About SPNA

The Sylvan Park Neighborhood Association (SPNA) is the collective community voice for addressing neighborhood issues such as zoning, security, beautification, traffic, metropolitan services, and environment.

SPNA members meet on the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Senior Renaissance Center of Cohn Adult Learning Center at 4805 Park Avenue.

About Sylvan Park

Welcome to Sylvan Park! We hope you love this neighborhood as much as we do. Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions for newcomers to learn more.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

TWRA's Polly Rooker visits SPNA

Polly Rooker, Watchable Wildlife and Waterfowl Biologist for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, attended Monday night’s SPNA membership meeting to discuss urban wildlife. Following are some highlights of the information Polly shared:

  • Remember that the wildlife was here before we humans were. They’ve only adapted as best they can to our arrival.
  • Coyotes are present in the city, but they are not typically violent to humans. They primarily eat rodents, insects and snakes, but they are opportunistic: They will eat cats and small dogs on occasion if they encounter them.
  • Coyotes are primarily nocturnal, so it is wise to keep your cats and small dogs indoors overnight. You are unlikely to encounter coyotes during daylight hours.
  • Coyotes are highly resilient to methods to exterminate or remove them from an area. They are here to stay. Even Manhattan has a sizable coyote population!
  • Do not leave food for your pets outside or in accessible garages and utility sheds. This will attract wildlife. If you must feed your pets outside, take the bowl back inside with you when they finish eating. Do not leave food out for wildlife under any circumstances.
  • Raccoons are increasingly common in the city. A large population of rabid raccoons are gradually migrating closer to Middle Tennessee over time, and this will present problems when they get here.
  • Inoculate your pets against rabies before they are exposed. There is little that can be done to spare a pet or another animal that has been infected.
  • Skunks, which have been frequently spotted in the neighborhood recently, are immune to rabies, but they can carry and spread the disease. They do not exhibit rabies symptoms.
  • If you see skunks or raccoons out during the day looking sick or disoriented, they likely have distemper.
  • If you do trap raccoons or skunks, please euthanize them. Do not release them in rural areas because this can spread disease.
  • Metro Animal Control (615-862-7928) will come get animals if you report a problem. You can also take trapped animals to them. Private animal control companies are another option, but they do charge for their services (as much as $75 per animal, according to one report.

The TWRA Web site includes resources on some of the critters you may spot in your backyard, in case you want to do a little research on the front end. (If anyone spots a bobcat, I would really like to be warned. Thanks.)

Many thanks to Rob Stack for the photo.

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