"Generally, you do see more wildlife coming down for food and water during the drier summer months," said Veronica Fincher, wildlife officer for the Pasadena Humane Society, the agency that provides animal control services to Glendale and foothill residents.
As May turns to June, animal control officers typically see a doubling of calls, but a persistent drought throughout the Southland that has produced rainfall totals this season nearly 12 inches below normal has prompted almost every animal control agency and public safety department — from Los Angeles Animal Services to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Glendale Fire Department — to warn residents of a potential increase in wild visitors.
"The animals are on the move," said Stanton Florea, spokesman for the Angeles National Forest.
The recent Griffith Park fire that charred 817 acres of habitat also compounded the potential migration, according to Los Angeles Animal Services.
For the most part, city cores won't be as affected as outlying communities that nestle along the foothills — the first stop for animals coming down the hills, Fincher said.
Everyday conveniences residents take for granted are attractive lures for parched wildlife. A pool can offer a wet oasis; outdoor pet food, a tasty snack.
"When there's nothing up there to eat or drink, we make it pretty easy for them," she said.
Bear, coyote, raccoons and even mountain lions are especially attracted by trash and leftovers from summer barbecues and pet food, she said. Deer and rabbits take a particular liking to fallen fruit and vegetable gardens. And rattlesnakes will crawl into cool places, such as woodpiles.