If you frequently have wild animals in your yard, you may be wondering how you can enjoy them while also ensuring they don’t cause issues such as getting into the garden or worse – the garbage.

Living on 40 acres of land means we get a lot of animal visitors. It’s not unusual to look out a window and see a family of deer, a rabbit, a coyote or a big ‘ol moose just hanging out in our yard.

It’s actually one of my favourite things about living in the country. I mean, if you didn’t love nature – it would be pretty silly to live smack in the middle of it, wouldn’t it?

But despite the wonder of watching a deer prance across your property or catch a quick glimpse of a coyote as the sun begins to set, wild animals are just that – wild. And proper care has to be taken when they decide to visit – perhaps even live in – your yard.

 Luckily, there are sustainable ways to share your property with wild creatures. Here are some tips for peacefully coexisting with wildlife.

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Don’t Feed Wild Animals in Your Yard

As much as we sometimes wish they were, wild animals are not pets. And setting out food for them can actually do more harm than good. First, it creates dependency, reducing the animal’s ability to hunt and forage for their own food. Feeding wildlife also attracts too many animals to sites near human habitation, increasing the risk of disease transmission or of an animal attack.

Animals who become used to food provided by people also tend to lose their natural fear of people, and in turn can become aggressive. This creates danger to pets like cats and dogs and to small children. Furthermore, the food people often provide to wild animals is not nutritionally appropriate, and it can make them sick – even kill them

Discourage Wild Animals from Living Near Your House

Creating pollinator-friendly gardens and hanging feeders is a great way to encourage bees, butterflies and birds to come visit. But it’s important not to create habitats for wild animals too close to your house. Animals need places to den, burrow, and hide and it’s best for them – and you – if they do that away from you home. 

Ensure you clean up fallen birdseed, cover window wells, clear brush, mow the grass and trim shrubs and bushes next to your house. You can then leave the forested habitat for the far perimeter of your property, thus encouraging animals to live there instead.

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How to Keep Wild Animals Out of Your Garbage

Nothing like the smell of fresh garbage to attract a wild animal to your yard! Keep them out of the trash by covering garbage and recycling bins. If possible, create an area in your garage or shed for these items so animals aren’t tempted to knock them over and remove the lids. (We’ve all seen videos of clever racoons raiding garbage cans. Call them pests all you want – I still think they’re damn cute.)

If you’re doing a building or renovation project that requires a dumpster on your property, make sure you maintain it properly. Cover it either with a lid or a tarp, which will discourage animals from foraging.

How to Keep Wild Animals Out of Your Garden

While a fence is probably the best way to keep wild animals out of your precious garden, it isn’t the easiest nor the most affordable. Before putting up a fence – which deer can often jump over anyway – try a few of these other tricks.

Add coffee grounds to your soil, which is a great nitrogen booster, but also deters deer – and cats! You can also try sprinkling some unwashed human hair around your garden, as mice, deer and rabbits don’t like the smell of it. You can also try hanging a cloth bag filled with scented soap near your garden – deer don’t like strong smells!

Ultimately, the best tip for peacefully coexisting with wildlife is to simply leave wild animals alone. Don’t ever approach them. Appreciate them from a distance and then let them go on their merry way.

 

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Posted on February 2, 2022

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Got Wild Animals in Your Yard? Here’s How to Peacefully Coexist with Them

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