You may not have given much thought to wildlife on your property in previous years, but if you’re considering adding a pet to your family then it’s something you’ll want to think about. Having a domestic pet in your home can change your relationship with the wildlife in your area. From squirrels and birds to more invasive creatures like skunks and badgers, wildlife has the potential to be charming but also disruptive. Your goal as a pet owner should be to ensure the safety of the animals you love while trying to treat the creatures who wander onto your property with respect and when necessary, removing them humanely.
Here are some things to consider when thinking about the way you handle wildlife as a pet owner, including useful tips and common mistakes to avoid:
Be careful about your feeding habits
You love your pets, but if you live in an area heavily populated by wild animals, it’s probably best not to feed them outside. Make sure that the treats and meals you provide for your furry friends are done indoors in properly designated feeding spots. This will have two helpful effects. First, it will keep your pets from scavenging for food outside where they could run into wild animals and get into confrontations. Second, it will remove an incentive for wild animals to venture onto your property and steal the food intended for your cat or dog. Since leaving out food for wildlife is illegal in many places, this will also help you stay on the right side of the law.
Remove likely habitats from your yard
Wild animals are much more likely to enter a property when there are ample opportunities for them to make homes on the grounds. You can deter many common wild animals (especially rodents) by clearing your yard of dead shrubs, bundles of twigs, and other objects they could use to start nests or burrows.
Have resources to deal with problematic animals
Despite your best efforts, some animals may become too familiar with your property for comfort. It’s important to remember that wild animals are not “pests”—they’re valuable members of a sensitive ecosystem, and need to be treated as such. If these animals are seriously inconvenient to you or dangerous to your pets, you’ll need to have a way of removing them. Look online for resources who can give you tips on getting rid of tricky animals like skunks or put you in touch with a qualified removalist. These tools will help you remove offending creatures from your premises while keeping them, you, and your pets safe.
Treat all creatures with respect
Taking care of your pets is important—after all, you’re going to develop significant bonds with them. However, it’s just as important that you treat the animals who come onto your property without knowing any better fairly. Most of them are just hungry or curious, and they aren’t looking to cause trouble. Don’t encourage them with food or let them build homes on your property, but always make sure you exercise caution and restraint if you’re trying to remove them. Respect for their lives will ensure that everybody on your property is well treated.