“Winter Wildlife Proofing” is the new Spring Cleaning
Everybody’s heard of “Spring Cleaning”. Well, it’s time to create a new trend, “Winter Wildlife Proofing” (though ideally it should start before the first snow). When the leaves begin to change and the days begin to shorten, local wildlife are just starting to look for warm spaces to spend the remainder of the winter months, and create nesting sites for spring babies.
Breeding season starts in late January for some wildlife so now is the time to seal up your home, to prevent unwanted furry residents:
- Check and repair attic vents
- Repair holes in siding
- Trim overhanging tree branches
- Close up space under decks
- Check for signs of digging under sheds and other outbuildings, seal access points
- Check and screen chimney stacks
- Use animal-proof containers for storing food in garages/sheds
- Don’t feed pets outside or leave food bowls outside
- Check that RV and boat covers are secure, and inspect periodically for wildlife
As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. By preventing wildlife from setting up camp too close to humans and becoming a nuisance, you are creating the best possible situation for both wild animals and humans.
Greenwood gets the call all too often, “there’s a family of raccoons (or some other wild animal) living under my deck, what can I do?”. Even when the animals do find a way in, there are many ways of humanely dealing with them before making the decision to trap and/or relocate.
We don’t choose our neighbors but humans are fortunate enough to be adaptable, even in situations that appear inconvenient. If at all possible, let the mother and babies stay. Leaving the animals alone creates the best chance of survival for wildlife. Relocating can orphan young and put the parent at great risk in an environment that is not familiar, surrounded by new animals that are potentially hostile and territorial. There’s also something incredibly fulfilling about watching a wild family grow and develop in a natural way.
If it is determined that the animals cannot stay, the next best option is to attempt a humane eviction. Turn the nesting area into an environment that is uncomfortable and undesirable for raising babies. Try playing talk radio loudly next to the nest nonstop, day and night. Talk radio doesn’t hurt the animal but it may annoy her into leaving, especially after 48 to 72 hours of it. You could also try using bright or flashing lights or placing ammonia soaked rags around the area. The goal is to encourage the animal to relocate her babies without any direct human contact.
If you have explored these options and still have concerns about the wildlife or you want additional information, please call Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at (303) 823-8455.
Making “Winter Wildlife Proofing” part of your household’s winter routine will create a happier habitat for both you and your local animals.