Protecting Pets from Wildlife
Introduction & Disclaimer
Prevention is an imperfect discipline. Wildlife adapt to our methods and materials and workmanship break and decay over time. Monitoring and maintenance are necessary in any prevention program. Acting quickly before a problem gets out of hand will save you a lot of trouble down the road.
If you are looking to mitigate a problem that is already occurring please visit the solutions links in the menu bar. If you aren't sure what the cause of the problem is then visit the animal damage identification section.
- Predators, like all wildlife, need shelter and cover to survive. Changing the landscape to reduce the ability of the predator to hide and stalk your pet.
Physical Barriers (to keep wildlife out)
Sometimes, fences have to be able to not only keep pets on your property, but also to keep other wildlife from entering your property.
Fence type is determined by the kinds of species you are seeking to protect your pet against.
Coyotes. Fence should be at least 6 feet higher than the surrounding terrain. Some claim a device known as the "coyote roller" is effective in making smaller fences coyote proof by preventing the coyote from gaining a foothold and pulling himself over. However, the fence should be at least 5 feet high before installing this device. Fences must also be secure to the ground (better to have them buried in the ground) to prevent coyotes from crawling under the fence.
Skunks and similar animals. Install a 4 foot fence with 12 inches of the fence buried one inch below the ground surface, bent away from the property at a 90 degree angle. This fence skirt will stop an animal from digging underneath the fence to gain entry into the property.
Raccoons. See skunks. Fence should be as tall as possible. To prevent climbing, install an electrical wire near the top of the fence (if legal) or angle the top portion of the fence to prevent further climbing. Pay special attention to corners of the fence as these are often neglected.
Sometimes exclusion is not practical. In those situations, population management may be the only viable option. Remember, like mowing your grass, population control requires regular work. Population control can be accomplished through any of the techniques listed below. Always follow national, state, and local laws before performing any wildlife control activities. To learn how to implement these techniques, visit Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage (1994)