Wildlife Proofing






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Wildlife Proofing


General Advice



One thing we all agree on is that wild animals donít belong in anyoneís home. The problem is exacerbated as their habitat is increasingly being lost so their wild space is diminishing. More and more we find that they arrive Ďhomeí only to find that they have no home anymore and some bulldozer has moved in to make way for a parking lot, shopping mall, or another subdivision.  Imagine what youíd feel like if you got home and your home was gone.  Where would you go and what would you do?  This is the dilemma faced by wild animals and humans as a result. 


Another factor that may be at work is mother nature herself.  If mast crops that many animals survive on are diminished in any particular year, e.g. reduced wild berry crops due to unusual drought conditions, wildlife will move into human habituated areas in search of food.  In that sense, they are no different from humans who are motivated by the need to eat to survive, and by the need to have a place for shelter.  There are still things we can do to reduce these instances.


Itís been said that your home is your castle.  Thatís true, whether you own or rent the space.  Wildlife proofing is the responsibility of the homeowner.  Tenants can use their city or town planning departments to have them investigate unsafe conditions in structures that may be allowing wildlife to access the building and landlords will usually be willing to make the necessary repairs if they are approached properly.  Damage done by wildlife, can depreciate the value of a building and a building owner will want to protect their investment.  There can also be health and safety considerations involved, depending on the species that has taken up residence in your home.


There are a number of ways that wildlife can be humanely evicted and once this happens, and all access points have been secured and damage repaired, the problem and conflicts will be over. 

We have to stress that should the methods we suggest here do not successfully encourage the wildlife to humanely move out on their own, we recommend that you get help from a professional and reputable wildlife removal company.


Donít make the mistake of assuming that just because they have a listing in the yellow pages of your telephone book, they are reputable or professional.  Thatís not the case.  The profession is not regulated and a large percentage of removal companies or individuals listed, do not operate humanely.  Authorized wildlife custodians see large numbers of wildlife orphaned by irresponsible removal companies and individuals. 

It is a given that there will always be wildlife sharing our environment, whether we live in the city, or in a rural area.  We will continue to experience conflicts unless we proactively and humanely take steps to keep them out in the wild where they belong and not in our homes. Nature will take care of the rest. 

This section contains general and common sense information about how to humanely discourage wildlife in your yard and home.


For species specific tips just click on any of the links at the top or bottom of the page.


Install Prevention Devices on Sheds, Decks, and Outbuildings


Wild animals who constantly dig under these types of structures can be dissuaded from access by digging a 30 cm deep by 30 cm wide (12 inch x 12 inch) trench around them and installing a prevention device.  Purchase enough hardware cloth to go around the diameter of the structure. 


You will need hardware cloth no smaller than 3x3 cm (1/2 inch mesh). It should measure 60 cm  (24 inches) in width.  You will need to bend this in half to form an 'L' shape. 


Fasten the upper end of the 'L' to the lowest part of the structure so that the bottom of the 'L' is laying in the trench and faces away from it.  Reinforce any corners you have.


Once you have done this, backfill this area with dirt.  If you only pile rocks, boulders or stones or other things against the device, the animals will dig right past it.

Wildlife Proofing Your Home


Top of Home


Chimneys and roof vents

  • Invest in a chimney cap.  Installed properly, it will stop wildlife from entering.

  • While you are up there, check the flashing around the chimney, make sure it is secure and canít be lifted up.

  • Roof vents need to be screened to prevent access and flashing around them should also be secure.

Eaves troughs

  • Keep them cleaned out.  All that debris makes a lovely nest for some birds!


  • Check your shingles and make sure they are in good shape.



  • Check all soffits and replace whatever is loose or rotting Ė both are an easy access point for a wild animal.




  • That yummy grease dripping from those good old ribs and whatever else youíve been cooking that lands on your patio is a favourite food for most wild animals who are wanting to get a good deal of fat stored on them for the winter.

  • Keep it clean and keep the lid on it when not in use. 

  • Use an empty can for a drip catcher and remove it when you're not using the barbecue.

Bird Feeders

  • While it may be really nice to watch the birds in your backyard coming to the feeders, you should accept as a given, that feeding wild birds is going to attract more than just wild birds.  So don't be annoyed when those other animals show up!

  • It can attract anything from bears to raccoons and other birds who predate on the songbirds that hang out at your feeders.  Just remember, you've invited them all to this smorgasbord in your backyard!

  • Itís best to let the wild animals find their own natural sources of food away from built up areas. 

Decks, Spas, Hot Tubs and Pools

  • If you have space under a deck, spa, a hot tub or a pool, a wild animal will eventually take advantage of that and move in. Close in all open areas and if they have an access door, ensure itís in good shape and closed at all times. 

  • Pools should be covered when not in use.  Itís not only a wild animal that can fall in. 

  • Both ducks and muskrats think that swimming pools in backyards make nice Ďpondsí for their use. 


  • Check siding, and look for any areas of damage or rot, or weakened bricks or mortar.  Repair them if you find any.

  • Any vents (e.g. clothes dryer, stove top, heat, air-conditioning) should be secure and screened.

  • Mice, for example, can enter through the tiniest of holes in buildings and once you have two mice, in short order you can end up with hundreds of them.

Windows, Doors

  • Any weak spots in the framework or missing screens or glass.  If you have window boxes, screen them in to prevent animals from digging them up. 

  • Window wells should be covered up to prevent an animal from falling in.

  • Leaving your garage door open is an invitation to a homeless animal.  Close it and keep it closed.

Outside lights, decorative fixtures, mailboxes

  • Look around and think like a bird.  Does the shape of that light fixture or mailbox, or flowerpot hanging there lend itself to building a nest in it? If so, modify it or make it less inviting.


  • Whether they go up or down, they can be used as an easy access point by an animal.  If possible, close them in, especially lower stairs at ground level. 


  • Keep your yard clean and free of debris. 

  • If possible, donít make woodpiles outside and if you must, donít place them against a structure such as the house.  Covered and away from the home are the best if they canít be kept in an enclosed area.   

Trees & Lawns

  • Anything that overhangs or touches your roof or is within three feet from it, will be an easy access for a wild animal. 

  • Trim all branches that overhang the home directly. 

  • Old television towers attached to homes are also good wildlife Ďladdersí Ė have them removed if at all possible. 

  • Grubs in lawns are a constant source of raccoons or skunks digging up lawns.  The good news is that eventually they will eat all the larvae and you wonít have a grub problem and your grass will grow back with a bit of reseeding on your part.  

  • If youíd like to keep your lawn, look for pesticide free, non harmful ways to control grub larvae on lawns.

  • Fruit trees and wildlife go together.  If you enjoy planting and growing fruit trees and vines (e.g. grapes) then you will have to accept to some degree that youíll be sharing some of that bounty with the wild animals in your area. 

  • You can attempt to cover these with netting sold for that purpose but keep in mind that the same netting that you use to deter mammals, will entangle and possibly kill songbirds who also come in to share some of that crop. 

  • Might be best to just sit back and enjoy the wildlife and share the harvest with them.

  • Any fruit that isnít picked and is ground fall, should be removed.  If left there it will attract even more wildlife.


  • It canít be said enough times that garbage should be contained in secure containers at all times. 

  • If you donít have containers, try to use an enclosed area for trash bags. 

  • Taking your trash out only on the morning of pick up is also helpful. 


Other Tips



  • Pigeons love apartment balconies.  If you canít get them to stop roosting there, try to use wire mesh, plastic netting or pull down blinds so they canít land there.  They are persistent, so you need to be persistent. 

  • As soon as you see nesting material accumulating, remove it. 

  • Depending on the structure and how easy it might be for a wild animal to climb the side of a building, you should aim to keep your balcony free of junk, garbage and any debris. 

  • Donít leave food out on balconies for your pets. Wild animals have no way of knowing that food is supposed to be for your pet, they think it's for them too.


  • Teach them what wildlife safety is. 

  • Teach them never to approach a wild animal, and if they see one, they should tell you about it immediately. 

  • It is NOT a good education to have your child Ďraiseí a wild animal it found and brought home.  Apart from being against the law, it can be dangerous to themÖand dangerous to that innocent wild animal.


  • Pets belong indoors unless you are there to watch over them. 

  • Donít leave them unattended outside. 

  • If you do not have your pets regularly checked and vaccinated by your veterinarian, they can come into contact with sick wildlife.  Alternatively your unvaccinated pet can be a threat to wildlife health by passing on a communicable virus to the wild animal. 

  • Donít feed your pets outdoors and if you must, stay with them until they finish eating. Clean up anything that is not eaten and bring all the bowls inside. 

  • Donít feed stray cats outside.  Cats kill wild birds and some small mammals needlessly. 

  • Feeding feral cat colonies WILL attract wildlife to that area. 

  • Responsible and caring pet owners ensure that their pets are vaccinated for rabies as per their veterinariansí recommended schedule for booster vaccinations.


If youíve discovered a wild animal living in your home, and have tried the humane methods below and successfully evict them, you must remember that repairs to that access point must be made or one of two things will happen.  That same animal will be likely to return, or another one will just move in.  Unless access is permanently blocked, itís a no-win cycle that never ends.


When using any deterrent method, remember that wildlife can be quite persistent.  Your job is to be just as persistent. For any methods you try, be sure to follow them correctly.  Use of lights, noise and odours to avert wildlife, must be carried out for more than just a few hours.  In general, youíll need to devote 3-4 days to doing this. 


Animals that are nocturnal, will not leave in broad daylight, they will wait for dusk and darkness.  Not only do they have to avoid you, they have to avoid predation by other wild animals, so give them the space to do that. 


Many of these suggested methods are inexpensive.  Try those first.  Odour deterrents need to be applied properly and correctly, and left in place for a few days.  If it is too strong, it may also offend you, so be careful in your application of them.  Try more than one method at a time, in combination with others. 


Trapping And Relocating Wildlife


Live trapping using a humane trap has proven to be ineffective with all wildlife. Leg hold traps may only be operated by Ministry of Natural Resources licensed trappers.


Illegal use of leg hold traps, discharge of firearms within city limits or use of poison can result in criminal charges and fines up to $5,000. 


Relocating wildlife after trapping does not work.  Unless the problem which allowed access in the first place is corrected and repaired, another animal will just move in.


It is illegal to remove adult wildlife and relocate it more than 1 km from where it was trapped, so if you do trap that wild animal, and release it in accordance with the law, and have not fixed the original problem, that animal will return.


Killing wildlife doesnít solve the problem either.  It either creates a situation where the offspring of that animal (if it was a female with young) will die of starvation and spurs an increase in wildlife births to fill the gap in following years. 


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Last modified: 09/23/16 08:17 PM