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Living with Wildlife

Keep those critters out of your house!

The Living with Wildlife column is published monthly in the Rocky Mountain Outlook to create awareness of living with wildlife challenges. We also work with local newspapers, radio and television stations to promote wildlife safety issues through the media on a weekly basis.

How many of you have been lying in bed at night to hear the pitter patter of footsteps running back and forth above your bedroom in the attic?

Yes, it’s that time of the year again, where small mammals such as squirrels, mice, and pack rats seek warmer climes to spend the winter, and can end up in our homes. Once inside a home, these small mammals can cause property damage, such as ‘re-arranging’ insulation and chewing on electrical wires. Daytime rodent sightings, droppings, and chewed access holes all indicate you may have unwanted house guests.

Below are a few actions you can take to deter the influx of small mammals:

  • Ensure wires, pipes, and cables entering the house are sealed at the entry point.
  • Keep areas around the perimeter of the house clear of clutter.
  • Maintain a distance of a couple feet between your house and surrounding shrubs and trees to make it harder for the animals to access your house.
  • Mount bird feeders away from the house, and clean the ground underneath, because bird-seed will attract small mammals.
  • Cap your chimney with either galvanized or stainless steel.
  • Inspect your house for any openings that mammals could enter. A mouse can squeeze through any pencil sized opening! Although squirrels and pack rats are larger, they still can squeeze into awfully small spaces. The cupboard under your kitchen sink is a common entry point.
  • Stack stored goods off the floor and away from the base walls.

If critters have already found their way into your home, several options exist. The most humane one is to call the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation at 1-403-946-2361. They provide site visits to show you how to wildlife-proof your home and have humane techniques for removing wildlife. They can also help with repairing damage caused by critters after the removal.

Remember, it’s always better to prevent animals from getting in your house in the first place than to have to figure out how to remove them without harming them.

Thank you to our sponsors whose generosity has made WildSmart a reality.

Residents are encouraged to report any sightings of bear, cougar or aggressive elk to 403-591-7755.
For all public safety emergencies call 9-1-1.


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