Wild Animal Control – Please Put on Your Scary Face

It is a testament to the adaptability of Wild Mammals that more and more of them are making their homes in Urban Areas. The city nearest to us has a large and vigorous population of the same four legged animals that wander here in the country – deer, coyotes and skunks. The city also has animals that have not normally lived in our woods – racoons, rabbits (both wild and feral domestic) and an imported species of squirrel. The rabbits and squirrels have recently arrived in our neighbourhood, thanks to those kindly city folk who trapped and transported them. I hope the native predators are enjoying this new menu item. With any luck the imported animals will disappear from our area again.

While we are happy to share our rural landscape with all of nature’s citizens, we are also protective of the fenced area that is off limits to any animal that eats my vegetables or flowers. While some people will say this is selfish of me, in this part of the world most people who grow gardens do so because it is an economical, nutritious, flavorful way to feed their families. It is also hard work. Gardeners do not take kindly to having the garden eaten up by a deer or a rabbit that has a plentiful source of food to eat on the other side of the fence.

The absolute worst thing people can do to a wild animal is to treat it like it is tame. Wild animals that are fed by humans or are allowed to graze or rest close to human habitation, lose their fear of people and potential predators. Once that fear is lost, the animal can become aggressive towards humans and the other animals that it would normally try to escape from.

I have had the unsettling experience of coming face to face with a deer that had no fear of humans. I backed away, and was glad that it didn’t charge me. This lack of fear will not help the deer escape predators. Coyotes who have lost that fear will attack domestic pets, even when an adult human is standing nearby.

27-dinoWhich brings me to why people need to wear their Scary Face. While it is all very nice to observe wild four legged animals, they should not be encouraged to take up residence in your backyard. These critters will lose their fear of humans if you don’t put on your Scary Face and encourage them to move on.

There is no reason why wildlife can’t live in urban settings. But the only way that can work for the animals and the humans is for the humans to treat them like the wild animals that they are.

– Do not feed them, either deliberately or inadvertently.

– Do not deliberately or inadvertently supply a home for them in your back yard.

– Encourage them to live in the open or forested areas of the city which is the habitat they would normally live in.

– And don’t trap them and transport them to the country. We’ve got just enough food for the animals who already live here, thank you…

10 thoughts on “Wild Animal Control – Please Put on Your Scary Face

  1. Hi Margie,
    I totally agree, people should not feed wild animals at all, this only leads to trouble in the end, usually for the animal as you pointed out they lose their sense of fear, which is exactly what keeps them alive.

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    1. Hi Magsx2 – Many people have a Disney mentality when it comes to wild animals. But you are right, the animal is safest if they keep their sense of awareness. Fear of humans is the best tool in their arsenal.

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  2. A common problem is for people to feed deer. This results in the deer “hanging around.” In turn, the cougars and bobcats hunting for deer also frequent residential areas. Bill

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    1. Hi Bill – Deer are at great risk when they are fed. The food usually doesn’t offer the optimal nutrition, and the deer become lazy about searching out other food sources. Their presence in an urban setting then attracts predators, and the deer become easy pickings because they have lost much of their wariness.

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  3. I will have no problem putting on my scary face. I’ll use my scary voice as well. We had a coyote roaming around downtown here for quite a while. It bothered the heck out of me but I couldn’t get Fish and Game to do anything. They said “As long as it’s healthy, we’ll just let him alone.” That of course made no sense to intelligent folks.

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    1. Hi SDS – The coyote has adapted very well to urban settings. They are drawn by the ample small game, including pets. They will even take fawns, but will generally not attack full grown deer. Humans don’t normally have anything to fear from them either. I agree it can be unsettling to see a coyote roaming the neighbourhood, but if everyone wears their Scary Face and keeps pets and other food sources secured, the coyote will usually keep its distance. The coyote, in turn, will do a good job keeping the rodent population in check. Personally, I am glad to have the coyotes and foxes patrolling the fenceline!

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  4. This spring we had a brown bear wandering through the neighborhoods near the Oceanfront, right here in Virginia Beach, the largest city in Virginia. I feel sorry for them because their habitat is shrinking, but I certainly would not encourage them to stay here!

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    1. Hi CE – It is difficult to strike a balance between the need to house people and the animal habitat that disappears as a result of it. In our area, the additional consideration is that new housing reduces the amount of crop land. Hopefully there will be more and more developments that incorporate animal habitat into their plans. Urban areas could also become food producers if homeowners replaced the family lawn with the family garden plot! My daughter did that. She took out her front lawn, fenced it with a decorative low fence, and planted the whole thing in vegetables, herbs and fruit trees. She says the neighbours were not very impressed with the new look – until she shared her first years harvest with them!

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  5. I too agree, wildlife is exactly what it means, “wildlife”. They are not domestic animals and a healthy respect for our differences helps them to live in our their area too. Living in a large town that was growing and encroaching on the wildlife saw many deer coming down to feed in the neighborhoods. I do not believe they did that to be friends but out of survival as their home shrunk in on them.

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    1. Hi Amanda – In the past, cities didn’t take into consideration where the wildlife was going to go as the city grew. Hopefully new developments take that into consideration.

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