CONFLICTS with squirrels, skunks, raccoons, birds and other wildlife are a reality for many homeowners.
“There are many common household items that can serve homeowners well in their conflict with wildlife,” said Laura Simon, field director of urban wildlife for the Humane Society of the United States. Here are a few:
Problem: Dog sprayed by a skunk
Solution: A simple recipe. Mix together in a bowl 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, 1/8 cup of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap. Apply to dog with a towel. Bathe and rinse dog and the odor will instantly disappear. Side effect: this solution may give dark fur a “highlight” effect.
Problem: Woodpeckers pecking; Woodchucks digging; geese hanging out
Solution: Shiny party store (Mylar) balloons with a “face” that features big eyes, creates a predator image for wild animals and keeps them away from areas they are not wanted. Hang from windows or downspouts, tie to garden posts.
Problem: Squirrels/Raccoons on patio or deck, a little too close to your door
Solution: Remove any potential food attractant such as cat food or birdseed. If they still remain, know that the sound of a vacuum cleaner is very frightening to a wild animal. Run one for a few minutes and they will scurry away.
Problem: Sparrows, pigeons and others are landing on balcony railings
Solution: A Slinky toy stretched with an inch between spirals, secured on the sill, will keep the birds from landing or nesting there.
Problem: Woodchucks getting in the garden
Solution: Put up a simple L-shaped chicken wire fence. The two tricks are: run the bottom part 12 inches out, parallel to the ground, secured with landscaping staples, which creates a “false bottom” that the animal cannot dig under; make sure the vertical part is not too taut. If it wobbles when the woodchuck tries to climb, he will be discouraged and stop trying.
Problem: Birds crashing into windows
Solution: Aluminum foil cut in one foot squares and secured with a piece of tape at the top can be applied to windows to prevent migrating birds from hitting them. It also works to prevent cardinals and robins from attacking them, when they mistake their own reflection for that of a competitor.
Problem: Skunks stuck in window wells
Solution: Place a chunk of strong-smelling cheese in the bottom of a rectangular kitchen garbage can. Put the can on its side to get a skunk who has fallen into a window well out. The skunk will walk in to feast on the cheese, then tip the garbage can up and raise it, elevator style, to ground level and lower it on its side again to allow the skunk to amble out. Then buy an inexpensive window well cover at a home or hardware store so it does not happen again.
Problem: Squirrels in the attic
Solution: An inexpensive strobe light can be helpful in getting squirrel families to leave an attic and find a less disconcerting place to raise their young.
Problem: Raccoons or squirrels in the chimney
Solution: Loud hard rock music and a bowl of ammonia works for raccoons. Place a radio and bowl of ammonia on a footstool in the fireplace at dusk to convince them to move to a new den. For squirrels, a long rope hung down the chimney and draped over the side of the house will allow them to climb out. To permanently solve this problem, have a chimney cap installed. — Hendersonville Times News