How to keep small animals away

Eliminate sources of food

  • don’t leave garbage cans outside overnight
  • secure garbage lids, clean up spilled garbage and don’t leave garbage around a campsite or cottage
  • use a bungee cord or strap to keep the lid tight on your compost and garbage cans
  • empty the grease trap from barbecues
  • remove ripened fruit from trees and pick up vegetables and fallen fruit
  • protect bird feeders from small animals and clean up spilled food around the area
  • feed pets indoors

Keep animals out of building and yards

  • seal ground-level holes or cracks, warped siding or other entry points but be careful not to seal animals inside
  • don’t leave the garage door open and fix poorly fitting doors
  • secure your yard with appropriate fencing
  • install a chimney cap
  • trim branches near buildings to prevent easy access to roofs and chimneys
  • use scarecrows, hanging streamers, motion-sensitive lights or sprinklers to scare animals away

Limit places animals live

  • place smooth steel wraps around tree trunks to prevent animals from climbing
  • reduce shelter such as tall grass, brush, wood piles or rock piles
  • block potential den areas such as under decks or inside sheds
  • place gravel around the base of the building to discourage digging and nesting


To prevent skunks from digging up lawns for grubs, you should:

  • apply natural remedies from garden stores
  • lay down one-inch mesh chicken wire


  • prune trees
  • if pruning is not an option, tack a metal band 41 to 61 centimetres wide around the tree trunk below the first limbs, about 1.2 to 2.4 metres above the ground


  • use a diluted solution of hot sauce (15 millilitres of hot sauce in four to five litres of water) and spray it directly on the fruits and vegetables or around the garden

How to get small animals out of your home

If you need to remove a small animal from your home, you should do this in autumn when young have left the den or nest, to avoid separating a mother animal from her young.


  • the easiest way to remove raccoons from a chimney is to wait for them to move on their own — after eight to ten weeks, the female and young will leave and not return
  • if raccoons need to be evicted, do not smoke them out and do not pour anything, including naphtha flakes or mothballs, down the chimney - adult raccoons can easily climb out of a chimney, but their young can't


  • if a squirrel is trapped down an exhaust fan or chimney, you can let the squirrel exit through the house or drop a line down from above so the animal can climb out
  • if a squirrel has spent a long time in an area with exposed wiring, check your smoke detectors to make sure they are functioning. Also, check for wire damage or have an electrician do an inspection

Groundhogs (Woodchucks)

  • if necessary, evict groundhogs in late summer after the young have been weaned and are living independently
  • place urine-soaked kitty litter clumps near the burrow entrance — the scent is strong and discourages groundhogs from returning
  • permanently fill in the hole only after you are sure the burrow is unoccupied and install heavy gauge mesh over the hole to prevent return


  • use fences to prevent rabbit damage
  • the fence should go 15 centimetres underground or stake the bottom of the fence flush to the ground
  • inspect the fence regularly to make sure animals have not dug or pushed their way under it, or worked their way over it

Mice and rats

  • set traps indoors.
  • use spring traps baited with rolled oats, peanut butter, bread, cheese, chocolate or lightly cooked bacon

To avoid coming into contact with diseases potentially spread by rodents (such as hantavirus), you should:

  • douse dead rodents, used traps and nests with household disinfectant (dilute household bleach by mixing 15 millilitres of bleach in one litre of water)
  • always use rubber or plastic gloves when handling dead rodents and other materials
    • put them inside a plastic bag
    • seal the bag, then put it in a sealed garbage can or bury it
  • rinse gloves in disinfectant or diluted bleach before you remove them.
  • wash gloves and hands in hot soapy water
  • always wear rubber gloves when cleaning up signs of mice
  • open windows and doors for a half hour before and after cleaning
  • wet floors to minimize dust
    • damp-mop and wash floors with soap, water and disinfectant
    • do not vacuum or sweep bare floors before mopping
  • wear a breathing mask if the area is poorly ventilated
  • wash countertops, drawers and cupboards with disinfectant
    • wash any clothing or bedding contaminated with droppings
    • dry them in the sun or in a hot dryer

Lethal action

  • as a last resort, farmers may humanely kill or trap skunks that are damaging or about to damage their property
  • if you are using a firearm, you must follow certain regulations and local bylaws
  • landowners may hire an agent to act on their behalf