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Avoiding Wild Animal Problems

In addition to its human residents, Placer County is home to lots of wildlife, from raccoons and squirrels to bears and mountain lions. Because we live near open land, we often encounter wild animals, sometimes on a regular basis as our "neighbors." "Wild" means just that - these animals don't understand how to live with humans. Living near them may mean problems or danger for you and your pets or livestock, and for them. In addition, while most wild animals are healthy, some may carry diseases which can be transmitted to you and your family members, or your pets. Diseases include rabies and bubonic plague.

Follow these tips to reduce the possibility of problems from living near wildlife. If you continue to have a problem, you may need to contact a commercial pest removal company.

Around Your Home

  • Keep wild animals wild - don't feed them.
  • Feed your pets inside your home. Don't feed pets outside on a deck, or near your house. Pet food attracts wild animals like raccoons and bears. It's important they don't learn to see your home as a source for food.
  • Secure your garbage can. Get a can with a snap-on lid. If possible, store your can inside, in a garage, shed, or wooden garbage-can enclosure.
  • Screen your roof and crawlspace vents and cap your chimney, to prevent animals from seeking shelter in or under your house.

In Your Garden

  • Wild animals do best on their own, with minimal interaction with humans. Don't set out food for wild animals. Attracting deer will also attract their hunter, the mountain lion.
  • Bears and raccoons are attracted to compost piles and fruit trees and bushes. Electric fences can be effective deterrents, as can other types of sturdy fencing.
  • Pick up fallen fruit to reduce the attraction.
  • For deer, repellants like human hair, small sacks of bone meal, or soap, appear to be of limited effectiveness. Other taste and odor repellants vary in their effectiveness.

On a Farm or Ranch

  • If possible, feed livestock inside, in a barn or shed. Don't leave livestock food outside and easily accessible.
  • Plant crops and gardens away from forested areas. Surround gardens with plants deer dislike, like persimmon, lilac, boxwood, jasmine, holly, pepper tree, wax myrtle, century plant, and narcissus (daffodils) and iris.

Along the Road or in the Wild

  • If an animal appears sick, it may not be safe to touch it. Always wear gloves when touching an injured or sick animal. If you're bitten by a sick animal, it's likely the animal will have to be killed to be tested for rabies. Immediately seek treatment for yourself.
  • Animals often leave their young alone for several hours. Don't assume young animals have been abandoned by their parents. Moving or touching them may do more harm than good. Unless the animal is obviously injured or in immediate danger, observe the animal from a distance for several hours before moving it.

Helpful Links

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

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