Trapping Wildlife

possum in trap

Consider this....

Trapping is only a temporary solution and not necessarily humane. 

Live trapping is NOT a recommended solution to ridding property and yard of wildlife. 

It won’t be long before more wildlife is attracted to your home, especially if you haven’t dealt with those issues that attracted them in the first place.

“I don’t want to harm the animal, I just want it gone... !”

Every year thousands of animals are captured in “humane” traps for various reasons.  The reality is that many of those animals are destroyed either on site or in animal shelters nationwide.  Few are legally relocated.

Many people who live-trap wildlife that has wandered into their yards do so thinking that the animal won’t be harmed and it will be “taken to the woods” and released to live its life in an environment more suited to it.

Unfortunately for the animal, that is seldom the case.  Many animals are injured in their frenzied attempt to escape the close confinement of the trap. 

Those that are taken from their familiar environment and released elsewhere are often injured or killed in their attempt to get “home”.

There are sound reasons for not “relocating” wildlife that has come in conflict with its human neighbors.  Taking animals to new surroundings alters the dynamics of both where it came from and where it is taken.

Nature has a way of overcompensating for artificially created vacancies by encouraging the different species to breed beyond the capacity of the area to support such numbers.

Where you may have had one problem animal to begin with, you will probably end up with a surplus of the same type animal or worse.  In its new location, a relocated animal will have to compete for territory and food that may already be scarce.  The animal may starve or be attacked by other predators more suited to the new and unfamiliar environment.

Another important drawback to wildlife relocation is the potential spread of disease.  All wild animals can carry diseases, some of which can be transmitted to man. However, the risk of contagion to other animals is greater than the risk to humans.

Introducing a species to a new area always poses a threat to the resident ecological system. 



little raccoon in doorway




“The animal was causing damage to my property...“

By addressing the cause of the damage instead of blaming the animal, many problems can easily be solved.  Oftentimes, the animal that caused the property damage is not the same animal that is caught in the trap.

Sadly, a lot of innocent animals are destroyed merely because they were enticed by a tasty morsel used as bait in the trap.  The offending animal may be long gone.

Perhaps, without your knowledge, one of your neighbors is deliberately attracting the animals with food in order to watch their antics.  Wild animals can be as amusing as zoo animals, however they can also be a threat to public safety once they lose their fear of humans. 

Perhaps you are unwittingly feeding them, too, by leaving your garbage in containers easily toppled over or loose in plastic bags on the ground.

If you have pets, do you leave your pet food dishes out with surplus food in them? 

Is your garden fenced to discourage opportunistic wildlife?

Remember, if there is no food or shelter to support them, most wild animals will go away!

homeless raccoon

Certain times of the year, conflicts with wildlife are more common. 

Usually it is breeding season or shortly thereafter.  Mother animals are looking for good, secure dens in which to have their young.  Unfortunately, it may be in or under your house, your attic, or a shed.

Because they need to be close to the babies, they often settle for food sources they might not otherwise choose, creating more property damage as they desperately try to feed their offspring.

Live trapping at this time of the year is often a death sentence for wildlife babies.  You may not even realize you have captured a nursing mother until it is too late to do anything about it.  If the babies are discovered in time, they have a marginal chance at survival even in the capable hands of licensed wildlife rehabbers.

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Alternative Measures to Trapping

Alternative Measures To Trapping: 

Fence those areas you particularly want to protect;

Mend all holes in your existing fences.  Add chicken wire around the bottom area to keep out smaller wildlife;

Cover sturdy trash cans with tight fitting lids.  Add bungee cords if necessary.  Secure the cans in a way they can’t be tipped over;

Don’t leave pet food, or your pets, out after dusk. Don't make your pet part of the food chain;

Poultry or rabbits should be confined in a raised, covered heavy mesh wire enclosure
(not chicken wire);

Keep garage doors and pet doors closed and secured after dusk;


Clear away piles of rubbish and debris that may harbor rats and mice (a ready staple for most wildlife);

Trim vegetation and tree branches away from the house;

Pick up ground fall fruit or ripe fruit off trees; Make sure compost piles are put in sturdy closed containers;

Sound, water, lights, and irritating odors often keep animals from feeling at home on your property. There are many motion sensor devices on the market that are inexpensive deterrents to unwelcome four-legged visitors. 

Where permitted by local regulations, low voltage (12v) electrical wire can be strung on fences or around gardens.