The City of Boulder is home to an abundant wildlife population. Although these animals are wonderful to observe, they can also pose a conflict with humans.
Prevention is the Key
- Do Not Feed The Wildlife. When you provide a food source, they begin to expect and depend on your generosity. Wild animals are capable of finding food on their own.
- Store all trash in lid-tight containers and keep it in the garage or a shed until the scheduled pick up day. Garbage provides an easy food source for all wildlife.
- Keep pet food inside.
- Secure pet doors during evening and nighttime hours.
- Cover window wells with commercially available grates or bubbles, or make a cover yourself using inch hardware cloth or chicken wire.
- Close holes around and under the foundation of your home and outbuilding, so that animals will not be tempted to burrow and den. Bury wire mesh one to two feet deep in places where animal might gain access.
- Screen fireplace chimneys, furnace, attic and dryer vents, and keep dampers closed to avoid unwanted guests. Chimneys are like hollow trees. Use chimney caps year-round and be sure to check them annually to make sure they're in place.
- Fence gardens and cover fruit trees with netting to protect your harvest. Scarecrows, hardware ground cloth and lights are other deterrents that can be effective in gardens.
- Check and repair any damaged, loose or rotten boards that overhang your roof. Squirrels, bats, and birds find this easy access into your house.
Any habitat altering methods must be employed consistently for 7 to 14 days and monitored closely.
Under the deck, shed, or other denning areas -
If you are having problems with animals burrowing under a structure, it is most likely a skunk or a fox. In either case, a couple of methods can be implemented to deter the animal from living in and around your area.
- Ammonia-soaked rags place in or around the "den" is an inexpensive way. Since ammonia is a liquid, it will evaporate in the warm weather and wash off in a rain storm. It is important that you check the rags daily and refresh the ammonia as needed.
- Moth balls are also an effective, inexpensive deterrent. They can be thrown or placed around the hole. Rainstorms can wash them away so you might need to sprinkle them around dens multiple times.
In the Chimney –
The inside of a chimney resembles a hollowed out tree trunk, which is the perfect habitat for squirrels, raccoons, and birds. DO NOT open the damper to look at or attempt to remove the animal if you hear it crawling in the chimney. This can cause additional issues if the animal is to become loose in your house. They become frightened and can cause damage in their attempt to find an exit. It's best to leave the animals alone. The majority of cases, they can climb out the chimney on their own, though they might need a little encouragement to do so.
- A bowl of ammonia placed in the base of the fireplace is an effective tool to discourage raccoons or squirrels from continuing their stay. The odor of the ammonia is unpleasant and will encourage the animals to move to a less-fragrant dwelling. If the ammonia is bothersome to you, close the doors to the fireplace or use an ammonia-soaked rag, which is less potent than the bowl of ammonia.
- Shine a light up the fireplace. The light diminishes their peaceful habitat. If you apply all three methods concurrently, the faster the pests will leave.
Often during the spring, animals will quickly nest to provide shelter for their babies. If your new tenant has already nested and has a family of babies in the chimney, don’t panic -- they will relocate the family to a less disturbed area. Mothers are not inclined to abandon their young and they are able to move their young when necessary.
Once you are sure the animal has left your residence, immediately secure a fitted chimney cap to the entrance of the chimney to prevent future problems.
In the Attic –
Much like the chimney, the attic provides a safe, comfortable, undisturbed dwelling for animals such as raccoons and squirrels. The first step is to locate the point where the animals are entering. Check all soffets surrounding your home, and look for weaknesses or holes in the roof and the siding that surrounds your attic. Once the animal is effectively deterred from your home, you will need to repair the entrance point immediately. One-quarter-inch hardware cloth can be used to cover holes or entry points.
- Ammonia-soaked rags or moth balls in a sock or panty hose placed in the attic will encourage the animals to relocate.
- Shining lights in the attic
In the Garden –
Gardens are the number one attractant for all wildlife including raccoons, skunks, bears, deer, squirrels and birds. Gardens provide a wonderful, readily-available food source for nearly every species of wildlife.
- Netting over fruit trees helps protect them from birds, squirrels, deer, and other omnivores.
- Electric fencing surrounding the garden will discourage the animals. Other fencing methods are less effective because they allow the animal to crawl through it or under it.
- The “Scarecrow” is a water sprayer with a motion detection feature. It attaches to a hose in the yard and when it detects movement, it sprays the area, scaring the wildlife away.
Bird deterrents are altered to fit the unique ability that birds have to avoid the usual mammal deterrent. Although birds can provide the same type of nuisance within a house or garden that mammals do, they are not affected by ammonia, moth balls, or the consistent noise from a radio.
- Models of owls, hawks and snakes scare away pigeons temporarily. They must resemble their living counterpart and must be positioned in a manner that is natural for the actual predator. It is helpful to relocate them frequently.
- Mylar tape/streamers, old CDs, balls of aluminum foil, or aluminum soda cans secured to trees, the side of the house, or roosting site reflects light that proves to be an annoyance.
- Balloons filled with helium and have an "eye spot" (black dot) painted on one side (to emphasize movement) can be tied near the roost side.
- Kid's pinwheels may also deter birds.
- Noise making, with firecrackers, wind chimes, or a can of rocks is effective as long as the noise is loud and sudden. Noise repellents must be used frequently to be effective.
“Homemade” Mammal Deterrents
These deterrents can be used in and around gardens, the perimeter of property, or in other areas where wildlife is unwanted.
Wildlife Repellent Recipe by Carol Martino
Ingredients: one whole Spanish onion, one jalapeno pepper and 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
Directions: Chop up the onion and pepper. Mix all ingredients together and boil in 2 quarts of water for about 20 minutes. Let cool, and then strain water through a cheesecloth, into a container.
Using a garden sprayer, spray any area outside that wild animals or even neighborhood pets are bring a nuisance
This mixture is non-toxic and safe, it will not harm the animal but will succeed in keeping mammals away.
The Magic Formula by Jerry Baker
Ingredients: 8 oz of any liquid dish soap, 8 oz of castor oil and 1 gallon of water
Directions: Mix the castor oil and soap well then add to the gallon of water and spray entire area.
Division of Wildlife: 303-297-1192
Greenwood Wildlife Rehabiliation Sancuatary: 303-823-8455
D.O.W. – Too Close for Comfort
Last Updated on Friday, 07 September 2012 12:41