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Humane Wildlife Deterrents

Photo by Ashley Kinney

What do I do with squirrels in the attic or roof?
Squirrels prefer natural habitat for nest building. However, on occasion they will utilize man-made structures to raise their young. To eliminate this possibility, close off any entrances to the foundation of your house or attic. However, do not do this if there might be babies inside, as they will be trapped. Cut tree limbs that provide access to your roof. Install a spark arrester on your chimney or cap it with heavy wire mesh. Again, be sure there are no babies in the chimney.

What can I do to discourage animals from my yard?
Make sure that there is no food source for the animals. Don’t leave pet food outside, secure all garbage can lids, and pick up any fruit on the ground from trees in your yard. Keep the doors closed to your house, garage, or shed at all times to prevent animals from settling. Board up any holes in fences, under decks, and under houses as well.

Axle grease or sheet metal can be used on or around tree trunks to prevent climbing. Sprinkling perfumed soap chips or cayenne pepper will prevent them from digging.

To discourage squirrels, you can also purchase a plastic hawk or owl from a hardware store to scare them away. Place the look-alike in a tree and make sure to move it about once a week, or the animals will catch on.

If you have a pond, submerge wire mesh around the perimeter of the water, attach it to the edge. This way the fish will be safe from raccoons, which tend not to walk on wire.

Skunks dig for insects, grubs and termites. They leave small cone-shaped holes. Install floodlights and keep them on at night if you find evidence of skunks digging in your lawn or garden. They do not like bright lights and should go elsewhere. Check with your garden supply store for the best product to use to get rid of your particular insect problem. Then the skunk will have no reason to dig. Skunks will also eat fruit, so pick up fallen fruit so they are not attracted to that area of your yard.

What do I do with a raccoon or opossum under my house or deck?
During the day, place ammonia-soaked rags in a can every 3-5 feet around the perimeter and both sides of the entrance to the suspected problem area. You can also use a Hot Pepper Wildlife Deterrent. Within 2-3 weeks the animals should have moved elsewhere.

You can also try spreading human hair in the area, or keeping a talk radio station on while you are away. The smell and sound of humans often keeps them from settling. Turn on lights during the night to keep animals away. Keep in mind that animals will not vacate until nightfall.

Wait until you are sure there are no babies inside to board up any openings.

Hot Pepper Recipe for use as Wildlife Deterrent

This recipe works well for mammals such as raccoons,  because of the Capsaicin in the peppers. Spray around entry holes and problem digging areas.

1 Yellow Onion-chopped

1 Jalapeno Pepper- chopped

2 tablespoons Cayenne Pepper

Combine above ingredients with about 2 quarts of water. Boil for 20 minutes. Strain. Once liquid has cooled pour into spray bottle. Apply to “problem” areas, and reapply as needed.

Resources for Humane Eviction and Exclusion

WildCare Wildlife Solutions Services specializes in humane eviction and exclusion. Call (415)453-1000 ext. 23 for more information.

Wildlife Emergency Services specializes in humane eviction, exclusion, and wildlife rescues. Call 1-855-548-6263 for more information.

Wild Neighbors- The Humane Approach to Living with Wildlife by John Hadidian is a fantastic book published by The Humane Society of the United States and is full of helpful information on living and dealing humanely with wildlife.

Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley
3027 Penitencia Creek Road
San Jose, CA 95132
1-408-929-9453 (929-WILD)

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