Mountain lions and brown bears – have you ‘lost it’ Ron? What in the world do those animals have to do with Home Inspections and WDO/Structural Pest Inspections? Well, I guess I am off the beaten path with this message, but I thought it was important enough to share this information with you for you and your family’s safety. With our Tuolumne County ‘reeling’ from and coping with the after affects of the just one year past Rim Fire and now the 3rd year of severe drought, we as residents aren’t the only one’s suffering from these catastrophic events. The animals that normally live quite happily and healthy in the forests have either been displaced (if they were lucky enough to have escaped) by the Rim Fire, or are now struggling to find adequate food and water to survive in what’s left of the forest. Hence the reason for this ‘off the path’ message, the animals are moving into our neighborhoods and close by areas in search of that food and water, which in the case of bears and mountain lions presents a real safety issue for us if we were unfortunate enough to encounter them. As hard as it may be to believe, there have been reports and sightings of some mountain lions roaming around all the way down to the south Modesto neighborhoods. So, I’ve put together a list of tips that may help lessen the chance that you may actually be enticing these animals to come visit your property (and damage it or you possibly) through inadvertent acts that you may be doing that seem normal or not an issue. They are: · Don’t leave trash, groceries or pet/animal feed in your car or truck · Secure your garbage in bear-proof cans and do not drag them out to the curb until the morning of the garbage collection day · Harvest any ripe fruit you may have on your fruit trees and make sure you collect any fallen fruit · Do not use bird feeders · Keep barbecue grills clean and stored away when not in use · Don’t leave any scented products out on your decks or patios (like suntan lotion or candles) · Keep you doors and windows closed and locked, or at least secured against entry · Install motion activated devices like alarms, sprinklers and/or electric fencing where appropriate · Remove shrubs and debris piles in your yard that can provide hiding places for mountain lions · Make sure your landscaping is of a deer resistant variety of plants and install high (8’ or so) fencing around garden areas · Do not leave small children or pets unattended outdoors · Keep pet food and water containers/dishes indoors · Secure any livestock that you may have in secure and sturdy enclosures · And finally, I’m not one for ‘telling on someone’, but if you can’t or don’t want to approach and discuss why it is a very bad practice to feed wildlife with a person that is doing so, you can call 888-334-2258 to report the situation if you wish to. Also, for more tips you can go to www.keepmewild.com .