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Preventing Conflicts with Wildlife: What You Need to Know

April 11, 2012 by Jillian at Tails in News with 0 Comments
Raccoon

Photo credit: Terri Heisele

We know we’ve shared this with you before, but it’s important information and we want our TAILS fans and their pets to be safe.

Now that Spring is here, wild animals are active. This is a fantastic time of year for wildlife watching, but also a time to be vigilant to prevent conflicts with wild animals.

They’re hungry after a long, hard winter, so they may be raiding your trash can, compost pile, or garden–or eating the cat food you put out for the neighborhood strays. Some wildlife, such as coyotes, fishers, foxes, weasels, birds of prey, and even bears, may kill your livestock or small pets if they have the chance. You can prevent this by predator-proofing chicken coops and other outdoor enclosures for domestic animals (on the bottom, sides, and top to protect from predators who climb, dig, and fly). 

The trick to avoiding conflicts is to understand what wild animals need (food, water, and shelter–like all living beings) and then understand how you might be inadvertently inviting them to find those things on your property. Once you figure that out, you can change your environment to make it less attractive to wildlife (unless you want to invite them onto your property, which is ok, too–within reason–it is important that wild animals stay wild). Generally, this means covering compost piles, fencing gardens, putting trash out just before pick-up, cleaning up brush piles, and closing off the undersides of decks and sheds.

Spring is also the time that wild animals are finding mates and starting families–you may see them in your yard or home as they prepare a den. People often mistake young wild animals to be orphans in the spring and summer, when their parents have left them alone to protect them from predators (fawns, for example, are well camouflaged and have no scent, so they’re safer left alone than if their mother was nearby).

Please do not immediately intervene if you find wild babies – unless you know that their mother was hit by a car or killed by another animal. If you do know that the offspring have been abandoned, please contact a wildlife rehabilitator to care for them until they are old enough to be released to fend for themselves; see www.mspca.org/foundananimal for more information.

Because wild animals are moving around a lot in the spring, it’s extremely important to drive cautiously to avoid hitting them as they cross the road in search of a mate, a new home range, and/or food for their young.  Many animals, especially skunks, possums, raccoons, beaver, porcupines, deer, and moose, get hit by cars in the spring.  This is bad for them, of course, but also for their dependent young, and often for the people in the car.

 

For general information on wildlife conflicts, visit:

www.mspca.org/conflictprevention.  The MSPCA’s Intruder Excluder can help you to figure out which wild animals are turning your house into their home and what you can do to humanely encourage them to move elsewhere – visit www.mspca.org/intruderexcluder.

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