HOW TO KEEP URBAN WILDLIFE IN THEIR PLACE
By Chris Williams on October 10, 2017.
Did you ever hear the term “urban wildlife?” No, it doesn’t mean rockin’ inner-city nightclubs. Urban wildlife refers to animals other than domestic pets and livestock that occasionally find their way into your yard, and sometimes stay. Animals like raccoons, opossums, skunks, woodchucks, and of course the wildlife that seem to be in residence all the time like squirrels.
These are animals that should, and could, live on their own far away from human dwellings. The reason that these animals interact and overlap with our activities is two-fold: (1) we may actually be invading their space, rather than the other way around, and (2) we make it easy for them by inadvertently providing food and shelter.
You might like seeing the occasional “wild” animal in your yard, but sometimes those cute visitors make themselves at home, tearing up gardens and lawns, burrowing under decks and sheds, chewing their way into your attic, and fighting the dog for his food bowl. If you have any idea of the diseases that they can carry and transmit to people, wild animals don’t seem so cute any more.
IT’S ALL ABOUT HABITAT MODIFICATION
How can you keep urban wildlife out of your yard? Make the environment less attractive to the animals. For the most part, this means eliminating food and potential nest sites. With winter approaching, animals are going to be especially eager to find easy food and shelter. If you can eliminate food for wildlife, eliminating shelter may be of secondary importance since animals prefer to nest near a food source.
It helps if you recognize your pest animal and know a bit about what it feeds on. Unfortunately, most wild animals that frequent yards have developed new dietary preferences and have come to appreciate people food. Below are just a few of the ways in which you provide food for urban wildlife.
IF YOU FEED THEM, THEY WILL COME!
• Bird feeders – #1 food source or wildlife. Remove them or manage them to eliminate seed on the ground.
• Garbage cans – Use tight-fitting lids, empty often, use shock cords or a deterrent system if necessary.
• Produce – Pick up late season vegetables and fruit rotting on the ground. Removing nuts on the ground can help reduce squirrel populations.
• Pet food and pet poop – Don’t leave pet food outside, especially overnight. Wild animals will even feed on your pet’s feces, clean it up.
• Compost piles – If not properly managed, decaying food in the compost pile will attract animals.
For more tips on things you can do to discourage wild animals from visiting, see Why Wild Animals Like Your Yard! At Colonial Pest, we have experts who are licensed and certified in humane wildlife management. If you’re having a problem with wild animals on your property, give Colonial a call.