Tips to Prevent Wild Animal Encounters

skunk.gif People and wildlife can co-exist more easily if people are willing to take a few proactive and preventive measures. Simple adjustments around the home and garden can help prevent conflicts. The Humane Society of the United States offers these tips:

Waste Management:

Garbage “raiding” is the leading attraction for wildlife large and small. The best way to safely keep wildlife out of your yard is to better manage your trash. Store cans inside a shed or garage in between pick-ups and secure lids with bungee cords or use a twist-on lid. Place cans at the curb on the day of trash collection, not the night before.

Remove Pet Food: 

Don’t leave pet food outdoors. Feed your cats, dogs and other animals the amount of food they will eat and remove/store the rest. Pet food left outdoors can become a source of food for wild animals and create a potential for an unwanted encounter. Another tip is to close pet doors at night and not place pet food next to the pet door. Skunks will often enter a home through pet doors.

Remove Other Food Sources:

Make your yard unattractive to hungry raccoons, coyotes, bears and others by removing bird feeders during summer and keeping barbeque grills clean. Even non-food products such as candles, sunscreen and insect repellent may attract some animals, so keep those items indoors when not in use.

No Hiding: 

Remove potential hiding places, such as rock and wood piles, and seal off access to areas under decks and storage sheds. Be sure to cut off access to attics by sealing potential entry holes. Pay particular attention to screening on attic ventilation. The insect screens typically installed in these areas are easily penetrated by wild animals.

A Little Fear: 

Safely scare wildlife away with devices that move, make noise or spray water. Try hanging aluminum pans and foil, mylar party balloons, or plastic streamers.

Clear the Roof: 

Trim branches away from your house to limit access for climbing wildlife and be sure to keep the foundation of your home clear of debris. Check all limbs for bird and squirrel nests before trimming.

Lawn Patrol: 

Always walk over lawns before mowing to check for wildlife, especially turtles and nests of baby rabbits. Turtles may be gently moved, but baby rabbits should be left alone so that the mother can find her babies when she returns to find them.

Flue Season: 

An uncapped chimney is an open invitation to raccoons or squirrels looking for a snug place to raise their young. Install an appropriate chimney cap after inspecting the flue to make sure animals are not nesting there.

For More Information:

The Humane Society of the United States promotes non-lethal means for resolving conflicts between people and wildlife. For additional information and tips, visit their website at: The HSUS also has helpful information regarding answers for wildlife problems - click here

For help with wildlife removal contact the El Dorado County Agriculture Department. If you, or your domestic pet, are bitten by a wild animal, please contact Animal Services as soon as possible at (530) 621-5795. In an emergency, call 911.