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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Living in Harmony with Wildlife
Written by Jayne Winters   
Sunday, 20 April 2008

As urban sprawl increases, humans will continue to invade thousands of acres of natural terrain, often destroying wildlife homes in the process. Here are some simple tips for living in harmony with some of our wild friends:

Chipmunks & Squirrels
• In their search for nuts and berries,
chipmunks or squirrels may unintentionally
damage ornamental plants. If you want to
protect flower bulbs, cover the dirt above
them with coarse-gauge wire screen. This
provides room for the plants to grow, but
prevents damage from digging rodents. In
addition, planting non-edible blowers -
like daffodils - is always an option.

Mice & Rats
• Deter rodents from places that can’t be
mouse- or rat-proofed (i.e., car engines)
with a mixture of salad oil, horseradish,
garlic and cayenne pepper. After letting the
mixture sit four days, strain it into a spray
bottle and apply to the desired area.
• Moth balls and peppermint oil-soaked
cotton balls, when tucked around the
engine, can prevent rodents from munching
on electrical wires.

Pigeons
• Screens or netting can be used in attics,
vents, and rafters to discourage birds from
flying up into nooks and crannies. Wire
coils or spikes on gutters, pipes, railings,
or building edges prevent birds from
perching there and sheet metal or boards
set at an angle against flat surfaces will
create a slope that pigeons can’t grasp.

Raccoons & Skunks
• Skunks, along with raccoons, squirrels,
moles and some birds, dig lawns and
gardens in search of insect grubs.
Eliminating the food source is the easiest
way to resolve this problem. Commercial
formulations of milky spore, the grub’s
natural enemy, are available and can be
applied to affected soil.
• Avoid chemical pesticides and fertilizers
since they can also harm beneficial
organisms.

REMEMBER THESE GENERAL TIPS:
• Poisons, sticky glue traps, and snap traps
cause birds, rodents, and other animals intense
suffering and agonizing deaths. Poison is
deadly to non-target animals, like protected
species, pets, and predators that may eat the
poisoned victim. Sticky material meant to
make birds feel uncomfortable when landing
on surfaces can trap smaller animals that
touch it, causing them to break bones as they
struggle, starve to death, or be picked apart
by predators.
• If you use live traps, be sure to check them
several times a day. Animals caught will be
hungry, thirsty, and frightened and may die
if left in the trap too long.
• An individual squirrel or other visitor inside
your home? Don’t panic: once you clear
an escape route for it by opening a door or
window, he’ll usually leave on his own. Shut
off any lights so the natural light from the
open door or window will lead it back outside.
• If you discover a family of squirrels, raccoons,
etc. nesting in or around your home, it is
important not to separate the young from
their parents. No animals should be removed
until breeding season has ended. Not only is
it inhumane to let the babies starve to death,
but the mother will frantically try to reach her
young and may damage; your property in the
process. Once you’re certain the babies have
left the nest, you can use a portable radio and/
or a mechanic’s light to evict the animals.
• Never use smoke or fire to drive animals out
of chimneys. This will almost certainly kill
young animals whether raccoons, squirrels,
opossums or birds who are not physically able
to leave on their own.
• Install a chimney cap and repair/seal attic
or other openings.

 
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