Keeping Wildlife from Becoming a Nuisance

By Duane Friend

Many homeowners like being able to see some wildlife around their yards. Some of these homeowners will even create habitats that will encourage birds and animals presence. Sometimes, however, good intentions result in having unwanted wildlife, or having wildlife invade a home. Taking a few preventative measures will decrease the chances of this happening.

To keep squirrels and raccoons from taking over bird feeders, use a gravity-operated treadle, so that only birds can access feed. In addition, do not allow feed to accumulate underneath the feeder. If pets are fed outdoors, move feeders indoors at night.

Trees that have branches extending over the roof of a house should be trimmed. An alternative to this is to place a 3-foot wide band of sheet metal around the trunk of the tree, at least 6 feet off of the ground.

Installing a chimney cap will help prevent direct entry into a house. To find out if animals are already in the chimney or attic, sprinkle flour or talcum powder around the top of the chimney and watch for tracks for several days. If animals are present, they obviously will need to be removed before the cap can be installed. Contact the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to get a listing of licensed nuisance wildlife control contractors, or call your local city or county government offices to find out if they have animal control services.

Firewood should be stacked away from the house, at least two feet above ground. This will not only less the chances of wildlife making a home in the wood, it will


decrease the chances of termites making a home in your house.

Openings around foundations should be sealed. Openings should be covered with wire mesh, sheet metal, or concrete. If there is concern about small animals that may dig underneath a foundation, place wire mesh at least 6 inches below ground to discourage digging.

Keep trash containers tightly closed. If needed, secure the lids with elastic cords. Do not add meat or grease to compost piles.

Having animals and birds around the home can be visually pleasing. Enhancing an area for certain types of wildlife can be done without creating a place for wildlife you do not want. For more information on specific types of wildlife and management, visit the University of Illinois Extension Living with Wildlife website at


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About the author

Duane is an Educator with University of Illinois Extension in the Calhoun/Cass/Greene/Morgan/Scott unit.

View all articles by Duane Friend

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