How to live with wildlife

As our wildlife’s natural habitats continue to be encroached by human expansion, wild animals have no choice but to adapt to living closer to humans. The least we can do is to try to adapt to living with them as well. After all, they were here first.

If you are experiencing a wildlife conflict, consider the causing factors. Wild animals may take up residence in your backyard because you have inadvertently made your yard attractive to them. It could be the trash you left out, the garden you planted, the warm structure you provided or the predator free area you have provided with your fence.

Here are some suggestions for dealing with wildlife conflicts through humane and non-invasive means.

  • Wildlife in your trash.

    Keep your trash cans in the garage or an enclosed area. Put your trash out in the morning rather than the night before. Make sure your trash can has a lid and that it fits securely. Keep your trash cans upright by attaching them to a sturdy pole.
  • Wildlife in a dumpster

    If you find an animal trapped in a dumpster or other container, place a tree branch or piece of lumber diagonally from the dumpster floor to the top. The animal will climb out when he deems it safe to exit. Often a raccoon, opossum or skunk will wait until dark to exit.
  • Wildlife in your garden

    The best way to prevent wildlife from entering your garden is to install a fence. The fence should extend a few inches below the surface and three feet above. That should deter rabbits, other burrowers and most deer. Organic commercial repellents can also be useful to protect flowers and shrubs and are available at most garden centers.
  • Wildlife gnawing at your trees

    If animals are chewing and gnawing at the base of your trees, wrap the bottom three feet of the tree with hardware cloth, chicken wire or install a plastic tree protector. Several layers of aluminum foil will work on smaller tree trunks.
  • Wildlife digging in your yard

    The best way to keep wildlife from digging in your yard is to install a perimeter fence that extends 12 inches into the ground and 4 feet above. If this is not an option, try using an organic insect control product to eliminate bugs as a food source. You can also try placing noise making devices, such as pinwheels, around your yard.
  • Wildlife under your house, deck or porch

    Start by blocking off all access holes except one. Place dryer sheets in the area. The odor will eventually drive the animal away. Sprinkle flour or baby powder outside the remaining open access hole and check daily for activity. Once you are sure that the area is no longer occupied, seal the remaining access hole.
  • Wildlife in your chimney or fireplace

    Hang a heavy rope from the top of the chimney into your fireplace in case the animal cannot get out the same way it got in. Place scented dryer sheets in the fireplace to encourage the animal to vacate. Once the creature has vacated, properly cap the chimney.
  • Wildlife in your house

    If an animal should make its way into your home, do not attempt to catch it yourself. This could be dangerous for you, your belongings and the animal. Close off access to as much of your house as possible and open as many windows and doors to the outside as possible. Give the animal time to calm down and find its own way out.