Wildlife that is common to our region includes rabbits, possums, armadillos, hawks, coyotes, skunks, snakes and other small animals. While most of these animals may seem harmless, some like the poisonous Copperhead snake could hurt residents who come in contact with it. Residents may notice wildlife more frequently in area parks, neighborhoods and open spaces during certain times of year, or during times of drought as the animals seek out new sources of water, food and ground cover.

Preventing Animal Bites

For your safety and respect of the wildlife, you should never approach, chase, capture, feed or harm any of the animals you see in local parks and neighborhoods. Although normally not aggressive, wild animals can bite if threatened or handled. If you or someone else is bitten by an animal, please seek medical attention immediately.

The majority of bites result from people taking unnecessary or foolish risks. Take the following steps to reduce your chances of animal bites:
  • Do not try to capture or kill any animal. If you see wildlife, leave it alone and slowly move away. Wild animals usually retreat or escape if given the opportunity.
  • Teach children to respect all wildlife and to leave these animals alone. Curious children who try to pick up animals are likely to be bitten.
  • Always wear shoes while outside and always stay on paths. Avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush where there may be rodents or snakes. Always look where you step.
  • Always look for concealed snakes and other small creatures before picking up rocks, sticks or firewood. If you lift a stone or log or any object under which a snake might be, first move it with a stick or use your foot if you have thick leather boots.
  • Never allow your pets to run free. Small pets are easy prey for coyotes. Dogs should always be on a leash or in a fenced yard and cats should never go outdoors.

Discouraging Visits from Wildlife

Removing food and shelter is one of the most effective ways of discouraging wildlife from coming onto your property.

  • Keep grass and vegetation around your home cut short.
  • Remove debris piles, including branches, leaves, boards, rocks, logs and wood piles.
  • Remove water and food sources including bird baths, compost, pet food, fruit, grill drippings, garbage and other food sources that will attract insects and rodents. Controlling insect and rodent populations will help to discourage other wildlife by eliminating their food supply.
  • Cut limbs and brush that are three feet or closer to the ground. Trim overhanging branches that provide easy access to your roof for rodents, squirrels and other wildlife.
  • If you have a chimney, make sure that it has a secure cap. Cover attic vents and other roof openings with heavy-gauge, rustproof wide mesh. Seal off spacing under A/C unit slabs and around A/C lines, electrical lines and plumbing going into the house.
  • If you have a deck, install an L-shaped barrier to prevent animals from digging underneath it.
  • Trim plantings and borders (such as monkey grass) along sidewalks and flower gardens to no more than six inches wide.
Wildlife was here long before our community was developed and experts agree that it would be impossible to remove these animals from the area. When wildlife is removed, the area is repopulated with the same species within a short amount of time. Therefore, the City of North Richland Hills encourages residents to educate themselves about wildlife and to take the above steps to minimize encounters with wildlife. Questions about wildlife may be directed to the NRH Animal Adoption & Rescue Center at 817-427-6570.