Just like people, animals love food. But their appetite can get them into trouble. A big cause of human-wildlife conflicts is food attractants. When animals smell food left out by people, they will track it down. This is especially common in the winter when wild food sources are scarcer.
Not only can these unwelcomed animal visitors be a nuisance to people, the close proximity to humans and vehicles can put the animals at risk. But this problem is entirely avoidable. The best solution: remove the food source.
Keep trash bins inside. Or if they must be left out, lock them closed – secure with a bungie cord if needed. If you catch a raccoon, opossum, or any other critter rummaging through the garbage, simply tip the barrel over and the animal will run away. Then, be sure to fasten the lid to prevent animals from re-entering the trash.
Do not feed your pets outside. Even if your pets eat all the food provided to them, wildlife can still be attracted to the smell of the food and any crumbs left behind.
Do not throw trash outside your car windows, including compostable items like apple cores. The smell of the food lures animals to the road where they are at risk of being hit. Also at risk are the predators of these animals. When a rodent eats a tossed apple core on the side of the road, it is more easily seen by raptors flying overhead. Frequently, when these raptors swoop down to catch their easy prey, they become the victim. Each year, we take in several hawks and other raptors that have been hit by cars. Save a life and toss your trash in a proper disposal once you arrive at your destination.
Remove the tasty temptations and protect yourself, your pets, and your local wildlife.