February marks the start of mating season for both bobcats and coyotes in their natural habitat of North Texas. Richardson Animal Services anticipates that area residents could see an increase in sightings of the animals over the next few months and should plan accordingly.

According to animal services, bobcats and coyotes rarely pose a threat to people because they often settle into their environment with humans. Noura Jammal, animal shelter manager for the city, said people should be aware of their surroundings when dealing with wildlife and interact appropriately.

“The main concern is making sure that we keep the wildlife wild,” Jammal said. “We don't want them to lose that fear of humans, so we always want to make sure that we make lots of noise. Shake our keys at them, yell at them, or even pick up a stick and throw it at them if necessary."

Domesticated pets, such as small dogs and cats, are at risk if left alone or taken off their leash outside, Jammal said. According to the animal services website, bobcats can climb trees and fences as well as jumping up to 12 feet, while coyotes can jump over a 5-foot fence.

Richardson Animal Services only traps wildlife, such as skunks and raccoons, that are acting abnormally aggressive and/or are ill and at high risk of having or spreading rabies, according to its website.

“These animals have a critical role in our ecosystem,” Jammal said. “Removing them from our homes and our ecosystem actually draws in more animals because it creates a vacuum, allowing our rat and insect population to increase.”

For more information on Richardson's wildlife policies, visit the city's animal services website here. Residents who encounter an aggressive wild animal are advised to call the department at 972-744-4480.