Wildlife in Parks & Greenways

Wake Forest's array of parks and greenways provide a habitat for wildlife to flourish. As a result, it is not uncommon for parks and greenways users to see deer, foxes, coyotes, raccoons and other wild animals - including an occasional bear.

In most situations, people and wildlife can coexist. The key is to respect the wildness of wildlife. Most dangerous and potentially harmful encounters occur because people fail to leave the animals alone. Wildlife should not be harassed, captured, domesticated or, in most cases, fed. Intentional or inadvertent feeding is the major cause of most wildlife problems.

When it comes to enjoying the wildlife found in our parks, here are some general guidelines to keep both your family and our furry friends happy and healthy.


  • Don't feed the wildlife. Feeding the animals may be fun and seem harmless, but it teaches our wildlife that people mean food. In the future, they may aggressively approach people looking for food - which is dangerous for them and park visitors. Unfortunately, people may get hurt and the animals euthanized to ensure public safety - even though it may not be the animals' fault.

  • Don't tease, chase or follow animals very closely. This frightens the animals and may result in them getting badly hurt as they try to escape.

  • Don't touch them. All wild animals will defend themselves if they feel threatened.

  • Don't pick up baby animals or take them home. They are cute, but their parents think so too, so please leave them alone.


  • Observe wildlife at a respectful distance – where your presence doesn't disturb them. This way you can both enjoy the day. Bring binoculars and field guides and practice your identification skills. See how many types of birds and other animals you can find and name.

  • Take pictures so that you can treasure and share these moments for years to come.

Wildlife in Wake Forest

An abundance of wildlife can be found in and around Wake Forest, including deer, groundhog, raccoon, squirrel, opossum, fox, geese, coyotes and bats, among others. These creatures often seek refuge in local neighborhoods because of habitat loss due to increasing development. Living near humans provides wild animals with a wealth of unnatural food sources (trash, pet food, gardens, etc.) and artificial living quarters (sheds, attics, chimneys, etc.) While some people have never had any problems with wildlife, others have had negative experiences with wild animals disturbing their house or yard.

Again, seeing a wild animal is generally not a reason to be alarmed, however we always recommend routine precaution and deterrents as indicated below:

  • Do not feed wildlife. Feeding wildlife may not seem like a big deal, but it is the primary cause for conflict. Supplemental feeding encourages them to stay closer to your home, causes them to become less fearful of humans, and may reduce their health. Wild animals are capable of finding their own food.

  • Do not feed pets outside. If you must, be sure to immediately remove any uneaten portion.

  • Keep small pets indoors at night. Large predators, such as coyotes, view small pets as potential food.

  • Secure pet doors during late evening and night hours. Nocturnal species such as raccoons will readily enter cat doors in search of food.

  • Search for, repair or otherwise seal any holes, loose boards or gaps around the perimeter of your house so that wildlife cannot enter. Mice can squeeze through a hole or gap that's 1/4 inch or larger.

  • Use wire mesh to cover chimney or vents.

  • Cover fruit trees with netting and fence off your garden to help keep hungry wildlife away. Motion activated sprinklers and other deterrents are also helpful in the garden.

  • Deter squirrels and rats from accessing fruit trees or your roof by cutting near-by vegetation back 8-10 feet.

  • Put bird feeders out of reach

  • Pick up fallen fruit

  • Cover compost or use container composting

  • Secure your garbage containers. Keep your garbage lids secure and only put trash out on the morning of trash collection

  • Keep cats and small dogs indoors, allowing them outside under supervision and on a leash. Cats should not be left outdoors to roam freely

Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources

Joyner Park Community Center
701 Harris Road
Wake Forest, NC 27587