Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Time for Wildlife to Have Their Annual Feeding Frenzy

AAG Note: Some tips from the HSUS as the wildlife in Fayette County becomes more visible this fall.

Autumn is here which means a wild feeding frenzy for wildlife in preparation for their long winter ahead. Deer, turkeys, squirrels, mice and raccoons are among the animals busy feasting on fallen acorns.

Laura Simon, field director of urban wildlife for The Humane Society of the United States explains, "These animals need to fatten up for winter, whether they are true hibernators like woodchucks or whether they merely hunker down and remain inactive during cold spells like raccoons. If wild animals do not go into winter in good condition, their chance of surviving times of minimal food and extreme cold lessen significantly. And, acorns are the hottest item in town! Even deer are leaving shrubs alone this time of year if they can get their acorn fix."

While this frenzy can sometimes mean frustration for homeowners, The HSUS has some tips for co-existing with the four most common human "side effects" of the season:

Problem 1: Holes in house siding

Woodpeckers drill mightily on house siding, looking for rotted wood and insects beneath. On cedar, this loud sound -- and resulting damage -- can be alarming.

Solution: Mylar

Attach silvery Mylar bird tape or balloons above where the drilling occurs, to scare the birds away.

Problem 2: Holes in the lawn

Squirrels are burying acorns and other nuts in the lawn.

Solution: Do nothing

Do nothing! These holes are merely cosmetic and do not hurt the lawn.

Problem 3: Garbage raids

Mammals like raccoons may tip garbage cans and skunks, opossums, crows and gulls may join in the feast.

Solution: Put garbage cans out in the morning of trash collection rather than leaving them out all night for nocturnal opportunists to tip. Use cans with secure lids to keep birds out or purchase an Animal Stopper™ garbage can which keeps the trash secure by holding the lid in place.

Problem 4: Porch visitors

People who feed pets outdoors are shocked by the appearance of opossums, skunks and others waiting for the free buffet.

Solution: Limit food

Feed your pets indoors only, or pick up and remove any uneaten food after 20 minutes of offering it outside.

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