Wildlife is a vital part of the Colorado ecosystem and to the health and well being of our lives. Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center encourages everyone to become environmentally responsible and appreciate the diversity of life that Colorado offers.
Part of environmental responsibility is the appreciation of wildlife and the understanding that, at times, conflicts with wildlife are bound to occur. Environmental responsibility and appreciation for the diversity of life demands humane, effective solutions to conflicts with wildlife. Here are some compassionate actions you can take:
Spring visitors. Mother mammals and birds try to choose a safe place to have their babies or lay eggs. Sometimes they don't choose very well. Locations they've used in the past may no longer be available.
Nests of baby bunnies in compost piles are common, as are bird nests in precarious hanging baskets. Spaces under houses or sheds may seem like ideal dens for foxes and raccoons, as do attics and even window wells. If you have an animal that is nesting or "denning" in or near your house at this time of the year, you can be certain that there are babies not far away.
So, what can you do? The best and most humane solution is to keep the mother and babies together for as long as possible. A fox under your porch or a raccoon in the attic may only need a few more weeks to get their young ready for the outside world.
If at all possible, let the mom and babies stay put until they're old enough to be moved safely. Greenwood can give you information about timing the move and also tell you about humane ways to encourage them to leave on their own if temporary coexistence just isn't possible.
Education and tolerance. Learn more about the animals that live in your area. You may discover that what you consider a “nuisance” is an animal that provides an essential element to a healthy environment.
Change human behavior. It will be easier for you to change than to get an animal to change. For example, to discourage "garbage raiding" by raccoons or other animals, place your trash cans at the curb on the day of pick-up rather than the night before. Store cans inside a shed or garage in between pick-ups.
Change the environment. Make your home or yard less attractive to the animals you don't want there. Landscaping choices and habitat modification can encourage or discourage certain species. Deter snakes, skunks, or other animals by removing potential hiding places, such as rock and wood piles or storage sheds with space under the floor.
Keep them out. Cut off access to the places where animals enter buildings—cap chimneys and seal holes, for example. Close off potential den sites under decks, porches, steps, and crawl spaces. Fence vulnerable gardens and trees or use netting to exclude birds and other animals from plants.
Humane eviction solutions. Use devices that flash, move, make noise, or spray water to scare animals away. Chemical repellents labeled for the species you want to discourage can scare animals with their scents or make potential food unpalatable. Trapping a wild animal can often cause more trouble for you and can be dangerous for the animal. If you have tried all humane ways of removing wildlife, please call Urban Wildlife Rescue at (303) 340-4911 for assistance. Visit them online at www.UrbanWildlifeRescue.org.
Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center does NOT endorse or support wildlife trappers and extermination specialists in Colorado.
If you have questions about wildlife in your area please contact us.