Glossary of Wildlife Damage Management Terms and Acronyms

Glossary of Wildlife Damage Management Terms



ACO An acronym for Animal Control Officer. This is a typical title for individuals employed by government agencies to handle stray dogs, cats, and other domestic animals. However, in some communities, ACO's handle wildlife complaints as well.
Anticoagulant A pesticide that kills animals by disrupting the ability of its blood to clot. Most toxicants used to kill rodents (mice/rats) are rodenticides. Anticoagulants are classified as first (older) or second (younger) generation. 
Biological Carrying Capacity A scientific term used to descripe the point at which animals reach numbers sufficient to damage the underlying habitat upon which they rely to survive. See Social Carrying Capacity.
Body-Gripping Trap A type of trap, designed to kill the animal by collapsing the animal's throat/thorax. Traps of this type include, Koro, Conibear, etc. Click for Photo
Box Trap Frequently mislabeled as a "live trap", the box trap is simiilar in design to a cage trap, but the walls are solid.
Cage Trap Frequently mislabeled as a "live trap", the cage trap uses mesh (not solid walls) to imprison an animal. Click for photo.
Chimney Cap A professionally manufactured device designed to keep rain and animals out of a chimney. Click for Chimney Cap Photo
CNI Certified NWCOA Instructor. This person is qualified to teach a certified training program. He/she is under the direction of the Master NWCOA Instructor (MNI).
Colony Trap A device designed to capture more than one animal at a time. Colony traps are used to capture muskrats, bats and flying squirrels. Colony traps used for mice are typically called "multi-catch traps" Click for Photo of a mouse multi-catch trap.
Coon Slang term used by wildlife control operators when talking about raccoons. In wildlife control circles, it is not a racist term.
CWCP® Acronym for Certified Wildlife Control Operator. The certification is granted by the National Wildlife Control Operators Association. Details on the requirements can be found at their site
Egg™ Trap Species specific trap, or better described as an encapsulated foot trap,  designed to capture a raccoon. Click for photo
Encapsulated-foot Trap A type of limb restraining device that requires the animal to reach into a tube and push or pull a lever. These traps re primarily used for capturing raccoons. Commonly and mistakenly called species specific traps or dog-proof traps. While these traps do reduce the likelihood of catching non-targets and dogs, trappers are not guaranteed of these results. Image of several encapsulated-foot traps
Euthanasia Literally means "Good Death." Euthanasia is a term used to describe methods of killing animals that are deemed to cause the least amount of pain and distress. Typically, approved methods include, Carbon-dioxode narcosis, lethal injection, and others. Learn more at Euthanasia
  • Activities and products used to prevent an animal from gaining access to or cause damage to areas and items deemed valuable by humans. For example, installing a stainless steel chimney cap on one's chimney prevents raccoons from residing inside. Chimney Cap
  • Activities taken by an animal controller to evict a resident animal from a location. NWCO's will install one-way doors over squirrel holes to allow the squirrel to leave the structure but be unable to reinvade the structure.
First Generation Anticoagulant First generation anticoagulants require the rodent to feed on the toxic bait multiple times before receiving enough of the active ingredient to kill it. See Second Generation Anticoagulant
Foothold Term used by professionals to correct the more popular term for the trap "leghold." The word foothold is a better one as it more accurately reflects where the trap should catch the animal. An animal's foot is more padded and provides a better more human catching point than the leg. Foothold image
Frightening Device A technique or piece of equipment that exploits through non-chemical means the animal's fear to cause it to leave. Frightening methods are categorized by their mode of action such as audible, visual, audio-visual, and biological,
GUP Acronym for General Use Pesticides. General Use Pesticides may be purchased over-the-counter without needing a license.
Grinner Slang for opossum. The term most likely originated from the observation that opossums often have their mouth open showing off their 50 sharp teeth.
Invasive Species A term to identify animals that exist in an area that was not part of their historic range except that their activity and presence causes negative environmental impact. For example, the Burmese python  is an invasive species in the Florida everglades that is threatening native species.
LD50 Lethal Dose 50%. It is the amount of poison needed to kill 1/2 of the study population. Typically the number is given in milligrams per kilogram. So a 1 gram toxicant per kilogram of the target species can kill 50% of the animals and another toxicant requires 2 grams per kilogram to kill 50% of the target species than the first is more toxic (i.e. dangerous) than the second because less toxicant is needed to kill the target animals.
Live Trap
  • In common parlance, the term used to describe cages or boxes that capture the animal without grasping any part of its body and without killing it. Unfortunately, this term makes people think that traps that aren't boxes or cages necessarily must be kill traps. This isn't the case. Footholds, snares and other devices, can also (and usually do) capture animals without killing them.
  • Term used to describe a constellation of traps used to capture wildlife without killing or harming them, such as footholds, cable-restraints, box and cage traps.
MNI An acronym standing for Master NWCOA Instructor. The MNI is the person in charge of a specific traiing program. Hs/she is responsible for overseeing the CNI (Certified NWCOA Instructors. The MNI program was started in 2012 by NWCOA.
Multi-catch Trap See "Colony Trap"
NWCO It is pronounced "NewKo" and is an acronym which stands for Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator. A NWCO is a professional who handles wildlife damage complaints. See "WCO."
NWCOA An acronym (pronounced, New-Koh-ah) for the National Wildlife Control Operators Association. To learn more visit
PAC An acronym for Problem Animal Controller. PAC's (pronounced 'Packs') is the acronym used to describe wildlife control professionals in the state of Massachusetts. It is a synonym for NWCO and WCO.
PCO An acronym for Pest Control Operator. While wildlife control operators can be understood as pest controllers, the term PCO is normally used to designate those involved in the management of insects and vermin such as mice and rats. Typically, PCO's don't handle wildlife like raccoons, skunks, moles, etc.
Physical Control A term usually used by Pest Controllers to refer to techniques in mitigating pest problems without the use of toxicants or fumigants. Physical control methods can include, but are not limited to, vacuuming, trapping, etc.
Positive Set A positive set is when the trapper places a trap over the hole, such that only the animal coming out of the hole will enter the trap.
'Possum Slang for opossum.
Primary Hazard The relative risk to the first animal that might encounter the pesticide.
Relocation An event where an animal is moved from where it was captured to another nearby location but within the immediate vicinity. For example, moving a squirrel from a person's basement and releasing it on the backyard. See Translocation. To learn why translocation is such a bad idea, click inhumane
Repellent A chemical, audible or visual device purported to keep wildlife away from a certain area or material. Repellents rely on one of the following modes of action, fear, pain, or tactile response. Click repellents
Ridge Vent A deliberate cap at the peak of a roof that allows hot air to escape. It is covered by a small roof to prevent rain from entering the attic. Click for a photo of a ridge vent.
RUP Acronym for Restricted Use Pesticide. Restricted Use Pesticides are those whose use requires one to be licensed by the government's pesticide licensing board.
Second Generation Anticoagulant As the name suggests, these anticoagulants were invented after the first generation anticoagulants. They are capable of killing a rodent in a single feeding. In recent years, concerns regarding the risk of secondary poisoning with second generation anticoagulants has increased.
Secondary Poisoning Mortality that results from an animal's consumption of another animal that succumbed to pesticides. For example, a number of house mice die from mouse poison. A scavenger eats the carcasses of the poisoned mice, and dies from the toxicant still resident in the carcasses of the poisoned mice.
Social Carrying Capacity Social carrying capacity refers to the number of animals or animal damage levels people will tolerate in a given area. Typically, the land will feed a lot more animals (biological carrying capacity) than will be tolerated by humans.
Species-specific Traps These are typically restraining traps that are designed to reduce the likelihood of non-target capture. Examples include but are not limited to Collarum® trap, Coon Cuff, Lil' Grizz,, Coon Dagger, and others.
Suitcase Trap Term used to describe cage-style beaver traps which capture beavers by enveloping them in a cage that closes like a suit case. Brands of suitcase-style beaver traps include, Hancock, Bailey, and Easy Set. Photo of Hancock Beaver Trap
Translocation An even where an animal is moved and released a great distance from where it was captured. For example, a squirrel caught on your property and then transported 20 miles away and released. Translocated animals often suffer from disorientation and therefore die due to the inability to find food, water and shelter quickly enough. To learn why translocation is such a bad idea, click inhumane
WCO An acronym which stands for Wildlife Control Operator. A synonym to NWCO. Some professionals prefer being called WCO's rather than NWCO's as they don't like to call wildlife a nuisance.
Zoonosis Diseases transmittable from animals to humans. Click for disease information
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