Many of the furry critter common to urban areas are quite adorable, and while it may be tempting to offer them a scrap of bread or seed to eat, feeding wildlife and familiarizing them to accessible food sources, is not only potentially harmful to your health, but is also dangerous for wildlife. Habituating wildlife encourages them to scavenge for food in area such as homes, gardens, and garbage, rather than seeking out food from their traditional food sources. And don’t be surprised if after finding a good location for easy meals, a family of raccoons takes up residence under your shed, or a family of squirrels move into your attic. Wild critters, although cute, can pose a significant danger to yourself, your family and pets, and your property. Once they have taken up residence, wildlife removal can be very difficult; to avoid this situation, here are a few simple steps that you can take to ensure urban wildlife remains wild.
Secure garbage and food sources.
An unsecured garbage bin is a huge score for many wild animals. Raccoons, in particular, are crafty little creatures, with extremely dexterous hands; opening up an unsecured garbage can lid is no problem for them. To help ensure last night’s leftovers don’t become today’s meal, make sure your garbage bin has a wildlife-proof latch to secure it shut.
Bird feeders make another common source for critter snacks. Best practice would be to avoid feeders altogether, but if you must have one, look for “squirrel proof” feeders and buy bird-specific seed, rather than mixed seed. Other easy access food sources include pet food left outdoors and fruit bushes and trees that have been left unattended. If your pets do eat outside, try leaving the food out once or twice daily and clean up and remove any uneaten food promptly.
Composting is a great way to create a natural fertilizer for your yard and gardens, however, if left unattended, it can also be a huge draw for wildlife and rodents. Using a closed compost bin is recommended to avoid attracting unwanted animals.
Secure your home.
Even if you have been proactive in eliminating outdoor food attractants, some determined wildlife may still decide to take up residence on your property or in your home. To avoid the need for wildlife removal, take steps to secure your home against the most common entry points. Cover up any exterior openings, such as chimney openings, exhaust fans, gables, soffits, and attic vents. These are common entry points for birds and squirrels. Make accessing your roof difficult by trimming back any trees or vegetation and examine your foundation and repair any holes; mice, in particular, love to get into your home through these tiny cracks.
Wildlife removal, once they have taken root on your property, can be very tricky and will likely require the services of a professional. Taking a few simple steps can save you and the wildlife from a ton of heartache down the road.