There are some simple steps you can take to keep unwanted wildlife out of your home and yard. These animals depend on the resources they find around homes, and you can often solve the problem simply by limiting access to those resources. If you do this, the animals will leave your yard to seek food and shelter elsewhere.
Roof space and chimney
Block all openings with strong 1 cm wire mesh. Before closing exit routes, however, it is important to make sure there are no animals trapped inside, since they can cause extensive damage when attempting to escape. Prune trees located near buildings so that the closest branches are at least three metres away. This will help prevent animals from gaining access to your roof. Placing mesh around trees will not prevent animals from climbing, but it will prevent rabbits and hares from chewing the bark. Cover the chimney opening with 1 cm wire mesh, or install a specially designed flue cover. It is important to ensure that leaves will not accumulate on the mesh and block the chimney.
Buildings, sheds and balconies
Close all access points to the building (doors, windows) and block other openings with wire mesh (use 5 cm mesh for raccoons, marmots and skunks, and 1 cm mesh for squirrels). You can also use wire mesh to prevent animals from digging under buildings and balconies: bury part of the mesh (15 cm) in the ground, along the building wall, and bend the remainder (40 – 50 cm) outwards to form an "L" shape.
Use substantial metal or plastic garbage cans with secure lids. You may need strong elastic or rubber ties to keep the lids in place, and you may even have to secure the can itself with rope or another form of support, to prevent the animals from overturning it. Alternatively, you may keep your garbage cans in a container with a heavy or lockable hinged lid (padlock, etc.): wildlife can be very crafty! Change your habits. Most small mammals are nocturnal, so you should take out the garbage on the morning of collection day, instead of the previous evening. To reduce odours, wash garbage cans regularly and place naphthalene (mothballs) in the bottom.
Hang bird feeders on long, thin wires. You can also install inverted cones over hanging feeders or on the support poles of stand feeders. The cones should be mobile, to prevent wild animals from gaining a foothold. Feeders should be installed at least a metre and a half from the ground, and three metres from places from which squirrels could jump: tree branches, balcony railings, sheds, roofs, etc. “Anti-squirrel” feeders are also available from some stores.
Trees, bulbs and vegetable gardens
Install wire mesh (chicken wire) on the ground over your bulbs. Use mesh to make small baskets (roughly 10 cm tall) and place them upside-down over the bulbs before covering them with soil. This will prevent animals from digging the bubs up, from above or from the side. The mesh will not prevent the bulbs from sprouting; the shoots will simply grow through it. After planting bulbs, you can also spread mulch composed of irritating or sharp materials such as dry pine needles or spruce branches. This will dissuade squirrels from digging around the bulbs. Protect the lower portions of tree trunks by wrapping them in 50 cm wire mesh, burying the bottom 10 cm in the ground. Protect vegetable gardens with 100 cm mesh fencing: bury the bottom portion of the mesh (15 to 30 cm) in the ground, and fold 40 – 50 cm outwards to form an "L" shape.
As a last resort ...
It is better to prevent a wild animal from entering your home or any other place where you do not want it, rather than killing or trapping it. When you have done everything you can, however, and the animal is still damaging your property, it is possible to eliminate it or remove it using a quick kill trap. If you choose this route, you should not place a quick kill trap near a bird feeder, since you may accidentally birds. In addition, you should not use a quick kill trap if you live in a populated area, since you are likely to trap pets such as cats or small dogs. If you are considering killing or trapping a wild animal, we strongly suggest that you consult a specialist firm or your regional trappers’ association. In addition, regardless of the method you choose, such practices are strictly regulated and you must ensure that you comply with the applicable legislation and by-laws:
- Act respecting the conservation and development of wildlife
- Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994
- Pest Control Products Act
- Pesticides Act
- Environment Quality Act
- Municipal by-laws
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