Problem Wildlife in the Garden and Yard
Although many people enjoy seeing birds at feeders or deer in their yard, some wildlife can cause problems. Wildlife can upset homeowners if they stray into gardens or landscaped areas and cause damage. Wild animals can dig in gardens or under structures, damaging plants and property. Some animals may only cause problems during breeding season or when they raise young. Animals are drawn to gardens and yards because they provide food, water, or shelter. Wildlife can be very persistent, even if harassed. Changes to your yard or garden may be necessary to make your property less attractive to them.
Tips to prevent and deal with nuisance wildlife:
- Identify your pest first. Different species have very different habits and needs, which can help you choose a control strategy. Your local Cooperative Extension Service or state wildlife agency can help.
- Keep your garbage in a can with a tight-fitting lid that cannot be opened by animals.
- Bird feeders and suet blocks may attract raccoons, possums, or even bears. Store birdseed in a metal trashcan or another secure container.
- Squirrels CAN be excluded from bird feeders. Hang bird feeders where only birds can reach them. Decide if squirrel baffles or trick poles will work for your property.
- Birdbaths, fountains, or pet water bowls may attract unwanted wildlife, especially when water is scarce.
- Place birdbaths where wildlife cannot reach them or provide water away from the home to help discourage problem wildlife.
- Fencing, plant choice, and landscape design can help make your garden and yard less attractive to wildlife. Your Cooperative Extension Service or Master Gardener may have suggestions for your area.
- Sturdy fencing may be needed to protect plants in your garden or yard. Electric fencing may be helpful for persistent wildlife.
- If you choose to use a repellent, be sure the product can be used where and how you want to use it. Repellents for cats and dogs may be very different from those meant to repel deer and rabbits.
- Consider getting a professional involved. Someone with experience trapping and handling wildlife can be very helpful.
- Your county may have resources for 'animal control.' Consider contacting them to find out.
- Always read and follow the label when using a pesticide, including animal repellents. Mothballs cannot be used outside as animal repellents; always read the label.
If you have questions about pesticides, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information on Specific Types of Wildlife
- How to Identify and Assess Wildlife Damage - Nevada Department of Agriculture
- Ground Hole Identification - Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management
- Resolving Human-Nuisance Wildlife Conflicts - University of Georgia Extension
- State, Territorial, and Tribal Fish and Wildlife Offices - US Fish and Wildlife Service
- Nuisance Wildlife Repellent Handbook - Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
- Deer Damage Management Techniques: Non-Lethal - Maryland Department of Natural Resources
- Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance - Rutgers NJAES Extension
- Pests in Gardens and Landscapes: Deer - University of California Statewide IPM
- Managing White-Tailed Deer in Suburban Environments: A Technical Guide - Cornell Cooperative Extension
- Constructing a Deer Fence - University of Connecticut Extension
- Living with Wildlife: Pocket Gophers - Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Pests in Gardens and Landscapes: Pocket Gophers - University of California Statewide IPM Program
- Meadow Voles and Pocket Gophers: Management in Lawns, Gardens, and Cropland - Pacific Northwest Extension
- Controlling Pocket Gopher Damage to Conifer Seedlings - Oregon State University Extension
- Moles and Their Control - University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension
- Controlling the Eastern Mole - University of Arkansas Extension
- Living with Wildlife: Moles - Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Moles - Seattle Public Utilities
- Pests in Gardens and Landscapes: Moles - University of California Statewide IPM Program
- The Virginia Opossum: Our Only Native Marsupial - Alabama Cooperative Extension System
- Controlling Raccoon and Opossum Damage - University of Nebraska – Lincoln Extension
- Living With Wildlife In Illinois: Virginia Opossum - University of Illinois Extension
- Pests in Gardens and Landscapes: Opossums - University of California Statewide IPM Program
- Living with Wildlife: Rabbits - Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Prevention and Control of Rabbit Damage - University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension
- Rabbits - University of California Statewide IPM Program
- Rabbit Ecology and Damage Management - University of Wisconsin Extension
- Keeping Rabbits Away from Desirable Plants in Your Garden and Landscape - Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension
- Jackrabbit Damage Management - eXtension.org
- Raccoons - University of California Statewide IPM Program
- Living with Raccoons - Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Controlling Raccoon and Opossum Damage - University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension
- Raccoon and Opossum Damage Control (video) - Missouri Department of Conservation
- Skunks - University of California Statewide IPM Program
- Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis) - University of Illinois Extension
- Dealing with Skunks - University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension
- Managing Skunk Problems in Kentucky - University of Kentucky Extension
- Tree Squirrels - University of California Statewide IPM Program
- What Can You Do About Squirrels? - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- What to Do About Squirrels - The Humane Society of the United States
- Living with Wildlife: Tree Squirrels - Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Control of Tree Squirrel Damage - University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension
- Controlling Ground Squirrel Damage - Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
- Vole Control: Habitat Modification (video) - University of Nebraska-Lincoln
- Voles (Meadow Mice) - University of California Statewide IPM Program
- Voles - South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
- Vole Control in Lawns and Landscapes - Kansas State University Extension
Woodchucks / Groundhogs / Marmots
- Woodchucks: Wildlife Damage Management - Cornell University Extension
- Managing Woodchucks - University of Missouri Extension
- Woodchuck: Marmota monax - Animal Diversity Web, University of Michigan
- Groundhog Damage Control (video) - Missouri Department of Conservation