Posted at: 10/22/2012 7:19 PM
By: Dan Conradt
Critter Concerns Around Austin
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- In residential neighborhoods and near some of the city’s busiest streets, some of Austin’s critters are running amok.
"It is kind of creating a problem for our department," said Austin Park and Rec Director Kim Underwood.
The trees lining the Mill Pond just off North Main Street in downtown Austin are taking a hit, and you can blame the beavers.
"Their preferred food is willow and aspen and cottonwood," said Hormel Nature Center Director Larry Dolphin.
And while the mature ash tree that fell victim to a beaver wouldn’t be on his list of favorite foods -- but could be the equivalent of a trip to the dentist.
"Their teeth continually grow, so they just need to chew on something to keep their teeth worn down," Dolphin explained.
And the recent increase in beaver-damaged trees could be the animals’ way of getting ready for cold weather.
"Typically this time of year you'll see a food cache where they will be storing up trees for the winter," naturalist Larry Dolphin told us.
But regardless of why the trees are being taken down...
"We can't leave those trees there in the condition the beaver leaves them in. We have to remove them," said Park and Rec Director Kim Underwood. “We don't want anyone to get hurt."
And it's not just the beavers that have been active -- police tell us they've taken six or seven reports of raccoons wandering into neighborhoods in the past week.
"If a raccoon is not concerned about you I'd be concerned about the raccoon," said Nature Center Director Larry Dolphin.
Police describe the raccoons as acting like they were intoxicated, staggering and salivating, and showing no fear of people.
"With that kind of behavior, raccoons coming out in the middle of the day, it's not normal behavior," Larry Dolphin explained. “If you see that, it's best to move away."