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Frightening Devices for Nuisance Wildlife

Definition of Frightening Devices

Frightening devices are techniques and products non-chemical in nature that are designed to scare or invoke fear in the target animal without causing physical harm. Repellents, by contrast, are chemicals used to stop an undesirable behavior in an animal without causing permanent harm. 

The purpose of frightening devices is to make animals uncomfortable so that they decide to move on. For information use of frightening devices click Best Practices with Frightening Devices

Types of Frightening Devices

Visual Frightening Devices

Irritape by Bird-X. Photo by Dallas Virchow.These are products that rely on flashing or predator images to scare nuisance animals away. You have probably seen the owls to scare pigeons. The predator images tend to only work, if they work at all, for only a couple of days. They work better when moved around and not left in one spot. Flashing lights work better for woodpeckers. This is why Mylar tape sold under various brand names is used to repel them. Just remember, it doesn't work 100 percent of the time.

Visual frightening devices include

  • lasers
  • effigies (plastic owl and scare crows)
  • Balloons
  • Strobe lights
  • Kites

Audible Frightening Devices

Propane cannonThese are sounds of distressed animals or the noises of predators that are used to frighten animals. These are also short term but the effectiveness can be quite good. Down side is they can be potentially expensive and annoying to your neighbors. Rent before you buy is my advice. You should know too that at the present there is no evidence that ultrasonics work in the real world.

Audible frightening devices include:

  • Distress calls
  • Propane cannons
  • Sirens

Audio-Visual Frightening Devices

Pyrotechnics used to frighten nuisance wildlife. Photo by Margo Supplies, Ltd. As the name suggests, audio-visual frightenind devices combine sound and sight to frighten birds from sensitive locations. They almost always work to scare the target animals away. But as with other frightening devices, nuisance animals may quickly return once use of the audio-visual devices stop. Users of these devices must also ensure that all safety and legal restrictions are followed carefully. For example, wildfires have started following the use of pyrotechnics.

Audio-Visual frightening devices include

  • Pyrotechnics, such as bird bangers and screamers
  • Discharge of a firearm (aimed where animals won't be hurt)
  • Scary-man, which is a motion activated air-filled balloon that moves while noises occur

Biological Frightening Devices

Hawk. Photo by unknown.Biological frightening devices refers to items that exploit a natural fear inherent in the animals you want to frighten. For example, a Border collie looks and acts like a fox or coyote that scares the daylights out of Canada geese. Likewise hawks will frighten birds. While these tools are very effective, they are also expensive to employ and often work only as long as the predators are present. Care must also be taken to ensure that the animals don't hurt protected species.

Biological frightening devices include

  • Dogs
  • Hawks
  • Scat mat, an rug that gives animals a harmless shock when they stand on it
  • Scare Crow-a motion-activated sprinker that shoots water at animals that trigger the sensor
  • BIOLOGICAL ANIMALS: Guard animals like llamas and dogs can provide protection especially for flocks, herds and fields.

    URINE: There is evidence that animal urine, typically predator urine can reduce damage to property. One study showed that the use of predator urine reduce the amount of damage to cabbage patches by woodchucks. But I should remind you that most urbanites want 100% reduction not a partial reduction in damage. Farmers can sustain some crop losses, but most urbanites will not tolerate any. So don't be surprised if your urine doesn't work the way you want it.

    Besides, wildlife quickly become habituated to the smell. If you plan on using urines, remember that they are not necessarily sterile. So don't use them around plants you intend to eat. Instead wearing rubber gloves, add them to a cloth and hang them near the plants but a safe distance away. REMEMBER TO TREAT URINE FOR WHAT IT IS. URINE. IT IS POTENTIALLY BIOLOGICALLY HAZARDOUS TO YOU THE USER. TREAT IT LIKE A BIOLOGICAL DANGER.

    SEXUAL: These types of repellents or harassment techniques are quite rare. However, there are two products that has been known to work on female raccoons, "Raccoon Eviction Fluid" and "Vanish." They essentially uses parts of a male raccoon to scare the female to move her young. You see, other than mating season, males and females don't interact. And if a male finds young raccoons, he will eat them. Raccoon Repellent.   How do you know if you have won? You stop hearing the animal in your building. Plug the hole with newspaper and see if remains in place for 3 plus days. Fill the hole with dirt and see if it remains for 3 plus days. Damage to property ceases. Never, Never, Never seal a hole off unless you are certain that the animals have left. Visit our information on the Newspaper technique. Failure to follow these instructions may result in some truly remarkable animal attempts to reenter building. Or worse, the trapped animal may die leaving you with the smell of its demise.


Preventing Wildlife Damage

Hazing Wildlife

Frightening Devices

Frightening Devices--Best Use

Why Repellents Fail



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