- REMOVE FOOD SOURCES is the primary way to discourage wildlife in your yard.
- Water lawns during the day.
- Landscape modification.
- Maintenance of structures.
Wildlife require the same basic three elements for existence as we do, food, water and shelter. Most urban wildlife is opportunistic and omnivorous, eating animal and/or plant; therefore, removal of those basic needs will discourage wildlife on your property.
- DO NOT LEAVE PET FOOD OUTSIDE. Place enough for your pet and remove any left after about 30-40 minutes. Consider feeding indoors so ants and flies don’t get in your pet’s food.
- If you must feed a feral cat, regularly alter the time of day to discourage opportunistic feeding by raccoons and opossums.
- Only put enough bird seed for the day you can enjoy your bird feeder. You may not realize that a bird/squirrel feeder creates a mini eco-system that attracts and feeds an abundance of wildlife. The discarded seed on the ground attracts prey species such as cottontails, mice, and rats. The prey eating the discarded seed attract opossums, raccoons, skunks, coyote, fox, bobcats. Wildlife finds it easier to hunt the prey, when you are feeding them in your yard.
- Remove fallen fruit, acorns and nuts from your yard.
- Place trash out the morning of pick up. Adding a cup of ammonia to your trash can will discourage rummaging.
- Avoid storing food of any kind such as bird or pet food, in containers in your yard, garage or shed. Often rodents will get into this food and consequently their presence attracts the raccoons, opossums, skunks, etc.
- Be aware of what you put on your compost. If using table discards use bins that can be closed.
- Do not leave small pets outside unattended especially at night.
Remember what you may unintendedly provide for food may be an easier meal than hunting and catching a mouse or rat.
- Because compost creates heat it often can attract wildlife in the winter as shelter.
- Shelter for wildlife can be dense vegetation such as over grown grass, vines or shrubbery.
- Wood piles, outdoor storage of building materials or debris
- Check the construction of your home or out buildings for deterioration of wood, cracks, and holes that can allow access. A rat can enter a dime size hole and a raccoon can get in a hole the size of your fist. Wildlife will enhance an existing hole until they can gain access.
- Foundation maintenance is critical as areas of erosion can encourage an animal to dig under out buildings, decks or pier and beam foundations. If you have foundation vents be sure they are secure. I recommend replacing screen covers with hardware cloth as raccoons will tear screen covers open.
- Install and keep properly maintained a chimney cap to prevent raccoons, squirrels or chimney swifts from making a home.
- Keep your fence in good repair
- Enclosures for chickens or fowl should include buried wire floor and ceiling. Most chicken wires will allow access for a raccoon hand or a snake head, the use of half inch hardware cloth will prevent intrusion of a raccoon’s hand or a snake.
- Decks should be constructed so that wildlife cannot get under. The base can be wood, rock, brick or hardware cloth to ground level. To prevent digging bury wire from the base “L” shaped attached at a 45-degree angle with the base extending at least 12 inches away from the sides. These 12 inches will discourage digging. Buried depth is recommended to be 4 to 6 inches.
Areas that are desirable for shelter are typically dark, cool, and located in areas that your pet generally does not travel. Yards without pets are even more desirable if not maintained.
- Leave water dishes for your pets outside only if your pet is outside
- Don’t allow your sprinkler system to create pools of water that attract wildlife and insects
- The use of noise, light, or water deterrents activated by motion can make wildlife feel uncomfortable or threatened and are helpful if you have a pool or pond that is visited.
- The following are just a few devices that can be used.