SEGUIN - The drought has brought out some of Seguin's hidden neighbors.
Opossums, raccoons, snakes and other creatures usually live unnoticed in the city, said Animal Control Officer Allison Barsanti, but dry weather and heat has brought them out of their usual hiding spots and into yards and trash cans.
"It's not that there is more wildlife, you are just seeing them more due to the drought," Barsanti said. "They're really desperate for food and water right now."
Animal control has seen a recent increase in calls for animals looking for food in trash cans, stealing pet food or hiding under houses to stay cool.
"They really like cat food," Barsanti said. "In fact, that's what we tell people to use as bait in the live traps. But if you have a cat or dog you feed outdoors, you might consider bringing the food in at night."
Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist John Davis said in a release that, while many wild animals are usually thought to be nocturnal, the search for food and water is bringing them out in the daytime. "Animals that are normally nocturnal are being seen more during the day because they're out looking for water or something to eat," Davis says.
In considering the impact of an extended drought on wildlife, Davis says, the key is the overall population of a particular species.
"It's easy to get caught up on individual animals and have a heart-felt desire to help them, but since it's the weak who don't survive, in the long run a drought strengthens a species' population," he said.
Barsanti agreed that, if possible, it's best to leave wild animals alone unless they are threatening people or pets.
"Whatever you do, don't touch them, don't make them pets," she said. "Take up your cat food, secure your trash cans and let them be. Give them space and they'll usually move along."
Barsanti suggested that residents secure trash cans with bungee cords if animals are becoming a problem or consider waiting until the morning of trash pickup to move cans to the curb. Also, she said, be sure to keep pet's vaccinations up-to-date to keep them safe in case of interaction with wildlife.
"If animals are really becoming a nuisance, contact us and we will check out a trap to any city residents," Barsanti said.
For more information on obtaining a trap for wild animals, city residents may call 830-401-2335.