Removing Unwanted Wildlife Guests
Living with urban wildlife
If an unwanted animal has made a home in, under, or around your house, the best thing to do is to wait until it has moved off on its own. Then you can take measures to keep it from coming back.
During the spring and summer, wild animals are often around only long enough to raise their babies, then the whole family moves away. If they are doing no harm, a little patience on your part will greatly reduce the stress of all involved. If you need to encourage an animal to move on, and you are sure there are no baby animals present, use these non-lethal techniques to get the adults to move out, then seal whatever openings they were using.
Wild animals are very sensitive to odors, loud noises, and bright lights. By placing a flashing light, a radio tuned into a rock music station, rags soaked in ammonia, or mothballs near the den site, you can often get the animal to vacate the area. For nocturnal animals such as bats, raccoons, or opossums, use these techniques during the night when the animals are out foraging for food. For diurnal animals, such as squirrels, use these techniques during the day. If an animal is living in your chimney, do not attempt to smoke it out. It is essential that you know for sure that the animals have left before you seal off any openings, otherwise, they may starve to death and you may end up with an odor problem.
To determine that the animals have left, try the following:
- Close off all but one opening, then sprinkle flour on the ground at the open entrance. Check frequently for tracks leading out.
- Listen for the sounds of animals moving around to determine if they have left or not.
- Cover the opening with light plastic that an animal can break through.
- Construct a one-way door over the opening that allows the animal to leave, but prevents it from returning to the vacated space. If a bird or a bat flies into your house and becomes trapped in a room, the best way to get it to leave is to open a single door or window, and cover all other windows in the room. Turn off the lights and leave the room for a while. The animal should exit through the opening. Chasing it around and trying to catch it will only stress the animal.
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