Let Wildlife Be Wild! Learn About Animal Services' Urban Wildlife Website in Latest 'PawPrint' Newsletter
By Carol Weemes, Arlington Animal Services
Posted on September 13, 2022, September 13, 2022

Let Wildlife be Wild! is Arlington Animal Services’ message every day, especially on National Wildlife Day, celebrated Sept. 4. Click here to open a special edition of Animal Services’ PawPrint newsletter dedicated to the topic of wildlife.

The inspiration for Arlington’s Urban Wildlife website with ingenuity and desire to educate the community, was initiated by Ray Rentschler, Animal Services’ field operations manager. Rentschler, with Arlington’s Animal Services for over 22 years, is an animal lover, wildlife enthusiast and a subject matter expert on all things animal. Additionally, he is an animated speaker with ever more frequent speaking engagements providing education on the topic of wildlife.

In October, Rentschler will be presenting information about Arlington’s Sustainable Wildlife program at the Texas Unites for Animals conference in Austin, Texas. The conference is attended by animal welfare professionals from Texas and surrounding states.

Rentschler also envisioned interactive maps displaying wildlife sightings reported in the community to emphasize their abundance, and the importance of using proven best practices to harmoniously coexist with wildlife. The maps came to fruition, and to date, almost 900 wildlife sightings have been reported and documented in Arlington – including avian, mammal and reptile species.

This month’s special edition of the PawPrint newsletter features an interview segment with Bat World Sanctuary’s Director of Special Projects and community partner, Kate Rugroden, who offers valuable information for the community.

“I want the public to know that we have a pretty robust population of bats here in Arlington, and they provide a huge service in consuming all those pesky mosquitoes!” said Rugroden. “Although we have a half-dozen different species that are fairly common here, bats are shy and secretive, and most people will never see one.”

When asked about the most important thing the public should know about bats and wildlife, Rugroden emphasized the importance that individuals “should never, under any circumstances, handle any wildlife animal barehanded or attempt to care for them themselves.”

Rugroden advised that frightened or injured wildlife may bite in response to human contact, and it is best to leave any necessary contact in the hands of a professional. Read page three of the newsletter for more information from Rugroden.

Earlier this year, in February, Arlington experienced an outbreak of distemper in racoons and foxes, with field officers picking up 18 afflicted raccoons, compared to July, when one raccoon and one fox picked up were reported ill with the virus. Video episode 36 of Q&A with Brittany & Ray provides information about signs of distemper in a raccoon or fox, ways to protect yourself, your pets, and more.

Animal Services field officers attended Earth Day at River Legacy Living Science Center in April, sharing interactive education about different wildlife species, including information about reptiles common to our area, and how to distinguish venomous from non-venomous snakes.

World Rabies Day is Sept. 28, and an important reminder to keep pets’ vaccinations up to date. Raccoon, fox, bats, and skunks are common carriers of rabies, and if infected with the virus, they can spread the disease to animals and humans. Rabies is a dangerously fatal disease, but preventable. Pet owners, protect your pets and vaccinate! Learn more about Rabies at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

 Community Partner Texas Coalition for Animal Protection (TCAP), located at 2400 SE Green Oaks Boulevard, offers low-cost vaccinations for pets’ protection against rabies and other illnesses. Visit the TCAP website Vaccination Clinic Schedule for more information and to confirm rates and other locations.

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