In the past 50 years the American population has nearly doubled, and over this period there has been a rapid expansion of metropolitan areas. This growth has forced indigenous wildlife out of their natural habitats and has led to some more adaptive species that seem to not only survive, but thrive in more urban settings.
Most of the time the appearance of an opossum, a raccoon, or perhaps a feral pig is not cause for any concern, but if these animals start to invade your yard, outbuildings, or garage, they can be destructive, potentially dangerous, and possibly a health threat. A few preventive measures can reduce the chance you will have a close encounter with the woodland creatures.
Depending on the part of the country you live in, various wild animals tend to gravitate toward urban areas when the autumn season arrives and food is more scarce in their usual habitat. Opossums like to forage on lawns and shrubs when their food supplies run low. Raccoons are particularly prone to seek out human garbage or food stores when they come to town.
Raccoons, skunks, squirrels, opossums, and other woodland creatures also seek winter shelter in chimneys, attics, and storage spaces, or they find refuge under a porch or deck. As the prey move into more urban settings, so do the predators. Coyotes are not uncommon around cities throughout the United States.
Three Preventative Measures
Three types of preventive measures have proven effective in deterring wildlife visitors. The first method is to fence out the intruders. Repellants are a second measure, and have some degree of success. One of the simplest ways to be sure wildlife doesn’t come around is to eliminate the things that attract them.
Fences Fend Off a Few
Fences have limited effectiveness in keeping out wildlife, but they can be a deterrent if electrified. Many animals simply climb them or burrow under. An electrified fence, baited with an attractive substance like peanut butter or fruit preserves can lure coyotes, wild boar, and other animals into a surprising zap, and often this is enough to make them go away. Many other species – rabbits, armadillos, and rodents simply tunnel under the fence if something on your property attracts them.
Offending the Offenders
Repellents of all kinds have been tried for decades, ranging from homemade concoctions, usually packing an unwelcome stench, to bright lights and noisemakers to drive wildlife away. Some work better than others, but in general, repellents alone don’t repel many determined creatures. Probably the most universal way to repel unwanted herbivores is to liberally sprinkle blood meal around shrubs, flower and vegetable gardens, and any other area you wish to keep free of wild visitors. The distinctive odor of blood meal is effective to ward off rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, rodents, skunks, porcupines and opossums. Raccoons are too smart to fall for the blood meal red herring though. They do seem to shy away from a strong ammonia scent and dousing an area with a cheap cologne can also keep them away – but you want to be sure you don’t put any stinky repellents too close to your own space or you might be the one repelled. Owning a dog can be the best way to keep wild creatures away, but in areas with coyote or cougar intrusions, small dogs and cats can become victims.
Take Away the Attractions
The most certain way to deter wildlife visitation is to remove anything that attracts them to your property. Obviously, this means that garbage containers should be tightly sealed and secured by tie down straps. No edible forage of any kind should be left unattended. Birdseed, fallen fruit and nuts, garden vegetables, and pet food peak the olfactory senses of wild animals for as far as a mile away. Keep your yard, patio, and all storage areas on your property clear of debris, clutter, and any source of food to keep animals from finding it an attractive haven. Board up any openings to attics, basements, or crawl spaces. To make sure you don’t trap some animal that might already be inside a structure, put in a temporary paper barrier and wait a few days to see if it has been disturbed. If not, seal openings with a more permanent material.
Removing Unwanted Wildlife
If wildlife visitations persist in spite of efforts to keep the creatures out, it is wise policy to call in an expert, like those here at Strategic Industries, rather than to try to trap, catch, or kill a trespassing creature yourself. Trapped and cornered wild animals can be vicious, even if they are not normally aggressive and it takes a trained professional to deal with these situations.
Also, in many parts of the country and most urban areas it is illegal to kill a wild animal, even though it is on your property, unless it a clear and present danger to humans. Professional animal relocation services and pest control services are used to dealing with all species and they have the experience and skills to safely trap and remove offending critters.
If you have a wildlife problem, please call us 866.770.2898 to see how we can help!