It is a good idea for home owners to encourage wildlife not to visit their home and property. Before securing entrance points, ensure that there are no animals trapped inside. If you have regular wildlife visitors, follow these steps:
- Use garbage cans with locking lids
- Fasten garbage lids with bungee cords
- Put garbage out on the morning of pick-up, not overnight
- Use motion-sensitive floodlights to scare away wildlife
- Keep pet doors locked at night
- Do not leave pet food outside overnight
- Keep BBQ grills clean and close the lid after use
- Do not feed wildlife
- Use non-toxic pesticides on your lawn to control grubs
- Inspect your roof to replace any worn or missing shingles, and your attic to fix any openings
- Put a screen on your chimney and vent openings
- Trim tree branches that overhang your roof
Deterrents to prevent destruction of lawns and gardens
Skunks and raccoons dig up lawns to find grubs, a favourite food. To prevent this, treat your lawn with a non-toxic pesticide will control the grub population. You can also spray a natural repellent of hot sauce and water (one tablespoon hot sauce in one gallon of water) on the area. Gardens are especially attractive to wildlife because they offer an accessible food source. Prior to attempting any deterrent or exclusion method, it is important to determine what type of animal is actually damaging the garden. Animals leave behind clues to their identity, and you can use them to figure out who is visiting your garden. For example deer leave ragged, torn twigs and leftover vegetation, and rabbits and groundhogs leave neatly clipped ends of twigs and vegetation.
Fencing and Netting
Fences restrict animals from gardens: sink the fence at least 6” into the ground. Hardwire mesh works best. This method would probably not work for racoons, who can get into anything. Also try plant covers, which can be purchased at garden centres, or you can make your own by cutting the bottom out of a plastic jug and placing it over the plant. For fruit trees, large nets can be purchased which cover the whole top of the tree to protect the fruit from birds and wild animals. To protect tree trunks, plastic or metal screens can be purchased and wrapped around the trunks to a height of about three feet.
Scare devices are most useful when dealing with rabbits, groundhogs, skunks and raccoons.These include motion-sensitive lights, sprinklers, tape, and acoustical alarms – even a homemade scarecrow will do the trick, as long as it moves occasionally in the wind or with a motor. Scare tape is reflective and makes noise in the wind. Cut the tape into strips and attach to places around the garden. Aluminium pie plates can also be used.
In Bad Taste
A taste repellent applied to the plants that the wild animals enjoy will prevent further eating. A diluted mixture of hot sauce and water (one tablespoon of hot sauce in one gallon of water) can be sprayed directly on the fruits/vegetables or around the garden.
Of course, animals are smart — any deterrent method you use may need to be changed occasionally as they adapt to noises and motion. Scare devices must be new and strange to be effective.