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What to do about Squirrels, Raccoons and Skunks frequenting your Toronto home

577 480 Nisha Muire

Life in the city has taken on a distinctly country-like feel lately with racoons, skunks and squirrels roaming neighbourhoods at night in search of food. While cute and furry, these critters can cause a lot of damage to property, set up unwanted residence in your home and get into fights with family pets; they are also carriers of very undesirable germs and disease including rabies and the ticks that carry Lyme disease. Keeping these particular animals away from your home is definitely crucial to the proper enjoyment of your outdoor space – especially in the evenings when they are waking up and coming out of their burrows and nests looking for food.
The best way to keep these furry pests at bay is through exclusion – fencing off your property so that they can’t come in. However, as this is quite drastic and not necessarily the way most people want to go, there are alternatives that will stop them from coming too close.
Sprinkling deterrents around your home can work wonders at keeping these critters at bay. Commonly used sprays include coyote and fox urine – items which can easily be purchased at big box home and garden stores as well as online.
Scare them!
Similar to scarecrows placing moving objects in your yard can be enough to scare animals away. If you have trees in your yard, attached long shimmery streamers or anything else that will blow in the wind and move. Items can include windmills, flags or material.
Motion sensors
As raccoons and skunks are nocturnal, they only come out at night to forage for food. Adding motion detectors to your lights will cause them to think twice before entering your yard again.
Water, water
If you happen to be watching and see the animals when they enter your yard – blast them with a jet of water from your hose. Usually this will deter them from returning.
If none of the above solutions work for you, try pest-proofing your place but adding mesh screening around the underneath of porches – making sure that it goes down at least 6 inches and you turn it outwards for about a foot before covering with dirt. In fact, cover any opening to your home with mesh and secure properly. Fill any burrows or nests you find with dirt and use bricks or other heavy objects to keep the lids on garbage cans securely.
You can also place live traps around the areas these animals frequent and then call your local borough to find out where you can release them once caught. Whatever you do, remember that animals in the wild are dangerous – regardless of how cute they are and that you should never think of tackling one by yourself.


Nisha Muire

All stories by: Nisha Muire