July 27th
Take Pre-emptive Measures to Protect Property From Wildlife

When humans and wildlife live in close proximity, there is bound to be a conflict. Waterloo Region is home to woodlands, trails, parks and the expansive Grand River that are home to great biodiversity that extends right into our neighbourhoods. From coyotes, skunks, raccoons and foxes to birds, bats, bunnies and mice – we have it all.

Wildlife in Kitchener-Waterloo is here to stay. With limited wild spaces left, we must learn to coexist with our wild neighbours and prevent conflict through education and pre-emptive measures. When urban wildlife species get too close for comfort, the safest option is to have the problem dealt with by a professional. Trapping and killing wildlife is both inhumane and ineffective at solving problems long-term.

It’s always tempting to do things yourself, mainly because it’s cheaper. But, wildlife removal needs to be taken seriously, and in many cases, it takes a professional to get the job right and safe.

Do-it-yourself wildlife removal is troublesome

The internet will tell you that there are many different do-it-yourself solutions for a range of pest infestations. Many sound easy and possible. But, untrained individuals can get into trouble if they fail to take into consideration wildlife biology and home construction.

In many cases, homeowners can end up locking mothers away from their babies or orphaning them in hard-to-reach places like the attic. In either scenario, you could do further damage to your home or prolong the infestation longer than needed.

How to keep wildlife away

Property owners are strongly encouraged to “wildlife-proof” their buildings and property to minimize conflicts with wild animals. Wild animals take advantage of opportunities that are presented to them by homeowners who unknowingly make their homes and properties attractive areas for wildlife. Taking pre-emptive measures is always better and is the first step in avoiding conflict with wildlife. Following some of the simple suggestions outlined below will help to prevent conflicts with wildlife. 

  • Eliminate any sources of food around your house

To secure your property against curious rodents or squirrels, pick up any loose yard debris or food scraps. This would also include not leaving your compost or garbage outside overnight. This is often the main source that attracts wildlife. Also, ensure you’re feeding your pets indoors, so no food scraps are left out. Raccoons and other wildlife have a keen sense of smell. Leaving pet food out will only attract other animals, meaning you are encouraging wildlife to find a food source near your property.

If you must feed your pets outside, pick up the dishes immediately after they finish and bring them inside.

If you have bird feeders on your property, ensure to keep the surrounding area clean.

  • Seal your property

The main objective for any homeowner should be sealing their property from uninvited four-legged or two-winged intruders. As a homeowner, focus on potentially vulnerable points of your home. For example, roof vents are notorious gateways for rodents, birds, and even more determined larger species like raccoons. Using wire mesh or commercial guards, you can cover these weak points, strengthening your home’s barrier.

  • Maintain a clean landscape

Many of us neglect raking or weeding directly next to our houses because it is behind bushes or other plantings, but leaving leaves, or dead weeds provides bedding for animals. While some creatures will take the loose materials to make a nest elsewhere, other animals will settle in right next to your home, giving the front-of-the-line access to breaking in if the opportunity arises.

  • If you have a garden

While you may see your garden as a beautiful view out your back window, wildlife sees it as a food source. Not only can this destroy your garden, but many plants can be harmful to the wildlife in our area. Common vegetables in gardens, such as chilli peppers, can hurt the digestive system of wildlife, causing them to vomit or experience stomach pain. It’s easy to create barricades that wildlife can not get past. Here are some of the best tips to prepare your garden for wildlife visitors:

  • Add rough mulch to garden beds
  • Install raised garden beds
  • Install mesh netting around garden areas
  • Include plants with a pungent smell

If creatures have already made their way into your home, do not attempt to remove them on your own. This can be unsafe for both you and them. Several organizations in and around Waterloo Region offer professional help and use humane methods to remove wildlife and rehabilitate them. If you’re looking to seek help for wildlife in and around your house or area, contact:

 The Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo & Stratford Perth supports sick and injured wildlife in their contracted service areas. Find a list of service areas here. If you are looking for more information, visit our webpage about wildlife. To access a list of printable resources for different wildlife, visit our resources page here.