Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Look out below! Watching for Displaced Wildlife

As the Morganza Spillway continues to pour water into the Atchafalaya basin, critters in the path of the unexpected inundation will be on the move in search of higher, drier ground. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has issued a press release urging all of us living in regions affected by the flood to stay alert for evacuating wildlife.

Displaced critters you may encounter include Louisiana black bears (still an endangered species), alligators, snakes, deer, and feral hogs.

If you need assistance with a black bear that has wandered into your area, call 1-800-442-2511.

For all other wildlife, including alligators, snakes, deer, and feral hogs, residents are encouraged to a nearby LDWF field offices if assistance is required.
  • Baton Rouge 225-765-2800
  • Hammond 985-543-4777
  • New Iberia 337-373-0032
  • Opelousas 337-948-0255
In general, the LDWF asks that we avoid interaction with fleeing wildlife as much as possible, leaving them to follow their own evacuation plan without interference or extra road side snacks. Feeding displaced wildlife can apparently disrupt their natural inclination to return to their usual home territory as soon as it is safe to do so.

Click here for a photo lineup of poisonous snakes best avoided if possible. The LDWF maintains a very user-friendly Snakes of Louisiana web page that can be sorted by various characteristics and likely habitats. Clicking on the name of any snake on the page reveals more detailed information, including identifying characteristics, habits, and where that snake is most likely to be found.

For a list of rare animals, rare plants, and natural communities indigenous to Terrebonne Parish, see the Species by Parish List. This handy guide includes fact sheets, and can be limited to Terrebonne or any other parish of your choice. Let us know if you see some interesting animals in the ongoing Morganza Spillway Migration of 2011!

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