While many homeowners are delighted to have birds, butterflies, squirrels, raccoons and deer living on or near their property, delight can turn to concern if a raccoon moves in under the porch or a woodpecker starts to drum on the house. Wildlife can damage property, feast on gardens or confront pets. Pets can also harm wildlife. The following strategies and advice to help you live peacefully with wildlife near your home.
Wild animals have basic needs for food, water and shelter. Take a look at your yard from an animal's point of view. You can modify the guest list by adjusting the basic habitat needs your yard fulfills. You also may be able to relocate wildlife to a different part of your yard by providing for their needs in an area where they won't cause problems.
Is there really a problem?
Is the situation serious and is it going to reoccur? Is this the right time to deal with it, or are there nests or baby animals involved?
Assess the problem carefully
Don't overestimate or underestimate the problem. For example, woodpeckers often drum simply to establish their territory, and will stop short of creating a hole in your house. Damage from insects, on the other hand, can go unnoticed for years.
Identify the right animal, bird or insect that is involved
If you see gnawed wood, you might assume a squirrel was at fault when the damage was actually caused by a rat. This is important because methods for dealing with rats and squirrels differ.
Explore the options
Is immediate action is warranted? Many devices are available to exclude, repel or scare wildlife away from your property. Get as much information as you can about the animal's life cycle and about solutions for your problem.
Adjusting expectations may be the most practical route to take. For example, it may be difficult to maintain a perfect lawn next to a forest that shades the grass or provides home to burrowing animals. Consider naturescaping a portion of your yard.
Find a non-lethal solution to the problem
Live trapping and relocation seems harmless but often results in the death of the animal as it cannot survive in a new territory already occupied by competing wildlife. It also is usually ineffective because other animals will quickly replace the animal that is removed. It is important to remember that many native animals are protected by state and federal law and cannot be relocated without a permit.