For most people, the garden is a sanctuary, a place where we go to relax and chill after a tough day at the office. We use our gardens to grow flowers, vegetables, and as a safe outdoors space for the kids to play and burn off some steam. But if your garden is overrun by wildlife pests, your sense of enjoyment may be severely compromised. So what are the worst known offenders you may encounter at the bottom of your garden?
Rats Running Wild
Rats have a terrible reputation: most of us perceive them to be dirty, disease-ridden creatures that lurk in dark, dank corners and when cornered will fight back. In fact rats are certainly carriers of a number of nasty diseases and can indeed be aggressive if backed into a corner, but they probably don’t deserve to be vilified as much as they are. However, rats are not good to have around and if they are living in your garden, you need to make sure you keep the rat population under control or you might end up sharing your kitchen with a few rat families.
Squirrels can make mincemeat of bird feeders and vegetable patches. They are intelligent, cunning and resourceful, especially when it comes to food, which is why they are more than capable of traversing complex obstacle courses in order to reach a pile of nuts. It can be quite difficult to keep squirrels away from your precious homegrown vegetables, but if your local squirrel population persists in raiding your tomatoes, put out some alternative food and water to keep them occupied.
Birds are a massive pest, particularly if you have just spent hours raking soil and sowing seeds. Some species of birds will eat every last seed you sow, which is why farmers devise all kinds of complicated deterrents to keep birds away from their crops. Scarecrows might frighten the birds away, but cats usually make the most effective bird deterrent because of their hunting skills.
Raccoons are known for their misbehaviour: they empty trashcans and scatter the rubbish everywhere in their search for leftovers and they are more than happy to gobble up cat food and bird nuts. They might look cute, but raccoons can cause havoc in a garden once they become established; they can also pass on some nasty diseases if you come into close contact with them or their waste. Unfortunately, a lot of people make the mistake of feeding them in the early stages, which of course only encourages the raccoons to stick around.
Rabbits dig under fences and raid vegetable patches, chomping away happily until there is literally nothing left but a few withered stalks. They are one of Australia’s number one wildlife pests, which is why the lethal virus, Myxomatosis, was created. However, there are more humane ways to deal with an out of control rabbit population, wherever you happen to be living, so if you are struggling to keep pesky rabbits out of your salad corner, hire a pest control service.
Wildlife pests may be annoying, but try to remember that their main aim in life is to find food and shelter, just like you. Always use humane methods to remove or control wildlife pests and if in doubt, consult an expert.
This article has been written by Joana Sterling. Joana works at Innovative Care of the Environment Inc., a company providing humane pest control services in Toronto. She likes to sing and spends her Friday evenings at the karaoke bar with her friends.
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