Oh, those cute little critters we all love to see in the backyard. In our eyes, they are frolicking little bundles of fur that we wish would instantly love their host humans and come right up and eat out of our hands. The reality is these furry creatures, no matter how cute they are, can be a dangerous addition to a home whether you invite them on purpose or accidentally. Animals such as squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, and skunks are just a few of the frequent wildlife visitors to the typical backyard. Sometimes they are just passing through, but there are plenty of things that people do to encourage these wild animals to set up camp and stay for a while.
Wild animals are on the move and looking for a few base necessities such as food, water, and shelter, something that many of us are providing without even trying. In a typical yard right now, you can probably find a bird feeder filled to the brim with seed or trash cans right outside the back door for easy access for the family that lives there. Perhaps there is a shed or opening under the porch just begging for a furry resident to live in, or at least under. How about a nice birdbath for a cool drink? If you are a squirrel or raccoon this probably sounds like home.
Though it isn’t foolproof, there are ways to discourage these wild animals from making themselves at home on your property. For starters, spend some time making sure that any birdseed is in a closed container before you store it away. Bringing in the feeders at night might deter the nocturnal but determined raccoon from getting into it. Also, make sure any pet food is brought in for the night. It is best to store trash in tightly sealed cans away from buildings to discourage wildlife from getting any ideas about what’s inside. Any open containers of rainwater should also be disposed of to encourage these animals to find their drinks elsewhere.
There are also ways that homeowners can prevent wild animals from getting inside a home. Making sure the screens are intact and keeping the screen door shut is a good start. Next, clear out any clutter in the sheds or around the home that these pests might be using as a hiding spot. Take a look at bushes or trees that could be allowing access to the roof for sure-footed company. Check around sheds, garages, and porches for any openings that might allow access to get an animal out of the weather. Finally, on the roof, a lot of people forget that the chimney should have a cap as should the vents leading into the home. It is typical for squirrels and raccoons to try to find their way in that way.
These tips will help keep your home and family safe from the potential harm of having wildlife over staying their welcome, but it is not foolproof. Sometimes, they are lured to us anyway.
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