There are two kinds of wildlife worth noting (animals, not the places to dine and dance!) for a visit to the Flying Catnap by the Sea: feral cats and coyotes. Both are present on Bogue Banks and in Pine Knoll Shores.
We occasionally see feral cats near the Catnap (fitting, ain’t it?). They are healthy but unsociable cats that avoid humans whenever possible. Most were born in the wild. There is also the occasional stray cat that may be friendly, a pet that escaped from home, wandered away, or was abandoned by its owner.
Island Cat Allies works to manage Bogue Banks’ feral cat population using a process called Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). They trap cats humanely, take them to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered and then vaccinated, and then returned to the wild (although caretakers provide food and water).
The folks at Island Cat Allies assert that feral cats are not riddled with disease and this would be true for those that have been through the TNR protocol. It’s not clear, however, that this would be true for all feral cats.
While cats may help to keep mice and other critters in check, coyotes can do the same for cats and there have been several coyote sightings in Pine Knoll Shores (PKS) this spring according to an email from Brian Kramer, our Town Manager.
PKS is not planning to trap coyotes or relocate them for three reasons: they are not a danger to people with no record of an attack on a human anywhere in North Carolina; if you kill or remove one group, others are likely to replace them so there are on Bogue Banks to stay; and the best way to avoid them is to not do anything that attracts them.
What attracts coyotes? Leaving food where they can find it and letting very small pets, you know, like cats, outside without protection or human supervision. Throwing the trash beside, rather than in, the dumpster makes it available to critters in general and coyotes in particular. This is especially effective after dark. Coyotes also enjoy meeting up with rabbits and squirrels.
The PKS Code does not allow us to trap or hunt animals in town (which brings to mind the greens keeper at the Country Club of the Crystal Coast and his shotgun a couple years back but that is another story!). There are exceptions that can be authorized by the chief of police.
While most of our feral cats have been vaccinated and rabies is unusual in coyotes, caution is advisable with any wild animal. This is especially true for another member of our wildlife population: raccoons. But that’s a story for another day.