State

Floods may send wildlife to unexpected places — like inside your home, KS officials say

Full Cheney Reservoir opens its floodgates

(May 22, 2019) The floodgates at Cheney Reservoir were opened Wednesday as the lake neared a record height of 1,430.5 feet. The release of water could cause flooding issues for areas downstream that have already been affected by heavy rains.
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(May 22, 2019) The floodgates at Cheney Reservoir were opened Wednesday as the lake neared a record height of 1,430.5 feet. The release of water could cause flooding issues for areas downstream that have already been affected by heavy rains.

As flooding and high water threaten the lives of Kansas wildlife, those critters may be forced to move — and they might just find a way into your home, wildlife officials said.

In a news release, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism “cautions people living in or near high-water areas to not be surprised if they see more wildlife than usual.”

Some of those flood-weary animals may include rabbits, rodents, lizards, snakes, turtles, insects, birds, coyotes and deer, the release states.

The smaller animals may head into homes and outbuildings that are not well sealed, the department said, and critters such as lizards and snakes may hide under shrubs and rock.

The state wildlife department provided the following tips in case you encounter wildlife on the move:

  • “Leave them alone,” officials said. “They need a refuge from high water and might only be passing through. They will not set out to harm you, but any animal may bite or attack in self-defense.”

  • Wear protective clothing when working in the yard and “do not reach blindly under rocks and debris. You don’t like surprises, and neither will a sheltering animal.”

  • Use caution when entering a flooded structure — animals may be trapped inside, too.

  • Do not feed the wildlife. If you do, the critters might just “overstay their welcome.”

  • Do not try to rescue animals that are stranded by high waters, as floodwater is dangerous.

  • Keep a close eye on your pets to make sure they don’t chase wildlife into floodwater or “tangle with displaced wildlife.”

While some wildlife may die due to the flooding, the department says most of the animals can adapt to the weather conditions and “many more are likely to survive.”

“Ground-nesting birds and other animals may lose their nests or burrows and their eggs or young,” officials said. “Many will re-nest as soon as they find proper habitat. Though it may take time, most animal populations will eventually recover.”

The department says the high waters will eventually recede and give wildlife the opportunity to go home, “so be patient and be a good neighbor to our wildlife.”

If any of the displaced animals do become a nuisance, you can visit the Wildlife Damage Control section of the department’s website to find help.

A Kansas woman was at work when she noticed her doorbell camera kept getting set off. She checked the camera to find a snake slithering up and down her door.

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