Terry Messmer

Wild Animals Are Not Pets

Jan 29, 2020

A five year old boy in Texas was hospitalized after being mauled by a pet mountain lion kept by his aunt.

A Pennsylvania woman died after being attacked by her pet 350-pound black bear that she had raised from a cub.

A red fox pup was turned into a shelter by a family that had kept it in captivity. The fox became blind because it was not being properly fed.

A young boy in Utah who was attacked by his pet raccoon, required medical attention.

Wildlife Winterization And You

Oct 18, 2019

The falls in Utah are arguably one of the best seasons to enjoy the outdoors. As the heat of the summer abates and the days shorten, the landscape becomes ablaze with vibrant colors and are a cacophony of new sounds. Elk bugling and flocks of cackling migrating geese overhead herald the changing season and the onset of winter.


As more people recreate in Utah's outdoors, the chance of encountering wildlife also increases.  Whether that encounter will be positive or negative depends on what people know about living and recreating near and in wildlife's habitat.  

'Living In Snake Country – Six Things To Consider' on Wild About Utah

Jul 5, 2019
Ana Meister / Pixabay

Summer is here.  People will be using the great outdoors more often, and that includes the many tourists who have discovered Utah’s beauty and diversity.  Caution is always needed when traveling in wild country, and today I refer to an article titled Living in Snake Country-Six Things to Consider written by Terry Messmer, Utah State University Extension wildlife specialist. 

Humans, Snakes, And Snake Bites

Jun 20, 2019
M. Maggs / Pixabay

Most human fears regarding snakes seem to stem from the fear of being bitten by a venomous snake.  Because most snakes in Utah are non-venomous, most human snake encounters are generally not dangerous, however if you encounter a venomous snake and are bitten, the consequences could be serious. 

Rebirth Of Spring For Animals And Humans

May 25, 2019
Pixabay - Skeeze

For most wild animals, spring is the time of year when the seasonal cycle is renewed.  Spring birthing and nesting is adaptive in that the young are born when the conditions are favorable, and food resource is most abundant, increasing the chance of survival.  While some learn survival from one or both parents, others normally receive little or no parental care. 

Wikimedia Commons


The State of Utah and the Bureau of Land Management recently revised plans to restore and manage populations of Greater Sage Grouse in the Intermountain West — and researchers say this time, they got it right.

Human-Wildlife Interactions

May 13, 2019
Pixabay - skeeze

In 1999 I presented a paper on the status of human-wildlife conflict at an annual meeting of the international biodeterioration and biodegradation society.  The paper was entitled The emergence of wildlife conflict management, turning challenges into opportunities.


In recent weeks the popular press and social media has picked up on reports of an infectious disease in deer known as chronic wasting disease. CWD has now been confirmed in 24 states including Utah. Some experts quoted in the media have dubbed the deer afflicted with this disease as “zombie deer” because they believe the disease could one day affect human beings. 


Knock-knock! Who’s there? Recently, some Utah homeowners who live near wooded areas have awakened to mysterious knocking sounds in their walls. The source of the knocking has been identified as a species of bird known as a woodpecker. Those who may choose to ignore the knocking might be in for a surprise this spring when they find that the woodpecker has taken up residency within the wall.

Ode To A Christmas Mouse

Dec 23, 2018

Tis the night before Christmas when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. These are the opening lines of the poem entitled, The Night Before Christmas. Charles Moore wrote the poem for his family on Christmas Eve in 1822.


Halloween’s scariest animals. Bats are mammals that fly. But it was Bram Stokers “Dracula” that forever linked bats to vampires on Halloween.