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Wildlife That May Become a Problem for Homes and Buildings

Wild animals need shelter and food too. Occasionally a skunk, raccoon, tree squirrel, or another wild animal will find suitable refuge inside or beneath a house or other structure. They can also be attracted to pet food or birdseed within your premises. The animal may occupy this area sporadically, using it for just two or three days consecutively usually until their available food source have been exhausted. However, some animals may choose to stay overwinter if the surroundings are favorable for them. When it is the nesting and mating season, the females are attracted to dry, easily defended and warm areas.

When this happens, it won't be safe for the occupants of the home. These animals can damage the electrical wiring or destroy insulation. They can carry diseases such as rabies, or fleas and ticks into the property they occupy. Never approach the animal. Keep your kids and pets away. The term given to the process of handling the situation is known as nuisance wildlife management. It is the selective removal of problem populations of specific wildlife species. Most wildlife species coexist successfully with humans. You should contact your animal control officer should wildlife occupy your territory. This is a step by step guide on how this issue can be resolved.

Wildlife Damage Control

The principal objective of any wildlife nuisance control initiative isn't just to reduce damage but to do it in a humane, practical and environmentally acceptable way. Wildlife managers and control operators use control methods that are based on the biology and habits of the wildlife causing damage. Using methods matched to nuisance species will mean that your control efforts will be highly useful and serve to maximize the safety of the humans and other animals in your environment.

One way to successfully control wildlife damage is quick and accurate determination of the animal causing damage. Even a homeowner without training or experience will occasionally identify the nuisance by examining the damaged area thoroughly. Because feeding indications of most wildlife species are similar, signs such as droppings, nests, tracks, burrows, or food caches are usually required to make a proper identification of the species causing the damage.

After the wildlife causing damage is identified, control techniques can be chosen appropriately according to the species involved. The wrong control methods can harm the animal. For example, use of traps and poisonous baits in the wrong situation can teach the wildlife that the method of control is harmful. This will make controlling the animal more difficult even after using the correct method.

What Should You Do?

There are four steps that can result in a successful nuisance wildlife management program. They include:

  • Correctly identifying the species that are causing the problem.
  • Modifying the habitat by making the space less attractive to the nuisance animal.
  • Use a control technique that is relevant to the location, environmental conditions and the time of year.
  • Monitor the environment for re-infestation to determine if additional wildlife control is required.

Five Control Methods for Wildlife Nuisance

Use of Repellents

Using a repellent that can alter the behavior of the nuisance animal may result in the reduction or permanent removal of damage. There are many repellents available for such purposes including odor repellents, or objectionable-tasting coatings. These types of repellents can deter nuisance wildlife from your property. Other repellents like placing sticky, tacky substances on or close to windows, trees or buildings can deter some birds and smaller mammals. This method isn't 100% effective because most wildlife eventually discover that repellents aren't harmful, and they may become accustomed to the taste and smell of these deterrents.

Habitat Modification Method

Modifying the animal's habitat arguably provides a lasting and cost-effective solution to the problem of nuisance wildlife. This practice is highly efficient because it restricts the animal's access to the requirements for life including food, water or shelter (at least on the three mentioned here). However, habitat modification may limit nuisance wildlife, it can restrict desirable animal species like songbirds.

Use of Frightening Devices

Frightening devices like whistles, bells, horns, clappers, audio tapes, sonic emitters and other sound devices can be successful tools to control wildlife within your premises in the short term. Other objects like effigies, lights, windmills, and reflectors depend on visual stimulation to manage the problem animal. Often nuisance animals can become accustomed to such tactics. Some may return later when exposed to these devices every day. This is only a half measure or temporary solution.

Exclusion Method

Physically excluding the offending animal from the damaged area is usually a highly reliable way to permanently control the problem. Depending on the size of the affected area, this method of control can vary from inexpensive to very costly. You can exclude large mammals using poly-tape fences, woven wire fences, and electric fences (although many communities are against the use of electric fences within their jurisdiction). Small mammals and birds can be excluded using netting, tarp, and hardware cloth. Nets are made in different sizes suitable for different wildlife.

Live Trapping

Using traps is a very effective method for reducing the population numbers of specific wildlife species on your premises. However, most species can't be trapped without a legal permit. In many cases, homeowners can trap an offending wildlife residing 100 yards on their property. Traditional live traps like box or cage traps can be purchased quickly at most hardware stores or garden centers. These traps will allow for the safe release of any trapped animal. This is one of the permanent solutions to wildlife nuisance. Check with your local authorities before you attempt to trap wildlife. 

Alliance Pest Services offers various live animal trapping removal services, as well as damage repair and wildlife prevention services.  

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