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Pumpkins aren’t good for local wildlife

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 7:12 AM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The Nevada Department of Wildlife is warning against leaving pumpkins for wildlife.

A social media post has been making its rounds, suggesting people open up pumpkins and leave them in fields or forests.

“Pumpkins are not typically in the native food family for a lot of our wildlife,” said Jessica Wolff, Urban Wildlife Coordinator with NDOW. “It’s not a native plant. So oftentimes when we try and supplement feeding animals, we’re feeding them food that they’re not used to and it can ultimately be bad for them in the long run, particularly with pumpkins this time of year.”

Wolff says some of the products people use on pumpkins can make them even more dangerous for wildlife.

“People are carving Jack o’lanterns and trying to preserve them in certain ways. So they’ll have paint on them, some people will put bleach on top of them. Those are two very toxic things that are not good for our wildlife.”

NDOW suggests not doing anything to preserve pumpkins and to compost of throw them out when you’re done with them.

“Put them in a compost,” said Wolff. “There are composting companies in the area that can help you out with that as well, or just put it in the garbage to make sure that nothing gets to it, especially if we do have some of those preservatives or paint on it”

Wolff says you can leave them in your backyard for smaller critters, but may see a visit from some unwanted rodents by doing so.

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