What are Mesopredators? Taking a Deeper Look at Solving Problems with Our Smallest Urban Predators

What are Mesopredators? Taking a Deeper Look at Solving Problems with Our Smallest Urban Predators
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2020-08-20
Unit 1 Slide Deck: What are Mesopredators?
Unit 2 Transcript: What are Mesopredators?
Unit 3 Workbook: What are Mesopredators?
Unit 4 Recording: What are Mesopredators?

One of the things that we must all remember is that before humans established any semblance of civilization, animals make up a significant chunk of the ecosystem. Humans displaced animals from their natural habitat and animals scurried into areas with less human settlement. But as more and more developments come along, the animals have no other choice but to live alongside humans, giving rise to what is now referred to as urban wildlife.

Today’s instructor, John Griffin will discuss one specific segment of urban wildlife, the mesopredators. John has more than two decades’ worth of experience working with animals. He is the Senior Director of Urban Wildlife Programs for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), where he leads  field service and policy programs resolving conflicts between humans and wildlife.

John provides an overview of what mesopredators are, their prevalence and role in the urban ecosystem, and a comprehensive discussion on four of the most common mesopredators humans may encounter:

  • Racoons
    • Their sheltering and denning characteristics and the home ranges in which they move around from one den and food source to another.
    • Recognizing the presence of raccoons and the role that human attractants play in this.
    • Understanding their breeding behaviors and how these can impact their presence within your area.
    • The prevalence of raccoons in the city and their abilities that enable them to establish dens in both elevated and ground level structures.
  • Red foxes
    • Characteristics of red foxes – including distinguishing physical attributes, activities, skills, feeding habits, and adaptability.
    • Red foxes as territorial creatures that defend their home range and establish dens.
    • Their typical denning spots in both natural and man-made structures which serve its purpose particularly during breeding season and winter.
    • A glimpse into the breeding, rearing, and weaning process of fox kits as well as the rare cases of orphans.
    • How red foxes become habituated to communities and human interaction.
  • Opossums
    • Their natural nomadic and solitary tendencies and how this impacts their denning sites.
    • Their unique qualities and defense mechanisms to evade predators and humans.
    • Their breeding period, litter size, and distinct weaning process.
  • Skunks
    • Skunks’ distinct defense mechanism due to terrible eyesight – its accuracy and effective range, warning behaviors, and when they resort to it.
    • Their nomadic nature, their preferred dens and purpose for denning.
    • Their unique delayed implantation capability, sensing skunk breeding season in the air, the young’s natural ability to spray, and the process of weaning.

Numerous videos and images were shown throughout the webinar exhibiting these mesopredators’ behavior, activities, most common human concerns, and tips on how to address conflicts through humane trapping, hazing, and reuniting.

Points tackled during the Q&A were about:

  • What classifies as charismatic species.
  • The matrices shown throughout the presentation.
  • Sarcoptic mange in red foxes.
  • Glue traps as an inhumane method.

 

Resources and Handouts

 

Audience Comments

  • “The webinar was very interesting and provided some great information on how to humanely remove animals or to know that they will naturally move on eventually. I vey much enjoyed this one.” — Alexis
  • “Lots of new facts about mesopredators that I was unaware of, great handout, and great material presented throughout webinar.” — Brendan
  • “The explanation of how beneficial it is to have these animals in your back yard for real pest control. Most of all leave them be and they will move on to another location. Thank you.” — Dawn
  • “I learned some very valuable tips for dealing with wildlife and it gave me answers to commonly asked questions. I gained practical knowledge and I’m glad I participated.” — Lynn

 

** This webinar has been certified by the National Sheriffs' Association and may be eligible for Continuing Education Units through your POST. Please consult your local certification processes for additional details. Paid subscribers that attend will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Sheriffs' Association logo.
** This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care and Control Association and may be eligible for Continuing Education Units. Please consult your local certification processes for additional details. Current NACA Members who attend will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo.
Additional Resources
22 days ago
After the Webinar: Mesopredators – Solving Problems with Our Smallest Urban Predators. Q&A with John Griffin
Webinar presenter John Griffin answered a number of your questions after his presentation, What Are […]
9 months ago
Humane Wildlife Capture and Handling: Advanced Techniques for Success
Humans and animals are supposed to coexist but somewhere along human civilization, some of these ani […]
10 months ago
Urban Wildlife 101
What used to be woods or fields are being turned into cities to cater to the human population that d […]
11 months ago
Wildlife and Rabies
Much of what most people know about rabies are actually myths. These untruths spawned generalized fe […]
1 year ago
How Shelters Can Make Policies More Humane for Wildlife
Animal care and control agencies are tasked with responding to issues within communities related to […]
X