Be careful of critters with rising water

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, May 11, 2011

As the floodwaters of the Mississippi River continue to rise, residents in low-lying areas are not the only creatures seeking higher ground.

Creatures of all types are on the move as their homes, nests, burrows and other areas become flooded.

Seeing alligators moving up onto levees or in areas where they are normally not seen is pretty commonplace when the floodwaters rise.

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But this year’s record flood is likely to bring out all sorts of creatures and likely to drive them further and further into populated areas.

State biologists in Mississippi and Louisiana are working to be prepared for the likelihood of greater and greater human-to-animal contact in the coming days.

The toll on wildlife is likely to be steep. Some animals may get trapped and unable to escape the waters. But others will be exhausted and frightened as they evacuate and seek dry ground.

As the keepers of earth, it’s our job to protect and care for its wildlife. Please use caution if you cross paths with a wild animal, and if the animal appears dangerous or needs to be relocated, please call the proper authorities.

Most animals will not attack unless they feel threatened, and attempts to “rescue” an animal can often be mistaken as an attack by the animal.

Common sense can keep a well-meaning good Samaritan from becoming a well-meaning ER patient.