State of our American Wildlife

Just as the president gives a State of the Union speech early each year, I thought it might be interesting to research and pass along a state of the American wildlife. Our country has a long history of using, abusing, and managing its native wildlife. Reports abound of the widespread slaughter of America’s buffalo and major predators, the hunting to near extinction of beaver, alligators, white-tail deer, turkey, Canadian geese, manatees, and...

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Animal Calls That Weren’t

I was asked recently if we ever had any calls to remove wildlife where an animal wasn’t actually involved.  Pondering this question, I could think of a few notable calls that didn’t involve any creatures.  The following are a few of the stories that came to mind.   “Bear in the attic” I received several frantic calls one morning several years ago from the Knoxville Police Department and a homeowner who had been using their...

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Woodpecker

Woodpecker

Woodpeckers In the late winter and early spring we get an abundance of calls concerning small but pesky birds found in the woodpecker family (Picidae). We have several different species here in east TN ranging in size from 3 inches to almost 12 inches long. They seem to effortlessly flit from tree to tree (and sometimes houses) where they will hang on a vertical surface and peck in a rapid-fire manner. We get calls from people wondering why a...

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Squirrels

Squirrels

How to Keep Squirrels from Driving You Nuts The most common mammals in the world, both in numbers and in species, are the rodents.  Rodents make up approximately 1,700 species in 35 families.  They fall into the classification Order Rodentia which comes from the Latin word rodere.  It comes as no surprise that rodere literally means “to gnaw.”  All rodents have a pair of prominent, constantly growing incisors. Rodents are fascinating in...

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Raccoons are Ninjas!

Raccoons are Ninjas!

One of the most common calls we get year round is for the common raccoon (Procyon lotor).  This species is probably also tied with squirrels for causing the most damage to homes and businesses.  Many people are surprised to find that the cute raccoon that they are feeding in their back yard is not the cuddly sweet animal of the Disney movies.  He is instead a highly adaptable, extremely powerful, stealthy acrobat (picture a...

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Snake

Snake

Snakes One animal that is routinely spotted here in east Tennessee has more negative emotion attached to it than most of the other animals combined.  This animal does almost no damage and is actually an important part of the ecosystem.  The animal that I’m speaking of is the snake.  Throughout millennia and around the world the snake really gets a bad rap.  As humans, we tend to fear those things that we don’t understand.   I was...

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Striped Skunk

Striped Skunk

Striped Skunks Early spring in Tennessee is synonymous with many things such as windy storms, crocuses, warmer temperatures and the advent of skunk season.  East Tennessee is remarkably biodiverse, having thousands of different species of insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and fish.  One of the most notorious species is the striped skunk (Mephitus mephitis) We are blessed to have the striped skunk as one of our many species, and...

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Bat

Bat

Bats making you… BATTY? The mere mention of the word “bats” tend to draw high emotion from people.  Some people are completely grossed out by what they view as flying rats and disease-carrying species.  The bats these people have seen are frequently portrayed in movies as rabid swarms attacking helpless people.  Other people view bats as necessary for the ecosystem and point to their voracious appetite for insects and...

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Chipmunks

Chipmunks

CHIPMUNK: These pint-size rodents are best described as ground-dwelling squirrels. They are typically 5-6 inches long and weigh about 3 ounces. They are omnivores and their diet consists primarily of grain, nuts, berries, seeds, and insects. They are burrowing animals and they hibernate in the winter. These little guys are a nuisance because of their possible consumption of your garden fruits and vegetables. They can also cause structural damage...

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Pigeon

Pigeon

PIGEON: Feral pigeons are common in urban areas and are a well-known city pest. These feathered friends create a mess with their nesting material and feathers. They also create an unsanitary mess with their droppings; which may pose a health hazard. They weigh about a pound and tend to live for 3-5 years in the wild. They nest any time of the year and mate for life. The young hatch only 19 days after the eggs are laid. They eat a variety of...

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