Heading outside? Be aware of the wild animals sharing the space

Kelsey Harty, Animal Services & Enforcement officer

Spring is here meaning summer is almost upon us, and we all know what that means: fun activities to do outside. But remember, that warm weather not only draws us outside but also some of our favorite wild critters: rattle snakes, bull snakes, raccoons, skunks, bats, and even prairie dogs.

Animal Services and Enforcement and the Humane Society of the Black Hills wants to make sure everyone has a fun and safe time this summer so we’re sharing some simple safety steps to follow if you are to come in contact with any wild animals.

Snakes
It is always a good idea to leave any snake alone until a trained professional has arrived to remove and relocate the snake safely. Our Animal Services and Enforcement officers are trained to handle all types of wildlife, snakes included. If you or someone you know spots a snake that may be a danger, please call our dispatch at 605-394-4132 and request officer assistance. Public safety is one of our main concerns and we will get an officer to your location as soon as possible to capture and relocate the snake.

Raccoons may be cute, but they sure do come with quite a few not so cute traits. If you have a raccoon problem, call Animal Services & Control for assistance.

Raccoons and skunks
They may be cute, but they sure do come with quite a few not so cute traits. As we all know, skunks have the ability to spray a foul smell to ward off any danger. Never try to approach a skunk. Raccoons are quite mischievous creatures and are well known for getting into trash as well as hiding in attics, garages, and almost anywhere they can squeeze their bodies into. One of the best ways to get rid of these creatures is to keep your trash cans securely shut and make sure there are no easy entry points to your home or garage. If you still see a skunk or raccoon on your property the Humane Society of the Black Hills has live traps that can be rented to help capture these critters. Our officers are trained in trapping and relocating these critters.

Bats
It seems that bats have themselves a bad reputation, and with good reason. Bats are the most common creature to carry rabies so never try to capture a bat with your bare hands. An AS&E officer can capture and relocate even the smallest, scariest creatures for you. Just give us a call.

Prairie dogs
These fast little creatures are cute but still just as big of a nuisance as the rest. Prairie dogs can get themselves into some crazy places – and it seems like garages are their favorite places. If you find a prairie dogs in your home or trapped somewhere let us know and we will handle the situation properly.

Contact Animal Services & Enforcement
Animal Services & Enforcement considers these animals to be an emergency call, and even after hours we will respond. If you find yourself with any of these animals in your home or yard, please contact our dispatch at 605-394-4132.

If it is after hours, please contact your local Rapid City non-emergency dispatch at 605-394-2192. And of course, we are always willing to answer any questions you may have.