Book Review: Here's a handbook to help you get along with your wild neighbors

"Coexisting with Urban Wildlife: A Guide to the Central Arizona Uplands," by Robert L. Hoff

A handy little book to have on hand for Quad-Cities residents is "Coexisting with Urban Wildlife: A Guide to the Central Arizona Uplands," by Robert L. Hoffa. This is especially true for those who have come to the area in recent years and might be struggling to cope with certain fellow area residents who keep intruding in their yards, seemingly having no respect for the way owners wish to keep things. The book is also for those who want to attract wildlife into their yards but know it has to be done responsibly.

Most folks come to our area because of its unique natural beauty, which includes native plant life and wildlife; however, the huge influx of human residents loving this area have greatly changed life for the native wildlife inhabitants. Losing many plants and land areas that wildlife have used to survive to houses, businesses, and other facilities humans need has resulted in new adaptive behaviors that often put wildlife in conflict with human residents. The book does a good job of describing ways human residents can protect themselves and their property from wildlife damage as well as describing and proscribing ways to responsibly attract wildlife by providing habitat needs without doing harm to them by making them human-dependent.

Along with tips, suggestions, and sometimes construction instructions, the book gives helpful information on the needs and habits of most of the area's backyard mammals, birds and reptiles. For example, knowing just what might have attracted a skunk to your yard, how to find the entrance it discovered to someplace under your house or garage, and how and when to close off its entrance without getting skunked might very well come in handy. Tips on how to discourage javalinas from no-no areas can also save money and much frustration. So too can knowing just when to leave a situation alone and call the Arizona Game and Fish Department instead. So this handy handbook with information and help with creatures from pocket gophers to deer to rattlesnakes can be an enormous help.

- Reviewed by Susan Lang, Peregrine Book Company event coordinator