Coexisting with Wildlife

Tips on Animal Behaviors:

  • Animals will freeze when scared or frighten. So when you pick up that baby bunny and it doesn’t move at all, it means that it is very scared.
  • Fight or flight — never corner an animal. If they feel they do not have an exist to flee, they will fight. Rule of thumb is stay minimum of five feet away from all wildlife.
  • If you feed the wild critters to keep them in your yard, remember they will bring friends.
  • Making a comfortable and safe environment encourages them to stay.
  • Any animal with teeth will bite! No animal likes to be picked up even if they appear to be extremely friendly.
  • If an animal comes into your house by an open window or door, try to darken the room as much as possible, close off all doors and windows but one. They will follow the light back outside.
  • If you believe you found an orphan visit our page “Am I a Real Orphan” or call us. Do not send us an email, as it might take a full day to get back to you.

There are many simple things humans can do to live with our native wildlife without either party interfering with the other. We have tried to list just a few common issues where humans and wildlife conflict and how to stop the conflict that might help us enjoy our wildlife instead of looking at them as a nuisance. There are many scenarios that are not listed, so if you are having an issue that is not listed or need more suggestions, please contact us directly.

Do you have any ideas or stories that you would like to share on how we can co-exist with our native neighbors? We would love to hear from you. Please share your ideas and/or stories with us. Click the tab Facilities and email your idea/story. This list will be updated periodically with new ideas as we share our stories.

Common Issues:

How to co-exist with wildlife

On the Road:

  • Remove road kill from the road. Many animals are injured, even killed, while feeding on dead carcasses left on or beside the road.
  • Be aware of the opossum crossing the road with unseen babies in her pouch. Also, that opossum by the side of the road might not be really dead. The car that came down that road before you scared the opossum, and now its is only playing dead. Don’t hit it with your car assuming it’s an already dead animal.
  • Other animals might also be slower to cross the road, especially in the spring. They might be crossing the road to be switching nest sites. Most mammals will carry one baby at a time in her mouth while she gets to her new location.
  • Early spring when the buds, grasses, and other plant material are just starting to bloom causes animals to go foraging. Sometimes they need to cross the street to get to their food source. A long winter with little food will make them less alert, so please be careful while driving.
  • Tossed apple cores or other food thrown out a car window unintentionally lure animals close to high-speed vehicles where they get hit.

In and Around your Home:

  • Your intention might be to get rid of those mice that have been visiting your kitchen. If you use pesticides to get rid of the animal, be aware that even if you got rid of your mice issue, your neighbor’s cat might also be gone. When an animal is poisoned, it is a slow death. The mice will not be as quick as they usually are so it makes it easier for the cat to catch and eat them. The amount of poison that the mouse ingested will determine how ill that cat might get. A lot of deaths are reported due to second-hand poisoning to the family pet and even the local wildlife surrounding the area. The hawk saw an easy meal and gets the mouse. Now the hawk isn’t so quick, and it becomes the next target.
  • Animals in your attic. We hear all the time, I caught that squirrel/raccoon in my attic and relocated it. Now I don’t have this problem anymore.” Okay, you don’t have a problem right now, after you just relocated the animal, but please keep in mind two things I would like to point out.
    First, if the animal is living somewhere you do not want it to live like your attic, before you capture it and relocate it find out how it got into your home in the first place. Just removing the animal won’t fix the problem. The real problem is how that animal got into the attic in the first place. Without fixing the problem, you are just creating another home for the next animal to move into, and it will find it.
    Second, are you sure that the animal you just captured and relocated isn’t a mother! If so, now you have a bigger problem, babies without Mom. Time to call a rehabilitator.
  • People relocating the animal. Before relocating any animal on your own, first try to think, why is the animal here in the first place? Whether in your home, under your porch, in your garage or shed, relocating that animal that you captured just opens up more room for another to move in. The best idea to have the animal relocated, is to have it relocate itself. All animals want a quiet safe area to live in with a food source nearby. Call us directly, and we can give you more ideas, depending on species, to have the animal move itself and hopefully stop another one from taking its place.
  • Redoing your deck/porch. To avoid a new neighbor moving in, put down hardwire under the frame of the porch in an L formation. Have the hardwire dug straight into the ground flushed up to the frame of your porch going straight down approx 2 feet, and then extend the hardwire out away from your house a few more feet. Animals will try to burrow right up next to the porch and usually only try to go down a foot or two trying to work their way under. They won’t be able to, because the hardwire will be blocking them. They will not try to burrow under the house a few feet away (that’s the reason for the L shape of the hardwire leading away from the house).
  • Animals trapped in a window well. It’s very easy to remove the animal if it’s not injured by the fall. Slowly insert a pipe or large stick big enough for the animal to crawl up on its own. After the animal has left, you might want to consider placing a screen over the window well to prevent this from happening again.
  • Have a chimney cap installed after making sure there are no animals already in your chimney (an easy, cheap way to do this is to tape a piece of yesterday’s newspaper on top of the chimney, and check the paper 48 hours later. If the paper is intact, no animal is living in your chimney)
  • Doing repairs in the Fall. Block potential entry points into your house that critters can enter (basements & attics). If you know a critter is living in your house and you might know where the entry hole is but are not quite sure, if possible sprinkle flour on the area and look for paw prints the following day. Follow the floured paw prints. This might lead you to the exact point of entrance. Fix the hole when you know they are no longer in the house. If you suspect that there are babies still in the house after you blocked the hole, please call us so we can try to reunite the babies with their mother if the mother wasn’t relocated.
  • Cutting down that old tree. We strongly encourage anyone who wants to cut down trees to do so in the summer months, after the spring babies have left. Even though you might not see a nest, many are surprised that a family did live in that tree after it has been cut down in the spring. And we all really want wildlife to stay outside and not relocate into our own homes after their natural home has been destroyed. Mothers are going to look for the quickest new home they can find.
  • Birds flying into your windows (stunning or killing themselves).
    • Placing decals on the windows might stop the birds from bouncing off your windows
    • Closing the curtains might stop the glare that causes a mirror effect. The bird sees himself and thinks it’s an intruder he sees and tries to attack it.
    • Don’t put the bird feeder right up next to the window.
  • Bird feeders are great to attract birds, choose one that is marketed as squirrel resistant but bring it in at night to avoid some animals like raccoons, and even bears. And understand the feeder will likely feed more than just birds. Bird feeders first attract the rodents, the rodents attract the snakes and hawks, and then these animals attract the larger animals that prey on the smaller ones. To minimize this, sweep up the seeds that have fallen out of the feeders daily and bring in the feeders at night.
  • Walking the beach, if you find fishing line or fishing hooks, please pick them up and toss them into the nearest garbage bin. So many animals are injured and die this way. The fishing line that is wrapped around that bird’s leg will inhibit the animal and eventually result in a slow death.

Trash and Recycling:

  • Keep trash can lids securely fastened or in an enclosure that raccoons can’t get into. Once they know where there is a food source, they will keep coming back.
    • Some people have used ammonia-soaked rags left on top of their garbage cans to discourage critters. When the trash is empty, the ammonia soaked rags are also thrown out with the trash. Or try sprinkling hot pepper flakes or moth balls on top of the garbage and recycling bins.
  • Snip apart the plastic from 6 packs, crush cans flat and put lids back on items you can’t crush
  • Make sure your recycling is clean and secured. This will reduce the chances of a raccoon or another curious critter taking it out of your recycling bin.

Garden and Lawn care:

  • Look around the immediate area before using a lawnmower or weed whacker. Baby bunnies are very small, and their nest sites are usually just a few inches into the top layers of the ground.
  • Fence in gardens, humans aren’t the only ones who find fruits and veggies tasty! For the burrowing type of animals, you can also try using the hardwire L shape as described under {insert number here}. Most fences only need to be about 3-4 feet hide to keep most critters like the rabbit and woodchuck out. Fences should be tall enough to keep them out. Use close-knit fencing material, you don’t want to leave gaps that they can squeeze through. You can also plant extra, knowing that you are going to be sharing some with fuzzy neighbors.
  • When your fruit and/or vegetables are ready to be picked, pick them. Keep the rotten fruit and vegetables off the ground.
  • Try a life-like statue of an owl the moves a little with the breeze to keep certain animals away. Move the statue periodically so the animal does not become accustomed to it.
  • Don’t leave pet food outside, it will likely feed more than just your cat or dog. If you need to feed your cat/dog outside, bring the bowls inside right after they finish eating.
  • Keep your pets up-to-date on their vaccinations.
  • Supervise your pet while outdoors.
  • Keep your cats inside, at least during breeding season in your area. Hint, the first time your cat brings home that bunny or baby bird during the spring, it’s breeding season. Breeding seasons only last a few weeks. It won’t kill the cat to stay indoors for a couple of weeks, trust me. I have a cat and he doesn’t like it but lives through it. And most animals have two breeding seasons. One in the spring and one in the fall.

And most importantly, animals want the same things we do, a quiet, safe and comfortable place to raise their young. First think to yourself. Is it really that bad where the animal found its new home. Ask yourself, “Does it interfere with my life?” Most mammals do not keep the same den all year long. They have different homes throughout the area. Where they give birth is usually not the same place they are going to raise their family. When the babies are old enough to walk on their own, the mother usually relocates them to a different den site. Can you wait it out? So if that squirrel does make a nest in your chimney and gives birth to her young, can you wait it out till she moves her family to a different location? And she will move her family out. When she does, cap the chimney so no other family can be started. Obviously there are situations that the animal and you will be in conflict, and something will need to be done about it. Please call us so we might be able to resolve the issue humanly.