Call the Police if You See One of These Outside Your House in Kentucky!

Have you ever woken up to a rustling sound outside your window, only to peek out and see a pair of luminous eyes staring back at you? Or perhaps you’ve been enjoying a peaceful hike in the Kentucky woods when a large shadow suddenly crosses your path. Kentucky is a state brimming with natural beauty, and that beauty comes hand-in-hand with a diverse range of wildlife. From the majestic white-tailed deer to the elusive coyote, these creatures play a vital role in maintaining the state’s ecological balance.

However, while encountering wildlife in Kentucky can be a thrilling experience, it’s important to remember that some encounters can pose a threat. This blog aims to educate you on the common types of wildlife you might encounter in your Kentucky backyard or on your next outdoor adventure, as well as guide you on when to call the police for assistance.

Common Wildlife Encounters (Not Requiring Police)

Kentucky’s diverse ecosystems provide habitats for a variety of animals. Here, we’ll discuss three of the most common wildlife encounters and how to coexist peacefully:

  • The Graceful White-tailed Deer: This iconic mammal is a symbol of Kentucky and can be found throughout the state. Deer are herbivores, primarily feeding on leaves, twigs, and grasses. They are most active at dawn and dusk, so be extra cautious during these times on your evening commute or morning jog. While seeing a deer in your yard might be a beautiful sight, it’s important to remember that they can also cause damage to gardens and landscaping. Here are some tips for keeping deer at bay:
    • Deer Fencing: Installing a sturdy fence around your prized plants can be a highly effective deterrent.
    • Natural Repellents: Spraying certain scents, like rotten eggs or predator urine, can discourage deer from browsing.
    • Remove Attractants: Keep your yard free of potential food sources, such as fallen fruit or overflowing bird feeders.
  • The Gobbledygook Gang: Wild Turkeys: These loud and boisterous birds are another common sight in Kentucky. Turkeys are omnivores, feeding on insects, seeds, berries, and even small reptiles. While generally timid, male turkeys (toms) can become aggressive during mating season (March-May). Here are some tips for coexisting with turkeys:
    • Avoid confrontation: If you encounter a turkey, especially a tom during breeding season, maintain your distance and slowly back away.
    • Protect your property: Turkeys can scratch and peck at gardens. Covering vulnerable areas with netting can provide some protection.
    • Enjoy the show: Observing wild turkeys from a safe distance can be a truly fascinating experience.
  • The Adaptable Coyote: Coyotes are intelligent and adaptable predators that have become increasingly common throughout Kentucky. They are primarily nocturnal and hunt small mammals like rabbits and rodents, but they may also scavenge for carrion or attack livestock if available. While coyote attacks on humans are extremely rare, it’s important to be aware of their presence, especially if you have young children or pets. Here are some tips for minimizing coyote encounters:
    • Secure your trash: Coyotes are attracted to readily available food sources. Keep your trash cans tightly sealed and avoid leaving food scraps outdoors.
    • Supervise pets: Keep your pets on a leash or within a fenced yard, especially at night.
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When to Call the Police

While most wildlife encounters in Kentucky are harmless, there are situations where calling the police is the safest course of action. Here are some key situations to be aware of:

  • Aggressive or Injured Animals:

Wild animals, even those typically considered harmless, can become aggressive if they feel threatened, cornered, or are sick. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of over 4.5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs or other mammals each year. While Kentucky-specific statistics might be harder to find, this highlights the potential dangers of animal attacks. Here are some examples of situations where calling the police is crucial:

* **Rabid Animals:** Rabies is a viral disease that affects the nervous system and can be fatal if left untreated. Animals with rabies may exhibit unusual behavior, such as excessive drooling, lethargy, or unprovoked aggression. 

* **Injured Bears:** Black bears are present in some eastern Kentucky counties. While these animals generally avoid humans, encountering an injured bear can be extremely dangerous. 

* **Aggressive Coyotes:** While rare, coyotes can become aggressive, especially towards pets or small children. If a coyote exhibits threatening behavior like growling or stalking, contacting the police is necessary. 


  • Protected Species:

Kentucky boasts a number of endangered and threatened species, including the Indiana bat, the gray bat, and the rusty blackbird. These animals are protected by federal and state laws. Harming or harassing protected species is illegal and can result in hefty fines or even jail time. If you encounter an animal you suspect might be protected, avoid disturbing it and contact the authorities. Here’s an image of the Indiana bat for reference:

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Preventing Encounters

The best way to deal with a potentially dangerous wildlife encounter is to avoid it altogether. Here are some proactive steps you can take to minimize unwanted interactions with wildlife in Kentucky:

  • Secure your trash: This might seem obvious, but readily available food sources attract unwanted visitors. Keep your trash cans tightly sealed with lids that lock or bungee cords. Avoid leaving leftover food scraps outside.
  • Compost responsibly: If you have a compost bin, ensure it’s properly constructed with a secure lid. Open compost piles can attract animals searching for food scraps.
  • Keep pets safe: Supervise your pets outdoors, especially during dawn and dusk when many wild animals are most active. Consider fencing your yard to create a safe haven for your furry friends.
  • Avoid feeding wildlife: While it might seem kind-hearted, intentionally feeding wild animals disrupts their natural feeding patterns and can make them accustomed to humans, potentially leading to bolder behavior.
  • Educate your family: Talk to your family members, especially young children, about wildlife safety. Teach them to avoid approaching unfamiliar animals and to report any aggressive animal behavior to you immediately.

Resources and Conclusion

Kentucky’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) is a valuable resource for information on wildlife in the state. Their website ( provides detailed information on various species, including identification tips, habitat information, and safety guidelines. They can also be reached by phone at 1-800-858-1549.

Living in Kentucky means coexisting with its diverse wildlife population. By understanding common wildlife encounters, implementing preventative measures, and knowing when to call the police, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for both yourself and the animals. Remember, a little knowledge and preparation go a long way in promoting peaceful coexistence with Kentucky’s wild wonders.

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MBS Staff
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