Humane Deterrents for Wildlife


Humane Deterrents for Wildlife
Tips on preventing human/wildlife conflicts

The Michigan Humane Society encourages people to live in harmony with wildlife. As suburban sprawl continues to displace wild animals, some conflicts with humans are inevitable. However, many can be avoided with a little effort and planning.

WildlifeThe Michigan Humane Society offers the following tips on preventing conflicts with our wild neighbors: 

  • The smell of garbage is a huge attraction to wildlife. Keep lids secured or store garbage in the garage, especially overnight.Don't leave pet food or water bowls outside.
  • Clean below bird feeders, as seed can attract scavengers such as raccoons and skunks.
  • Pick up fruit as soon as it has fallen from the trees.
  • Trim any branches that overhang the roof. These branches provide easy access to your roof for wildlife.
  • Remove brush piles from your property.
  • Limit the use of mulch which holds insects that wildlife will dig through to find.
  • Check your deck and block or screen off any entry points that allow wildlife access.
  • Check your roof eaves, overhangs, vents and even cracks around windows or pipes that lead into the house for bat entryways. They can squeeze through openings 1/2 inch wide. Do not patch holes between May and September or you may trap young bats inside.
  • Make sure your chimney is capped.
  • Keep your lawn grub-free and you will prevent raccoons, skunks and opossums from tearing up your lawn to feast on them.
  • Sprinkle plants with epsom salts or cayenne pepper to deter wildlife from feasting on them.
  • The best way to keep animals out of your garden is to erect a chicken wire fence at least 36" above the ground and 12" below the ground. Bend the underground portion away from the garden in an "L" shape. This will prevent animals from burrowing under the fence. Draping garden or nylon netting across the plants sometimes helps. Place mesh cages over young plants. Sink bottles into the ground allowing the wind to blow across them creating a noise deterrent. Motion-activated noisemakers available from garden centers, owl decoys, pin wheels and helium-filled mylar balloons weighted to the ground can also be effective deterrents.
  • Canada geese will be much less likely to nest in areas where they cannot see predators approaching. Manicured lawns are extremely attractive to geese. Try letting grasses grow around ponds and lakeshores to create a 2 foot high perimeter fencing along the water's edge. Do not feed the Canada geese! Small flags, mylar taping and other highly visible materials which blow in the wind can also be utilized as geese inhibitors. You may also want to apply a product to your lawn called Rejex-it, a grape flavored repellant. Call 1-800-232-5907 for a local distributor.
  • If a wild animal has made a nest on your property, place ammonia soaked rags near the nest site, shine a light continuously on the nest and place a radio nearby tuned to loud music. In most cases, the parent will be encouraged to move the young elsewhere. If there are multiple babies, allow her a couple of nights to make the move.

Other Resources:

  • If you have a problem with pigeons roosting on your deck or balcony, contact the Bird Barrier Company for a free catalog. They specialize in humane bird exclusion devices. Call 1-800-503-5444 or visit
  • If you are experiencing bat problems, contact the Bat Conservation Organization at 248-645-3232 or visit
  • If you are experiencing problems with deer, contact the Deer Resistant Nursery, a mail order company that specializes in deer resistant flowering plants. Call 1-800-595-3650 or visit
  • You can also contact for information on a scarecrow motion-sensor device to hook up to a water hose for gardens.
WildlifeA final word:
Trapping and relocating wildlife is not a solution. If your yard or home is appealing to wildlife and an animal is trapped and relocated, another animal will most likely take its place. The best long term solution is to keep your property in good repair and use appropriate and humane deterrents to discourage wildlife from taking up residence.

Contacting the Michigan Humane Society:
We appreciate your concern for our wild friends. For more information, please contact the Michigan Humane Society Wildlife Department, located at the Rochester Hills shelter, at (248) 852-7420, x224, Monday - Saturday, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.


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