During the fall, you can see more wild animals than usual. Dave Wilson, senior director of Shelter Health & Wellness and a retired veterinarian, explains why this is so and how you should be prepared as a pet owner.

Change of season = change Of activity

Wilson says wildlife is more active in autumn for two reasons. One is that THEY prepare for winter by building calories, and storing food. The second reason is that most animals limit foraging to dark hours. This means that there may be the same number of animals, you no longer see them.

“When daylight gets shorter in autumn, there are more dark hours, so we see them more,” he says.

Snakes in The grass

In particular, snakes can be seen more in the fall. Wilson says snakes are looking for an underground construction rather than just their summer shelter.

“You are looking for this place of hibernation. Where can you go into deep hibernation for the winter, ” he says.

Ontario has only one species of harmful snake, Wilson says, and the rest are more afraid of us than they are of them.

“You have to realize that they are not there for fun, they are there for a purpose. They want to save their own lives, ” he says.

Avoid wildlife with your pets

Wilson says it’s important to always avoid wildlife when you’re with your pet. He says you can also check with your community what services are available when you experience wildlife.

“When you experience wild animals, turn around and go in the opposite direction,” he says.

It’s also important to know what comes with winter, says Wilson. He says that they do not want to interfere and cause harm or suffering to the animal world, so avoidance is better.

Wild dog species like foxes and coyotes get used to their environment and feel comfortable, Wilson says. That is, if you see walking on your street, you know the surroundings well.

“They’re not really trying to bother us, and for the same reason, we shouldn’t bother them,” he says.

If you have any questions, please contact your municipality.

The Ontario SPCA has a new resource to help you with your shelter health needs! Shelter Health Pro is an online Resource that presents information from shelter researchers and professionals in an accessible Format. It equips shelter staff, volunteers and pet owners with resources to make pets more comfortable and provide them with a humane and healthy environment.

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