Animals out of Your Home
people who live on large and small acreage's in Colorado consider
free roaming wildlife one of the most important assets to their property.
As the population continues to grow on the front range, and dwellings
replace wildlife habitat, wild animals are displaced. Some species
of wildlife continue to live in open space areas, parks, undeveloped
parcels of land, river bottoms, and on or near bodies of water. Others
have adapted very well to urban living- skunks and raccoons, in particular,
seem to thrive in or near the cities.
we increasingly share their habitat with our homes, there are sure
to be many more human-animal encounters. In most situations, people
and wildlife can coexist. The key to coexistence is usually respecting
the "wild" in wildlife and understanding the needs that
cause wildlife behavior. Wild animals should not be harassed, captured,
domesticated, or fed. Most of the dangerous or potentially harmful
encounters occur because people fail to leave wildlife alone.
you find young or orphaned animals
animals should not be handled. During the spring and summer months,
people often encounter baby animals. Deer, elk, and other mammals
often leave their young while feeding, relying on the babies’ natural
camouflage to protect them. Don’t assume that just because you don’t
see the parents the young have been abandoned. Most people who think
they are rescuing these "abandoned" babies are actually
just kidnapping them from their mothers. There are very few true cases
of abandoned wildlife. If you are absolutely certain that the mother
animal is dead (hit by a car, for example), mark the location on a
map or measure the mileage from a landmark and report it to the Division
cases where newly hatched birds have fallen from their nest, return
them to the nest if you can do so safely. Keep in mind that when young
birds begin to fly, they often spend time on the ground before they
perfect their navigational skills. If this seems to be the case, leave
them alone and let them learn.
diseases that are carried by wild animals such as rabies, hantavirus,
and plague, can be transmitted to people. You can do your part to
prevent the spread of some diseases by not feeding wild animals. When
people leave food out, it draws many animals to the same place in
unnaturally high numbers. This provides a perfect way of spreading
disease from domestic animals to wild animals or from wild animals
to pets. When people leave food out, a disease that would normally
be found in just a few individuals can cause an outbreak that affects
a whole population.
you do see an animal that is not acting normally, or is out at a time
when you would not normally expect to see it, it might have a disease.
Animals that appear to be sick or injured should not be handled. They
might appear to be too sick to fight, but if threatened, they might
try to bite. Call the Division of Wildlife if you see diseased animals.
protect yourself against hantavirus, avoid areas that are infested
with mice. Deer mice are the most common carrier of this deadly virus.
It is spread through rodent excrement, urine and saliva, and most
often is contracted when people breath in dust that contains mouse
droppings- often when they are sweeping out buildings and stirring
up dust. For more information, call the Department of Health or the
Division of Wildlife.
key to avoiding most conflicts with wildlife is keeping unwanted animals
out of homes, buildings, and yards to prevent problems from developing.
Here are some tips:
window wells. You can use commercially available grates or bubbles,
or make a cover using a ¼ inch hardware cloth or chicken wire.
up holes around and under the foundation of your home so animals will
not be tempted to move in. Bury wire mesh 1 ½ to 2 feet deep in places
where animals might gain access by digging.
all garbage out of reach of wildlife by storing it only in metal or
plastic containers with tight fitting lids. Don’t put trash out until
the day it’s due to be collected.
pet food out of reach of wildlife. Bring it in at night.
keep birds from colliding with windows, mark large windows with strips
of white tape or with bird silhouettes.
gardens and cover fruit trees. Or, plant extra crops and share them
with wildlife. Commercially available netting can be used to protect
your fruit harvest. You can also try using repellants. Call the Division
of Wildlife or your extension agent for more details.
fireplace chimneys and dryer vents to prevent animals from dropping
in. Chimney tops should be screened from February to September to
prevent birds and animals from nesting inside. Keep them screened
year-round if raccoons are a problem. Remove branches that overhang
affected structures in order to cut off easy access.
all cracks and holes larger than ½ inch diameter to keep rats, mice
and bats out.
kinds of wildlife are most likely to come in conflict with people.
Following are some tips on what to do when you encounter these animals.
Raccoons often choose chimneys and attics as substitutes for den sites in hollow
trees. They may be excluded by following the tips in the paragraph
above. If they are gaining access to your roof by climbing trees,
you can place an 18-inch tall cylinder of sheet metal around tree
trunks at least 3 feet above ground. If it’s too late to exclude them,
you can contact an animal trapping or pest control company from the
local yellow pages, or you can try to handle the problem yourself
by putting ammonia-soaked rags or mothballs in the space where the
animals are living. Close the entrance with hardware cloth when they
raccoons are especially adept at pilfering garbage, make sure that
your garbage containers have tight-fitting lids and are clamped down
or tied down to keep raccoons from tipping them over. Never feed raccoons.
Squirrels; Again, exclusion is the best long-term solution to prevent squirrel
problems. Since squirrels in attics are common problems, screen your
attic vents on the inside with hardware cloth to keep them out. If
you do not want to deal with this problem yourself, contact one of
the private wild animal trapping companies listed in the phone book.
If you feed squirrels, you’re setting the stage for having a squirrel
problem. Do not feed squirrels.
damage to homes and gardens
Deer can cause considerable damage to shrubs and young trees by eating
them or rubbing their antlers on them. Commercial repellants containing
thiram or homemade solutions of red pepper or eggs may help. A better
option may be to fence your shrubs with cylinders of wire.
of wild animals are killed by cars every year, and collisions with
large animals such as deer can cause serious damage to both you and
your vehicle. If you see a deer near the road, please slow down. Deer
will sometimes jump into the road when frightened. If you see one
deer on the road, at least one more may well be nearby.
deer appear in or around the city, it’s usually best to do nothing
and allow them to leave on their own. Tranquilizing deer, elk, or
other large animals is usually not necessary and can cause injury
or death to the animal. Therefore, it is used only as a last resort.
dogs may find their way into your pasture or yard. If you have
questions or need help controlling them, call your local animal control
agency, the Division of Wildlife, or your county extension agent.
Woodpeckers, usually common flickers, like to drum on wood siding, eaves, and shingles
on homes. These birds are protected by law and cannot be killed. However,
there are a number of different techniques you can use to discourage
their activities. You may have to try more than one.
an alternative drumming site nearby such as two overlapping boards
with the back board firmly secured to something and the front board
fastened to the other board only at one end so it will resonate.
lightweight plastic or mesh netting at least 3 inches out from affected
with repellant. Contact your local county extension agent or the Division
of Wildlife for further information.
wild animals inevitably will get injured. This is a fact of life for
animals living in the wild, and some animals must die so that others
can live. Predators and scavengers would not exist if their prey were
never harmed. The best course of action is often to let nature take
its course. If you do find an injured animal, you can call the Division
of Wildlife. Do not try to keep the animal. It is illegal to take
animals from the wild. Many animals are injured as a direct or indirect
result of human activities. You can help prevent injuries and death
to some animals by following a few simple rules:
pets under control. Dogs of any size can form packs and kill animals
as large as deer and elk. You are responsible if your dog is caught
harassing or killing wildlife. Cats are efficient predators that kill
many birds and other small animals.
wildlife-friendly fences. Split-rail fences allow easy crossing for
wild animals. If you use barbed wire, the bottom strand should be
16 inches from the ground, and the fence should be no higher than
40 inches. Leaving a 12-inch gap between the two highest wires will
help reduce entanglement and wire twisting.
commonly encountered wildlife problems can be handled easily and safely
by you, and we ask your help in doing so. However, if you do not know
what to do or need further help, please call the Division of Wildlife.
In an emergency after normal office hours, you can reach Division
of Wildlife personnel through the Colorado State Patrol.
Division of Wildlife
CO 80216 303-291-7227
Collins, CO 80526 970-472-4300
for after business hours emergencies
Department of Health
State University Extension 1-800-824-7842
- A Manual for Success, 2nd Edition
information on this and many other Small Acreage topics are now available
- A Manual for Success, 2nd Edition
a copy of this book please contact the Adams County Small Acreage Coordinator