Wildlife Problems and Trapping Information:
Many types of wildlife are attracted to our yards because food is plentiful and easy to obtain. Being aware of your potential contribution to this environment helps reduce nuisance animal incidents in your area.
- Avoid feeding wild animals, including birds. Birdseed attracts rats and other rodents, a known food source for predators like coyotes.
- Feed your pet indoors at all times. Dog and cat food left outdoors attracts a variety of wild animals, from skunks to coyotes. Feeding your pet outdoors may also make them vulnerable to wildlife attacks.
- Secure your trash and trash cans. Don’t place trash outside overnight or the day before pickup. Keep your garbage in your garage or in a secure trash can (not plastic bags) until the morning of pickup.
- Pick up any fruits or vegetables at ground level; various wild animals enjoy these types of food.
- Keep your pets inside and under your control at all times. An animal allowed to roam off-leash, even in your front yard, presents an easy meal for a predator.
- Spay or neuter your pet. Coyotes are attracted by the scent of female dogs in heat, just as unsterilized male dogs may be lured by female coyote scents. View low cost pet vaccination options.
- Clean your property to remove overgrowth and underbrush. This helps eliminate nesting or denning sites for wildlife.
- Add lighting to your backyard. Wild animals tend to avoid well-lit areas at night.
- Avoid using mothballs and ammonia as a deterrent. In many cases, the scents are so close to animal urine that they attract animals. Also avoid using coyote urine to deter other animals.
- Cover crawlspace and attic openings. Use heavy gauge, rustproof wire mesh (not chicken wire).
- Carefully inspect your eaves and other areas where the roof and house join. Repair deteriorating boards, warped siding and loose shingles.
- If you have a chimney, make sure that it has a secure cap. Chimneys without caps are open invitations to raccoons looking for "hollow trees" in which to give birth and raise their young.
- If you have a deck, you can prevent animals from digging underneath it by creating an L-shaped barrier. Attach heavy gauge wire mesh to the base of the deck, sink it six inches into the ground, bend it 90 degrees away from the deck for 12 inches and then cover it with soil.
Sometimes it can be hard to determine when you need to step in and help a baby wild animal that you may find. The best thing to do is leave any sort of wild life alone! However, there are some instances where it may need your help. If your dog or cat has brought the animal to you, if it is bleeding or injured, or if there is a dead parent nearby, either try to safely capture the animal and transport them to an appropriate clinic or call Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for help.
You should also never feed baby wild animals. Although you may think the animal is hungry or thirsty, it is best to not give it any food or water. It may be the wrong food and they may choke. They could also be in shock and force-feeding will cause more harm.
If it is an emergency and you are not able to find an appropriate rehab center in time, you may take the wild animal to a veterinarian clinic for emergency care. However, please be aware that you will be pocketing the cost of the bill since veterinarians do not cover costs of wild animal care.
Contact DFW Wildlife for information on how to help baby animals: 972-234-9453
How to Safely Capture and Transport a Baby
ALWAYS use gloves! Never touch a wild animal with your bare hands. If gloves are not accessible and it is an emergency, find something to cover your hands like a towel or an old t-shirt. Put the animal in a cardboard box with holes and a towel in the bottom. You can then call the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department or go online to www.tpwd.texas.gov to find a rehabilitation center.
Cat moms often leave their babies alone during the day so they can eat and return to feed the kittens at night. If you find baby cats, please keep an eye on them and watch for the mom to return. If the mom does not return by the next day, then you can try to capture the kittens and transport them to a shelter or a rescue.
If a baby squirrel falls from their nest or the nest falls out of a tree, then give the mom time to reclaim and move the baby. If the baby is uninjured, keep all animals and people away from it and monitor from a distance. If the baby is injured or the mom has not returned for her young, call the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for instructions on where to take it.
If a baby bird has fallen out of their nest and is uninjured, you can try to gently place it back in the original nest (use gloves!) if it is safe for you to do so. If the animal is injured or in danger, then it is best to contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department so they can find an appropriate rehab. If a young bird is hopping on the ground, leave it be and watch to see if its parents come by and feed it. Young fledglings can sometimes hop around on the ground for a week before flying.
Rabbit moms only visit their young a few times a day to avoid attracting predators. Do not touch baby bunnies because there is a good chance that the mother will then abandon them. If the nest is in a dangerous area or where your pets may be able to find it, you will want to contact the wildlife department to see if they have a recommendation about relocating or about trying to “hide” the nest.
First, make sure there are no adults nearby before getting too close to a baby opossum. If an opossum is 7-8 inches long then leave it alone, at this point they are big enough to live on their own! If the animal is injured or is smaller than 7-8 inches, you can try to safely transfer the baby to a box with holes and call the local wildlife department for further instruction.
Remember: Never feed baby wild animals! Although you may think the animal is hungry or thirsty, it is best to not give it any food or water. It may be the wrong food and they may choke. They could also be in shock and force-feeding will cause more harm.
Animal Help Now
Texas Parks and Wildlife
Texas Parks and Wildlife has made available a list of permitted wildlife rehabilitators in the state of Texas for your use should you find a wild animal in need of assistance.