Animals such as the skunk, opossum, raccoon, squirrels,
coyote, rattlesnake, fox, etc. are labeled as nuisance animals or vermin,
when in fact they are very important to our ecosystem. They rid our
neighborhoods of mice, rats, harmful garden pests (gophers, snails,
plant-destroying grubs, beetles, etc.), creepy things that people don't
want around their homes (cockroaches, black widow spiders, scorpions).
You can contact your local Humane Society to get tips on
how to coexist with your problem wild animals, or how to get in contact
with wildlife groups who are more specialized in the animal you have
questions about. Again, do not trap. Take the time to find out more about
the problem animal and the simple things you can do to improve your
relationship with nature.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of
bats, coyotes, opossums, raccoons, skunks, large carnivores, etc., and
read more details on how to coexist with them, go to
http://www.protectrwildlife.org/articles.htm#Nuisance . Solutions and
remedies are covered in another section of Protect R Wildlife's web site
HUMANE TRAPPING INSTRUCTIONS
All of these animals would prefer to live as far away from
humans as possible. Even though people are encroaching on the homes of
these animals, many learn to adapt. A skunk, opossum or raccoon are
perfectly happy to live under your home. But the real reason they are
there is because people lure them there. They create their own problems by
leaving a steady supply of pet food outside (95% reason); improper storage
of pet food in their garage; leaving their pet door open during the hours
that these animals forage for food; improper garbage storage; not closing
off holes in attic, under homes or in fences; even unprotected compost
There is a great availability of room and board. A
downtown environment is almost ideally suited for nuisance critters.
Trees, old houses, and abundance of edible trash make downtown a prime
spot for warm-blooded creatures great and small. Raccoons can grow to 30
pounds on a feral gourmet diet of pet food and human leftovers. Downtown
is also home to legions of opossums, rats, and other animals.
Picture a wildlife haven in someone's backyard, only the
customer doesn't want the deer to eat his beautiful roses, or the skunks,
raccoons and opossums to drink from his lily pond, waterfalls, or live
under the open decks. But he complains that they are turning up his
flowers and lawn. If he had a better fence, and a closed off deck, they
wouldn't be able to get in. These aren't easy solutions and are costly,
but there are simple and inexpensive solutions. Rather than trap every
animal and relocate them elsewhere (better than having them killed!), he
could mix a solution of 8 oz. of castor oil, 8 oz. of dish soap (mix
well), then add to 1 gallon of water, and spray around the yard to ward
off these animals. This solution conditions the soil and doesn't damage
the lawn or flowers.
There have been extensive studies that proves that
trapping and removing wildlife never works. You are wasting your time and
money. More of these animals will move in to the abandoned territory. As
long as the unnatural food supply remains, they will have larger litters,
more females, and more litters. This unique reproductive strategy is a
safeguard against extermination. It is not fair to these animals to lure
them there and then kill or disrupt their lives, most of the time making
orphans of their offspring that are left behind.
The average person doesn't know when mating or baby season
is, nor do many of them care. People in the business of trapping and
extermination are in the business to make money, so they give you the
option to trap. There are some that care about animals and just want to do
what you ask, so they relocate or transport to wildlife rehabilitation
facilities or to a wilderness area. But a responsible wildlife consultant
will not give you this option. It does not work!
I have been helping people locally, nationally and in
Canada for 11 years and almost always when people are having problems with
skunks, it is because pet food is left on or near the ground. Once the
food is removed, they relocate themselves (usually to another home that
leaves food out for them, but then maybe I'll get a call from them as
More and more people are looking for more humane
solutions. This is why I receive approximately an average of 100 calls a
week. When people are looking for help, they call Animal Control and
Humane Societies, where they many times turn people away and tell them
that they don't go out on these calls any more, and to call a trapper or
borrow one of their traps. They even refer calls to me because they know I
will recommend practical humane solutions. But when they do come out in
response to your call, since many callers don't think or care to ask what
will happen to this trapped animal, they find out the hard way that they
are destroyed (shot, gassed, drowned and worse). Do not assume that they
will be delivered to Shangri-La.
Well-meaning people often create problems by giving
handouts to wild animals. What they don't realize is that they are really
killing them. It should not be done for these reasons:
1) It teaches them unnatural behavior. A skunk used to
finding food on this person's porch will beg at the neighbor's porch.
The neighbor then calls to have the animal removed and then it is
destroyed most of the time.
2) Even high-quality cat food causes obesity, liver
failure, and metabolic bone disease in most of these animals.
3) It keeps them from doing their important job of
ridding our neighborhoods of real pests.
What it really boils down to is that, according to nature,
humans are really the nuisance animal!
(Feel free to copy and circulate this information to those
that need this information, and put in your local newspapers and
newsletters, as long as you don't change any of the content, and mail a
[email protected] .)
Go on to Rabbits Renamed
"Poultry" by the USDA
Return to 21 August 2005 Issue
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