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The City of Westminster contains an abundant wildlife population. With our location
being near the foothills we have the opportunity to see and experience a greater variety
of wildlife than many other urban communities in the metro region. We have raccoons,
foxes, skunks, coyotes, and a variety of birds, to name a few. Although these animals
are wonderful to observe they can also pose a conflict when they interact in close
proximity to humans and domesticated animals.

                               Prevention is the Key

In a Nutshell
   Do Not Feed The Wildlife – this is the number one attractant of unwanted wildlife.
When you provide a food source they begin to expect and depend on your generosity.
Wild animals are capable of finding plenty of food on their own.

   Store all trash in lid-tight containers and keep it in the garage or a shed until its
scheduled pick up day. Garbage is a perfect attractant for all wildlife as it provides an
easy food source.

    Keep pet food inside

   Secure pet doors during evening and nighttime hours

    Cover window wells with commercially available grates or bubbles or make a cover
using inch hardware cloth or chicken wire

    Close holes around and under the foundation of your home and outbuildings so
animal will not be tempted burrow and den. Bury wire mesh one to two feet deep in
places where animal might gain access.

    Screen fireplace chimneys, furnace, attic and dryer vents and keep dampers closed
to avoid guests. Chimney caps should be utilized all year and need to be checked

    Fence gardens and cover fruit trees with netting to protect your harvest.
Scarecrows, hardware ground cloth and lights are other deterrents that can be effective
in gardens.

   Check and repair any damaged, loose or rotten boards that overhang your roof.
Squirrels, bats, and birds find this easy access into your house.

   Seal all cracks and holes around the foundation of your home that are larger than
one-quarter inch in diameter to keep out rats, mice, bats and snakes.
Any habitat altering methods must be employed consistently for 7 to 14 days and
monitored closely. The following is a list of deterrents used in most mammal-based
nuisance issues.

Under the deck, shed, or other denning areas –
In most cases if you are having problems with animals burrowing under a structure it is
most likely a skunk or a fox. In either case, a couple of methods can be implemented to
deter the animal from living in and around your area.

    Place ammonia soaked rags in or around the “den” as an inexpensive means to
     deter burrowing wildlife. Rags soaked in full-strength ammonia can be positioned
     around the hole or into the hole by tying a rope around the rag to enable the rag
     to be removed to refresh the ammonia soak. Since ammonia is a liquid, it will
     evaporate in warm weather and wash off in a rain storm. It is important to check
     the rags daily and refresh the ammonia as needed.

    Moth balls are also an effective, inexpensive deterrent .They can be thrown into
     and placed around the hole. They too may need to be refreshed after a rain

In the Chimney –
The inside of a chimney resembles a hollowed out tree trunk which is the perfect habitat
for squirrels, raccoons, and the occasional bird. Many times a homeowner first notices
the new tenants when they hear scratching, movement, or other noise coming from the
fireplace. DO NOT open the damper to look at or attempt to remove the animal. This
can cause additional issues if the animal is to become loose in your house. Animals
become frightened and can cause damage in their attempt to find an exit. Contrary to
popular belief, the animals in the majority of cases can climb out the chimney on their
own; they just need a little encouragement to do so!

    A bowl of ammonia placed in the base of the fireplace is an effective tool to
     discourage raccoons or squirrels from continuing their stay. The odor of the
     ammonia is unpleasant and will encourage the animals to move to a less fragrant
     dwelling. If the ammonia is bothersome to you, close the doors to the fireplace or
     utilize an ammonia soaked rag, which is less potent than a bowl of ammonia.

    During the evening hours place a radio in the base of the fireplace tuned to a talk
     radio station. Allow the radio to play throughout the duration of the night. The
     persistent chatter the radio offers proves to be a nuisance to the chimney
     dwelling animals.

    Shine a light up the fireplace; the light detracts from their peaceful habitat.

If you apply the above three methods concurrently, the rate of prompt departure will
become more likely.
During the spring, many times animals will quickly nest to provide shelter for their family
of babies. If your new tenant has already nested and has a family of babies in the
chimney, don’t panic, they will relocate the family to a less disturbed area. Mothers are
not inclined to abandon their young and have the ability to readily move them when

Once you are certain the animal(s) has left your residence, immediately secure a fitted
chimney cap to the entrance of the chimney to prevent future problems.

In the Attic –
Much like a chimney, the attic provides a safe, comfortable, undisturbed dwelling for
animals such as raccoons and squirrels. The first step is to locate the entrance point of
the animal. Check all soffits surrounding your home, weaknesses or holes in the roof
and the siding that serves as a perimeter for your attic.

    Place ammonia soaked rags or moth balls in a sock or panty hose and place
     them in the attic to encourage the animals to relocate.

    During the evening hours place a radio tuned to a talk radio station in the attic.
     Allow the radio to play throughout the night and continue for seven to fourteen
     days. The persistent chatter the radio offers proves to be a nuisance to the attic
     dwelling animals.

    Shine a light in the attic to add an annoying disturbance.

It is recommended to use all three techniques concurrently to expedite the departure of
the attic dwelling animals.

Once the animal(s) is effectively deterred from your home you will need to repair the
entrance point immediately. Quarter inch hardware cloth can be used to cover holes or
entrance points.

In the Garden –
Gardens are the number one attractants for all wildlife: raccoons, skunks, bears, deer,
squirrels, birds, and the list goes on. Gardens are a wonderful, readily available food
source for nearly every species of wildlife.

    Use netting over fruit trees to help protect from birds, squirrels, deer, and other

    Electric fencing surrounding a garden will inhibit animals that are able to climb
     over or crawl through other types of fencing from gaining entry into the area

    Play a radio and shine lights to cause a disturbance for feeding animals

    Use a product called a “Scarecrow”, a water sprayer with a motion detection
     feature. It attaches to a hose in the yard and sprays the yard when it detects
      movement, scaring and deterring nuisance wildlife. “Scarecrows” can be
      purchased on-line or at many local garden shops.

Bird Deterrents-
Birds do not respond to the same deterrents as mammals and therefore require a
different strategy. Although birds can cause the same type of nuisance within a house
or garden that mammals do, they are not affected by ammonia, moth balls, or the
consistent noise from a radio. The following can be effective in deterring birds:

    Models of owls, hawks and snakes scare away pigeons temporarily. They must
     resemble their living counterpart and must be positioned in a manner that is
     natural for the actual predator. It is helpful to relocate models frequently.

    Mylar tape/streamers, old CD’s, balls of aluminum foil, or aluminum soda cans
     secured to trees, the side of the house, or roosting sites reflect light that proves
     to be an annoyance

    Balloons filled with helium and which have an "eye spot" (black dot) painted on
     one side (to emphasize movement) can be tied near the roost site

    Kid's pinwheels may also deter birds

    Noise making with wind chimes, wooden blocks clapped together or shaking a
     can of rocks is effective as long as the noise is loud and sudden. Noise repellents
     must be used frequently to be effective.

As with any deterrent, if you utilize several methods at the same time, success will be
more likely.

                                     Myth Buster

Myth: Trapping and relocating the animal out of the area resolves the problem of pest

FACT– Division of Wildlife has conducted studies on the effectiveness of trapping and
relocating wildlife. They found that the deficit from removing the animal(s) from the
original area actually causes a greater problem in subsequent years. Although we have
removed the select animal(s) in hopes of eliminating the problem, the species that
continue to occupy the same area will over-reproduce the following year to make up for
the shortage of the population. So the one or two raccoons that are an issue this year,
may be four or five problem raccoons next year.

Additionally, trapping and relocating animals may result in unnecessary suffering,
starvation and ultimately their death.
                               RECIPES FOR SUCCESS

“Home-made” Mammal Deterrents-

These deterrents can be used in and around gardens, the perimeter of property, or in
other areas where wildlife is unwanted.

Wildlife Repellent Recipe by Carol Martino
1 whole Spanish onion
1 jalapeno pepper
1 Tbs. cayenne pepper

Chop up the onion and pepper. Mix all ingredients together and boil in 2 quarts of water
for about 20 minutes. Let cool and then strain water through a cheesecloth into a

Using a garden sprayer, spray any area outside that wild animals or even neighborhood
pets are being a nuisance.

This mixture is non-toxic and safe, it will not harm the animal but will succeed in keeping
mammals away.

The Magic Formula by Jerry Baker
8 oz any liquid dish soap
8 oz castor oil
1 gallon water

Combine the castor oil and soap, making sure it is well mixed. Add to water and spray
entire area.

Helpful Numbers
Division of Wildlife (303)297-1192

Urban Wildlife Rescue (303)340-4911

Greenwood Wildlife Rehabiliation Sancuatary (303)823-8455


D.O.W. – Too Close for Comfort

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