in the Los Angeles area, contact LA Animal Services. If you or your pet have been bitten by a wild animal or if you suspect rabies in a wild animal, contact the LA County Department of Veterinary Public Health at (213) 989-7060 or (877) 747-2243.