Nuisance Wildlife in and Around the Landscape
Landscapers and homeowners are out and about anxious to get their hands dirty and just to enjoy the great outdoors. Many are finding that they are not alone. Very often, these outdoor spaces are also occupied by wildlife such as squirrels, opossums, raccoons, bats, moles, deer, mice, coyotes and snakes. These animals become nuisances when they are in unwanted areas or cause damage to animals, valuable plants or other property or just make the human inhabitants uncomfortable.
What to do? First identify the animal by various signs. Some things to look for are droppings, noise (especially during certain times of the day or night) and digging. The size of the hole is a clue to the size of the animal. Once the offender is identified various approaches such as habitat modification, exclusion, repellent and lethal methods may be used for control.
Habitat Modification: Food, water and shelter are needed for survival of all wildlife so a change to anyone of these is an effective control method. For example, seal cracks and holes to prevent rodents or bats from entering a building. Store seed and pet food in tightly closed containers. Control weeds and garden debris; for example, mice like tall grass and snakes like mice. Therefore, keeping the grass in the landscape low will get rid of mice and eventually snakes.
Exclusion: Often the best and most permanent way. Depending upon the area, the cost may be prohibitive. Fencing and netting are common exclusion methods.
Removal or Repellent: Relocating the nuisance wildlife may be an option but be considerate not to take the nuisance to another person’s property. In addition, animals may be deterred from feasting on plants by foul tasting or smelling substances.
Lethal: Should be used as a last resort and may require permits. Lethal approach often kills non-target animals. Live trapping is an option but is not recommended. I would recommend that you leave live trapping for the professional pest control company.
For more information on horticulture, contact Grantly Ricketts at UF/IFAS Extension in Osceola County at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 321-697-3000.