Wildlife and HOAs
One of the most attractive things about residing in Colorado is proximity to the great outdoors.
Along the Front Range, all types of wildlife can be viewed from or near residential developments. Of course, the best sightings of mega fauna (such as elk, bears and mountain lions, etc.) occur near homes in the foothills, but even in the central city native wildlife is present. This blog looks at what types of wildlife you may see from your HOA and what any risks the animals pose might be.
Feathers and fins
Have you taken a bike ride along the South Platte River or Cherry Creek recently? You may have seen a heron or a bittern. If your HOA has water features as part of the landscaping, then ducks and geese may make your association a seasonal home. If your HOA is near a large lake or pond, or a reservoir, you may have also seen cormorants or perhaps a hawk or an eagle in recent weeks. Even pelicans have been spotted from HOAs near bodies of water! What brings them to an otherwise dry landscape? Lots of food; mostly fish. Trout are native to the area, but may be introduced if you see them outside of natural streams (they are often ‘stocked’ for fishing). Unlike mega fauna, none of these animals pose any threat to the health or welfare of your community. Small cats and dogs for a desperate raptor might be the exception.
This is the Wild West. There are creatures that bite. As cute as coyotes might be, they are wild. Do not try to pet or feed! They may also be interested in making most any of your pets a meal if they are left outside unattended. Then of course there are snakes. While most snakes are harmless, there are venomous rattlesnakes in the area. Unlike coyotes and foxes, which can be seen be roaming city streets and HOA drives from time to time, you usually have to be out on a trail to spot a rattler. You may not see, however, the other venomous critters that could sink their fangs into you or your pet. Black widow spiders can be found in basements and sheds or even under limited common elements. They are not so widespread that you need to be looking over your shoulder at all times, but you may spot one at your HOA. The big fangs are found on mountain lions. These cat do not really like people and you may never see one. They, however, may see you from afar in the evening hours as you move about your foothill association. They aren’t much of a threat – just keep your pets supervised.
When people think of Colorado, they often think of black bears. You may be lucky enough to see these guys if you live in the foothills or a forested area. Just do not approach, especially if there are cubs in sight. People also often think of elk. These herbivores are actually relatively common sights at mountain community associations. They come down from the high country in the fall and stay low until warmer months. Be on the lookout for them.
Prairie dogs seem to be nobody’s favorite animal. As the metro area sprawls and new HOAs are built on the urban fringe, developers generally consider these native species to be pests and seek their extermination. They are very hardy, however, and you are likely to see them frequently at or near High Plains HOAs.