Sacramento Wildlife Census Shows How Closely Urban Dwellers Live With Wild Animals

Sacramento and Los Angeles are very different cities, but one thing the two regions share is the fact that much wildlife has habituated itself to human presence.

KTXL Fox 40 quoted City of Sacramento Animal Care Services as listing the following wildlife living even in the city center: raccoons, opossums, deer, skunks and coyotes.

Because of some regional differences the list for Los Angeles may even be a bit longer.

Raccoons inhabit all of the United States except Alaska and are quite common. They weigh up to 35 pounds and can be seen walking in family groups. There are a number of species of raccoons, but the northern raccoon is the species in California

curious raccoon hunting in forest
Raccoons have become true urban predators eating their way through neighborhoods and feasting on things we leave behind including pets. Photo by David Selbert on

According to Fox 40 : “:Raccoons tend to live in attics, crawl spaces, hot tubs, decks, tool sheds, and storm drains and drink out of pet water bowls, swimming pools, and ponds. Raccoons can be found roaming neighborhoods at night looking for food. They eat insects, fruits, vegetables, acorns, seeds, fish, and small mammals. “

Those small mammals can include cats and dogs with kittens being most vulnerable. Their pattern in Los Angeles is quite similar. I have seen them come in and out of storm drains.

California has two types of skunks, spotted and striped. Striped skunks are the most likely to be seen in urban areas. Like raccoons they have little or no fear of people as the two species have lived close to humans for generations. Skunks may be less noticeable than raccoons because they tend to eat insects and rodents. They may, however, indulge in garbage, which is plentiful.

a coyote on brown grass
Coyotes are also highly urban having found their ways into most Californai cities. They now show wariness but little fear of humans. Photo by Frans van Heerden on

Very little needs to be said about coyotes. They are everywhere. They are a threat to raccoons and skunks as well as rodents and birds and sometimes eat fruit and vegetables. They are a distinct threat to pets and can kill and eat goats and other livestock. They are habituated to humans and not too afraid of us.

a close up shot of a bobcat
Bobcats are part of the lynx family and are found in much of California. Human expansion is bringing them into closer contact with humans, Photo by Alex Burr on

Deer are found throughout most of California. California has two subspecies of mule deer. Columbian black-tailed deer and California mule deer. They are named for their superficial resemblance to mules. Deer are found right on the edge of our most urbanized locales in Sacramento and in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles may be slightly different than Los Angeles because our suburbs and even small cities can accommodate bobcats, bears and cougars or mountain lions.

These three animals are increasingly in the news as human development moves into wild lands. They are then forced to try and find a living much closer to people than they would like.

Recently, we have posted on cougar cubs found under a park bench in Thousand Oaks, the threat to bobcats by traffic and common garden poisons. We have even noted how the bear population is expanding. Bears routinely wander into neighborhoods bordering our mountains. They may, in fact, be moving into Boston from rural Massachusetts,

Published by ursusrising

long time writer and editor living in Los Angeles

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