EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) – As the temperatures continue to cool, it means a lot of things are changing outside, including local wildlife.
One expert says as we move from summer into fall, a lot of animals get a bit more active, for a number of reasons; so you need to be careful if you have to interact with them.
The world looks a little different to professional trapper Mike Wathen. Luckily, he has wildlife cameras around his property to give us a glimpse.
“When it comes to the animals, I enjoy matching wits with them,” said Wathen. “They got better senses than humans got. They’re obviously more in tune with their surroundings than we would be, and I think I enjoy being able to catch them.”
Mike catches and removes nuisance animals from businesses and homes. He says he caught over 2,000 animals last year alone, including skunks, mink, bats, raccoons, groundhogs and many more.
He says some animals are especially active this time of year. This is in part due to harvest: acres of tall plants are suddenly gone, forcing animals to relocate.
He says people are also startled when they realize an animal has chosen their home when looking for a place to sleep for the winter.
“They may view their home as a place to live, talking about the folks that live there,” said Wathen. “The animal may view it as a place to hibernate.”
Another potential animal hazard is snakes, which are actively looking for a place to hibernate. The University of Southern Indiana recently warned its students about the dangers of copperheads. Wathen says since snakes are cold-blooded, they search out warmth; but since they don’t have eyelids, they also search out shade. You can often find them in places like rock outcroppings where they can find both. If you do, he says to leave it be.
“It doesn’t want to leave the warm, no more than you want to bother it, so yeah, just leave it alone would be the best advice,” said Wathen.
If you have an animal on your property that needs to be removed, Wathen says to reach out to someone who knows what they’re doing. Chances are they’re more scared of you than you are of them.
“Normally when I get a call from somebody shrieking on the phone, I’m more scared of them than I am the critter,” said Wathen.
He also says it’s important to keep in mind animals generally aren’t malicious, they’re just trying to serve their own needs, and they don’t think the same way that humans do.
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