Valentine’s Day is Friday, and love is in the air! This romance includes native U.S. wildlife, like bobcats and cougars. Although we do not allow our animals to breed, their wild cousins are entering mating season. When breeding season is in full swing, animals who are usually solitary, like cats, become more social. People will likely see wild animals more frequently because of this increase in socialization. Just because people may see them doesn’t mean they are a threat; They are most likely just looking for a mate. Depending on the species, certain mating behaviors may occur. Once mating is over, the animals go back into hiding to start preparing for their babies to be born.
Because some of our animal residents are native to the area, we preventatively spay and neuter them to prevent drawing in wild “suitors.”
With winter coming to an end, spring is just around the corner. Warmer weather brings flowers blooming and baby animals being born. While outdoors, you might see some of these babies, such as bobcat and cougar kittens “hiding” in bushes or tall grass. If you see them, do not touch them or move them. It is very likely that their mom only left to hunt or forage for a short time. When finished, she will return to get them! It may be possible to hear the kittens from a distance, yowling. Though they may sound distressed, do not go closer to them! They are calling for their mom, and if people are near, she will not return, leaving her babies alone even longer. Interfering with the kittens of wild cats can end up hurting them in the long run. Especially if they become accustomed to people being around.
As the season of love ends, young wildlife will start appearing. Though they are cute, they are still wild animals who play an essential role in the environment.