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Living with Wildlife: Interactions

Living with Wildlife
Introduction & Species | Interacting with Wildlife | Common Questions

Harassing Wildlife

At any time, non-lethal harassment or hazing techniques may be implemented to frighten or discourage animals from using your property. Harassment can occur at any time without a permit so long is the animal is not injured, touched, or handled by a person or their pets and all local ordinances are being followed. Harassment can be audial (i.e. firecrackers, pyrotechnics, air horns), visual (i.e. handheld lasers, scarecrows, remote controlled devices), or physical (i.e. motion activated sprayer, sprinklers, or garden hoses).

In the event of encountering wildlife where you feel unsafe, keep the following suggestions in mind:

  • Bring pets and small children near you. If possible, hold them in your arms.
  • Do not approach an animal or corner it and give it a way to escape.
  • Do not run from the animal. Stand and face the animal, making eye contact.
  • Make yourself appear large. Raise your arms, stand tall and wide, and using clothing to appear larger.
  • In a loud, firm voice, yell and make noise and shout at the animal. You can also stop your feet, shake a can of coins, or use other items to make noise.
  • Throw small items like small stones or sticks at the animal. Do not throw food.
  • If necessary, fight back and defend yourself.

Tips for Positive Interactions

  • Do not feed wildlife. Remove both food and water sources. Feeding wildlife can potentially habituate animals, disrupt their natural biology, spread disease, facilitate conflict with other wildlife, and can lead to poor diets.
  • Feed pets indoors whenever possible. If fed outdoors, pick up leftover pet food. Do not let spilled food accumulate on the ground.
  • Keep birdfeeders out of reach of wildlife or bring them inside at night. Do not let spilled food accumulate on the ground.
  • Prevent access to chimneys with an approved over the top of the chimney. Repair soffits to prevent access to attics. Keep dampers closed when not in use, but consult a knowledgeable source to prevent a fire hazard.
  • Prune tree limbs away from the roof (10 feet away is best) or install a 3-foot wide band of sheet metal (6 feet above the ground), around the trunks of trees which overhang your house (take care not to girdle the tree). This will reduce access to your roof by raccoons and squirrels.
  • Garbage cans should be kept indoors when possible. Garbage can lids should be locked or tight-fitting to prevent access. Care should be taken to make sure cans are not easily tipped over.
  • Install metal skirting (i.e. strong hardware cloth) around the bottom of a deck to prevent a wild animal from making a den underneath.
  • Provide shelter structures for fish in ornamental ponds and water gardens to provide protective cover. Consider covering the pond during the night with metal screening.
  • Cover window wells with grates or hardware cloth.
  • Seal up holes around and under home foundations to help keep out rodents, insects, and snakes. You can bury ¼ inch mesh hardware cloth 1-2 feet deep in places where animals might gain access to your crawl space through digging.
  • Fence gardens and cover fruit trees and berry bushes with netting, or use an approved non-toxic repellent spray.
  • Repair broken, weak, or rotted areas on the roof, soffit, and fascia of your house.
  • Mark large windows with strips of white tape or raptor (hawk) silhouettes to avert birds from flying into the window. Avoid placing feeders close to windows.
  • Cover compost piles when not in use.
  • Pick up fallen fruit to avoid attracting wildlife.
  • Keep grills and grease traps covered and clean to prevent attracting wildlife.
  • Keep all pets supervised at all times when outdoors and on leashes when being walked. Pets weighing approximately15 pounds or less are more susceptible to predation.
  • Keep domesticated birds in covered enclosures that are routinely maintained.
  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not handle or remove wildlife without proper licenses or permits.

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