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Be wary of wildlife around Halloween decorations, AZGFD says

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PHOENIX — Around this time of year, people are getting into the Halloween spirit, setting up decorations and making sure their jack-o-lanterns are properly carved for the upcoming holiday.

But while your’e looking for the best costume to wear, the Arizona Game and Fish Department is warning residents of the chance that wildlife may come to the door instead of trick-or-treaters, looking for a snack.

“Javelina, coyotes, deer and even bears eat some of the vegetables that are part of traditional holiday displays,” regional supervisor Raul Vega of Game and Fish in Tucson said.

“When displayed outdoors, they may attract wildlife to homes, potentially creating conflicts with people.”

But don’t throw away your pumpkins just yet.

The department recommends that residents place their jack-o-lanterns and other Halloween decorations, such as cornucopias, indoors before throwing them away in a secure location to prevent any possible encounters with wildlife.

“Habituating wildlife to a human food source inevitably leads to conflicts with people and can result in serious harm in some cases,” urban wildlife specialist Locana de Souza of Game and Fish in Tucson said.

“Furthermore, unintentional or intentional feeding can cause problems for wildlife, such as obesity and malnutrition, and promote the spread of disease.”

It is illegal to feed wildlife in Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties. Those caught feeding wild animals can face a maximum penalty of a $300 fine.

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