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News Filed Under Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

May 27, 2016 - Filed Under: Vegetable Gardens, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss – Many of us look forward to a summer garden every year, especially after a long winter.

Unfortunately, many wildlife species find garden vegetables and plants just as delicious as we do. This leads to a battle -- a battle to keep the fruits of our labors to ourselves rather than providing a meal for the local wildlife.

Large groups of cormorants typically roost at night in clusters of trees, such as these, and spend their days fishing in natural lakes, rivers and catfish ponds, to the dismay of Mississippi’s catfish producers. (File photo by MSU Extension Service)
November 25, 2015 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss -- It’s a duck, it’s a goose...no, it’s a Cormorant?

The double-crested cormorant is a 4- to 6-pound bird with black or dark plumage. Often cormorants are mistaken for common waterfowl because they are seen swimming on ponds and lakes throughout Mississippi from late fall to early spring. Cormorants migrate each year from the Great Lakes region of the U.S. and Canada to spend their winters on the warm waters of the South. They really are snow birds!

Some landowners view beavers as costly nuisances because their dams can flood agricultural fields and forests. However, these ecosystem engineers create ponds that are ultimately beneficial to the overall ecology of an area, including wildlife populations. (Submitted photo)
November 20, 2015 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- For an unassuming rodent, the beaver has quite a significant place in American history.

For more than 300 years, the beaver was one of the most valuable fur-bearing animals in North America and drove the fur trade, one of the earliest and most important industries in the development of the United States and Canada.

Turtles pose no major threat to fish populations in ponds. In fact, they have a beneficial effect on water quality by scavenging for dead animals and plants. (Photo by Evan O’Donnell/MSU Extension)
November 13, 2015 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- It happens to me at least five times each year. The phone rings, and on the line is a pond owner ready to rid his pond of “those pesky turtles.”

Often, the person is concerned that turtles are eating his fish. Sometimes the turtles are eating the pond owner’s fish food. Other times, the caller has caught a turtle while catfishing and does not like dealing with the angry reptile on the end of his line. For one reason or another, turtles have a bad reputation in Mississippi ponds. Well, it is time to set the record straight on turtles!

Opossums that live near people may visit vegetable gardens, compost piles, pet food dishes or garbage cans such as this one. (Photo by MSU Extension/Evan O’Donnell)
October 23, 2015 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Often found scavenging in trash cans or seen lying dead on roadsides after car collisions, opossums are not the most revered or understood wildlife creatures in Mississippi.

Many myths and half-truths surround the invasive wild hog population, including the notion that hogs will not cross a paved road, as they are seen doing in this photo taken in the Mississippi Delta. (Photo courtesy of Delta Wildlife)
October 2, 2015 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A great deal of my time with the Mississippi State University Extension Service has been spent raising public awareness about wild pig problems, and I have encountered quite a few myths and half-truths about these often destructive pests.

June 5, 2015 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Growing skunk populations in Mississippi are causing a stink in the Magnolia state.

Striped and spotted skunks, which are both found in Mississippi, are among the most common and widely distributed mammals in North America. Skunks are solitary and typically nonaggressive, and they have not historically been a serious threat to homeowners, agricultural producers and other wildlife. However, that could change.

In Mississippi, most venomous snakes, such as this copperhead, have a triangular-shaped head with vertical, cat-like pupils in their eyes. The only exception is the coral snake. (Photo courtesy of Taylor Hannah)
April 24, 2015 - Filed Under: Environment, Wildlife, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Snakes

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Warmer weather means wild creatures of all shapes and sizes are on the move, which makes it a whole lot more likely you will encounter a snake during the spring or summer.

Mice and other rodents need food and shelter. Human environments can provide both if steps are not taken to exclude the pests from homes and other buildings. (Photo by iStock)
February 20, 2015 - Filed Under: Environment, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- “Say your prayers, varmint!”

If you recognize this quote, you know its source: Looney Tunes cartoon character Yosemite Sam, who never got the upper hand in his dealings with Bugs Bunny. Sometimes it seems we -- like Yosemite Sam -- battle with “varmints” that live around us. This column will give you a little insight into why the battle rages and what you can do to get the upper hand.

Before building a trap, landowners and managers should use whole-kernel, shelled corn to establish bait sites that attract wild hogs. (Photo courtesy of Rob Holtfreter)
February 13, 2015 - Filed Under: Environment, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Wild pigs are a growing problem for property owners, land managers and farmers throughout Mississippi. Because of their high reproductive rate, they can be difficult to control.

 

This squirrel enjoys the fruits of his labor after digging up a nearby cache. (Photo by Marina Denny)
January 30, 2015 - Filed Under: Environment, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Bare trees in the winter provide clear views of squirrels chasing each other up, down and every which way.

Mid-December through January is a common mating period for eastern gray squirrels, which explains the heightened activity. Baby squirrels are born about six weeks after mating occurs.

Typically, squirrels will build nests for these babies in the forks of tree branches or in the hollows of tree trunks. Their simple nests are fashioned mostly out of dry leaves and twigs.

Wildlife-vehicle collisions often occur at dawn and dusk, when wildlife are most active. (Submitted photo)
January 16, 2015 - Filed Under: Environment, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Wildlife on roadways can be as hazardous to motorists as texting or reckless drivers.

State Farm Insurance reported Mississippi ranks sixth in the nation for wildlife-vehicle related accidents. More than one third of Mississippi’s 70,000 auto crashes are due to collisions with wildlife, specifically with white-tailed deer. One in 84 people statewide will be in a crash involving wildlife annually.

January 15, 2015 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

GRENADA -- Landowners, hunters and timber professionals across the state, including those in the Grenada County area, are educating themselves about a major nuisance to land and wildlife.

Wild hogs reproduce quickly, have few natural predators and can cause damage and spread disease, making them more than a mere nuisance to humans. (Photo by iStock)
November 7, 2014 - Filed Under: Environment, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Wild hogs are a nuisance and potential danger to farmers and landowners throughout the United States. Brought to the Americas by early Spanish explorers as a livestock animal and later transported by hunting enthusiasts, wild hogs have spread rapidly throughout the Southeast.

One reason wild hogs are a growing problem is they can adapt quickly to a variety of temperatures, climates and conditions. They also reproduce rapidly and have few, if any, effective predators, other than humans.

Bill Hamrick, a wildlife associate with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, constructs a corral trap, which wildlife biologists contend is the most effective method for reducing rapidly growing numbers of pigs. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Brian Utley)
October 28, 2014 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

RAYMOND -- Many Mississippians enjoy the sport of hunting wild pigs, but trapping is a better way to control the rapidly growing population that is destroying forests, damaging agricultural resources and threatening native wildlife in the state.

Adult venomous snakes, like this copperhead, will use camouflage or run away to avoid conflict, rather than strike first. (Photo from iStock.)
October 3, 2014 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Snakes

“The only good snake is a dead snake” is an attitude probably triggered by common myths about snakes.

Snake myths are found in cultures around the globe, giving evidence of the troubled relationship between people and these reptiles. People are often afraid when they do not need to be. There are more snake myths than one article can cover, but let’s expose a few of the more common ones to the truth.

Myth: Rattlesnakes always give a warning rattle before they strike.

Beaver activity, such as this dam, can significantly alter the surrounding habitat, for the worse or for the better. (Photo from iStock)
August 29, 2014 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

By James E. “Jim” Miller
Professor Emeritus, Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Aquaculture
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The American beaver, the largest native rodent in North America, is an ecosystem engineer, building dams and creating ponds that contribute to plant and animal biodiversity. However, beavers can cause serious property damage and frustrate landowners and managers.

August 12, 2014 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University’s Center for Resolving Human-Wildlife Conflicts recently announced the addition of two new staff members to address the growing challenge of controlling the state’s wild hog population.

Wild pig herds, such as this one, cause significant damage in a short amount of time by rooting the land. (File photo by USDA APHIS/Carol Bannerman)
July 29, 2014 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University scientists are conducting research to determine the economic impact of wild hog damage to agriculture in Mississippi.

Bronson Strickland and Jessica Tegt, Extension wildlife biologists in the university’s Forest and Wildlife Research Center, are asking farmers and foresters to participate in the study.

Most snakes in Mississippi, such as this ringneck snake, are nonvenomous and help control rodent and other nuisance wildlife populations. (Photo by iStockphoto)
May 30, 2014 - Filed Under: Environment, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Urban and Backyard Wildlife, Snakes

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Despite most people’s fears, snakes are an important part of our natural world and are also helpful to us in many ways.

All snakes are predators, meaning they feed on other animals. Snakes kill and eat rats, mice, moles, insects and other pests that can damage crops and property or spread disease. Because snakes can get into places that other predators cannot or will not go, they can capture rodents that threaten livestock feed or farming equipment and supplies.

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