‘Everything and Anything Is To Be Expected’: Springtime Wildlife in New Canaan [Q&A]


With warmer weather finally arriving, New Canaan is seeing changes in the behavior of its wildlife, as well as the types of species that residents can expect to encounter with spring’s official start on Tuesday.

We put some questions about the changes to Office Sean Godejohn, head of the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control section.

Here’s our exchange.


New Canaanite: We’re getting some warm days this week. What kind of new wildlife should New Canaanites expect to start seeing?

A bobcat photographed on Horton Lane, Nov. 2, 2023. Photo published with permission from its owner

Animal Control Officer Sean Godejohn: Everything and anything is to be expected as far as wildlife. The bears are coming out of hibernation. The coyotes and bobcats are looking for mates. The deer are going to be giving birth to fawns. 

What are some strategies for homeowners seeking to cohabitate with this wildlife?

When living with or near wildlife the best strategies for the most part are to enjoy the wildlife from a far. Don’t try to feed or interact with wildlife. If you see baby squirrels, bunnies or fawns in places they shouldn’t be, don’t touch them. Give animal control a call. Keep garbage bins in your garage or secured outside with locks or latches as to not attract wildlife.

What about when we encounter the more alarming species of wildlife, such as bears, in person?

A black bear outside of a Ludlowe Road home on March 21, 2023. Photo published with the permission of its owner

When you see a bear, bobcat or coyote most of the time you can avoid these animals by facing them and backing away slowly. Never turn your back on any of these animals. If they approach you, yell at them to go away and they usually will. I encourage everyone who walks at dawn or dusk to carry noise makers on them such as bells to alert any of the wildlife in the area that you are there. Also walkers should be alert at dawn and dusk when coyotes and bobcats are most active. If you encounter a bear, bobcat or coyote you’ll want to try to get to a safe area such as a car, building or garage. If you are a walker or hiker I encourage you to carry an air horn or bear deterrent. 

So our readers are clear, what is the role of Animal Control with respect to wildlife? When should a resident with an issue contact you versus a rehabilitator or some other trained professional?

New Canaan Animal Control Officer Sean Godejohn. Credit: Michael Dinan

Animal Control’s role in respect to wildlife issues is to stop the spread and to control rabies. Our responsibility is to test possibly rabid animals that come into contact with humans or domestic animals. This is why it is very important not to touch any wild animals. If you witness an animal that appears to need help or rehabilitation remember that the animal could have rabies. It is best to call Animal Control to handle animal related issues. If an animal is in distress I will ensure the proper measures are taken to help that animal the best I can either by getting the animal to a rehabilitator, or other appropriate measures.

Finally, you’ve been on the job several months now. How’s it going? How are you finding the community?

I absolutely love working for the Town of New Canaan. The Town of New Canaan residents and employees are very welcoming and friendly. When I patrol the parks and smile and wave to the New Canaan residents and they smile and wave back it makes my whole day. I like establishing relationships with people in the community and coming together to solve the animal related issues.

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