Tips for living with wildlife

 

1. Don’t let pets “play” with wildlife. Even though your dogs and cats might play nicely with each other, the same can’t be promised for their interactions with wildlife. Make sure you supervise your pets when they’re outside, cats and dogs have an uncanny ability to sniff out baby rabbits and other small critters.

2. Only use nontoxic substances in the yard. Chemical pesticides used in landscaping can be incredibly harmful to wildlife (and pets). If you are concerned about deer or other wildlife eating your shrubs use nontoxic sprays. Also consider planting flowers and shrubs that are unpalatable to deer, like lavender and many native plant species. This can keep deer from nibbling while keeping your yard animal-friendly.

3. Pick up litter; secure garbage. Wild animals are curious critters and will attempt to eat all the things you might consider trash. Six-pack casing is particularly harmful to animals that can get stuck in the plastic rings. Open or unsecured garbage cans are an open dinner invitation to bears, raccoons, and coyotes. Not only will these creatures make a mess of your trash, but they will become habituated to the easy meal that will most likely lead to their demise.

4. Teach children how to interact with wildlife. To a small child, anything fuzzy that remotely resembles a toy is fair game. Be mindful of your children when they are outdoors and teach them not to disturb birds’ nests, try to catch rabbit babies, or pet a fawn. If these baby animals smell like humans they can be abandoned by their mothers and starve.

5. Get chimney caps. Raccoons, birds, rats, and squirrels love to make nests in chimneys. A chimney cap is a simple solution to this problem and can help keep other debris out of your chimney in the process while also ensuring hot embers don’t escape the chimney.

6. DON’T clean your window. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but if you have large glass panels in your house they can be a potential hazard to birds. If you keep your windows impeccably clean birds will think they can fly straight through and glass strikes can be fatal. Try hanging streamers in front of glass doors, or putting stickers of some sort on the glass. 

7. Plant a wildlife garden. Creating a garden that attracts and helps protect wildlife is a wonderful way to live in harmony with the critter neighbors. Planting certain plants can attract butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and other native bird species.

9. Make wildlife hideouts. One of the largest problems faced by wildlife is habitat loss, so making little nests and hideaways for small animals in your yard can provide important protection for wildlife. For instance, leaving a brush pile in a remote area of your property will provide cover for quail and rabbits. Get the kids involved by making birdhouses and bat houses.

10. Drive carefully. The importance of alert driving in and around Three Rivers cannot be overstated. Not only is this beneficial to animals that scamper into the road, but for the driver and passengers in the vehicle. A deer or other large animal can do as much damage to you or your car as you can do to it, so watch out. If you see deer or wild turkeys wandering toward the road, slow down and honk your horn to scare them away from the road. Raccoons, skunks, opossums, and bears like to make an appearance at night so be on the look out all day and all night.

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