Wildlife affected by heat and drought - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Wildlife affected by heat and drought

Gehl saw a coyote eating apples. Gehl saw a coyote eating apples.
Gehl saw an unwelcome critter (rattler) by a woodpile. Gehl saw an unwelcome critter (rattler) by a woodpile.

We're finding out new information every day about how the drought continues to impact our lives. The dry conditions are affecting wildlife, and that could mean trouble for you.

"We were just so freaked out about it," said Steve Gehl.

Early this week Steve Gehl of Cape Girardeau County looked out outside, and saw an unwelcome critter by a woodpile.

"I thought it might be a snake, it was sure enough a timber rattler," said Gehl. 

He didn't have to think twice about his next move.

"I ran inside got the .22 and proceeded to kill it as quick as I could," said Gehl. "It was about four foot long. Here I am 55 years old, and it's the first one I've ever seen."

Another first came about a month ago.

"I looked out the picture window, it was a pretty good sized coyote by the apple tree," said Gehl. "It was eating apples off the ground chomping them up like it was starving to death."

He says that happened in broad daylight.

"The wildlife are just doing crazy things they don't normally do," said Gehl."

"It's no surprise, no surprise at all," said Ken West-Protection Regional Supervisor with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

West says wildlife have no choice but to go where the food and water is, even if that means your garden or yard. 

"Wouldn't be uncommon even in your yard to see turkeys chasing grasshoppers."

You're likely to see more deer these days too, and bats.

"If you pay attention to the sky at dark you'll see more bats than usual," said West. 

They creatures are attracted to any and all water sources.

Steve Gehl says there's a creek in the woods behind his house, but suspects it is dry.

"You gotta wonder where they're getting water," said Gehl.

Ken West says one of the biggest problems right now is with fish kills, as there is not enough oxygen in water sources like local ponds.

West says that's especially a real headache in the Bootheel where it has been very hot and dry all summer.

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