In an ideal world, the local wildlife would stay well away from your home and garden. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to maintain good boundaries with the birds and animals living in the neighbourhood. Part of this is because man has a tendency to build homes on land where the indigenous wildlife is currently in residence, but the other reason is because we sometimes inadvertently encourage wildlife to move in, often without even realising it. So how can we prevent wild animals from becoming a problem?
Don’t Feed the Natives
Feeding the local wildlife is only ever going to encourage it to keeping coming back for more handouts. That’s fine if you want your garden to resemble something out of a Disney movie, but if the natives are becoming a nuisance, it is a far better idea to cut off the food supply and give them a reason to move on somewhere else.
Restricted Dining Facilities
Deliberate feeding is always a bad idea, but remember that you may be feeding the locals without being aware of it. Some creatures are more than capable of helping themselves to food and sustenance. Raccoons are a dab hand at raiding your trashcans and rodents are quite happy to raid the kitchen cupboards without permission. Leaving food lying around is fatal. Rats, mice and other creatures will treat unsecured food as a free-for-all buffet. And once they know they can eat for free, they will keep coming back indefinitely.
Block Up Entry Points
It is often difficult to prevent wildlife from running amok in your yard, but if you don’t want the animal population moving inside your home, it is a good idea to block up the entry points. Mice and rats can squeeze through the smallest of holes, especially mice, so check for access points in rotten timber, loose shingles and other nooks and crannies where a determined invader might find an easy way in.
Make Life Difficult for the Invading Army
Never make it easy for the local wildlife. If they come for the food, make it as hard as possible for them to access the food. For example, if you have a problem with squirrels or rabbits demolishing your vegetable patch, build an enclosure and cover the entire area with tough netting. It might look unattractive, but at least you can actually enjoy your veggies instead of wading through the pitiful remains the morning after the raiders razed it to the ground.
As tempting as it might be to sit in the bedroom window with a .22 rifle, killing the critters is not the answer. Many species are protected and if you start a campaign of annihilation you could end up in serious bother. Setting humane traps is a much better option, although in the case of rats and mice, catching and releasing rodents elsewhere is not likely to endear you to other people.
There are lots of DIY solutions for pest control, but prevention is always better than cure. Always make sure you are not encouraging wildlife to inhabit your garden—unless you have aspirations to make a wildlife film.
The author of this article is Brian Harris. Brian is an employee at Innovative Care of the Environment Inc., a reputed firm providing wildlife control services in Toronto. Brian takes keen interest in theatre and enjoys watching plays with his friends.