Here is a brief video I did for Lorman providing some tips on wildlife damage inspection. I do have one typo in the piece. When I discuss the flashlight, it should be 800 lumens not 80,000. Oops. Enjoy.
Stephen M. Vantassel
In the last post, I discussed why excluding wildlife and vertebrates from sheds was an important component in reducing conflicts with wildlife. Now I will cover two strategies for excluding wildlife from sheds.
The basic principle is increasing the ease of access. Like the locks on your house, if your neighbor has poorer security, you don’t need as much. So it is with wildlife. If you harden your site, wildlife will likely move to easier pickings. All wildlife that utilize the areas under sheds tend to go to the edge, and dig underneath. So your goal is to extend the barrier so that they are standing on it. This way, when they get to the edge, they dig down and right into the barrier. Few wildlife are “smart” enough to step back from the edge and start digging there. Thus a 12-18 floor skirt will likely be enough to stop them.
So there are two ways to create this skirt. By the way, NEVER perform exclusion if there is any chance an animal is living there.
Option 1. Patio Block Method. With patio blocks, no digging is required. Just place the narrow end against the structure. Use screen to make up any distance between the shed wall and the stone. The stone is heavy to move and can be a bit pricey but it is easier to install than the digging option in many situations.
Option 2. Subterranean screening. Most recommendations on screening require back-breaking work, telling you to dig a 1 x 1 foot trench to bury the L shaped screen. Sure that is a gold standard, but for most people not necessary. You just need to attach the screen to the base of the shed wall, extend it down to about 2 inches below the soil surface, then bend it out at a 90 degree angle away from the wall out at least 12 inches. A sod shovel will allow you remove the grass, lay the screen down, then place the sod over the screen. In a few weeks, you won’t know the screen was there.
Bottom line, protect your sheds BEFORE you have a problem and you will save yourself a lot of headaches.
Stephen M. Vantassel specializes in helping people prevent and resolve conflicts with wildlife. He is available for research, consultation, training events, and debates.
One of the most important ways to reduce conflicts with wildlife and vertebrate pests is to reduce the availability of their preferred living areas known as harborage. The concept is quite simple, if the
species can’t find a good place to live, it is less likely to remain in the area. At minimum, reduced living areas automatically reduces the number of animals that can live in an area. In some cases, good exclusion work can reduce unwanted animals to zero.
Sheds, particularly those that are low to the ground, provide excellent harborage for vertebrates. Excluding wildlife from sheds will go a long way in preventing skunks (Mephitis mephitis), cats (Felis cattus), woodchucks (Marmota monax), and other ground dwelling animals from taking up residence.
To exclude wildlife from sheds you have two options. Option 1, raise the shed up so that it is at least 6 inches off the ground (higher for larger sheds). The point is to make it more exposed to light and therefore less inviting as a place to take up residence. Certainly free-range cats can use it as an ambush site for native wildlife, so you have to keep that in mind.
Option 2 is to secure the foundation with screening or stone. I will discuss how to that in my next post.
Stephen M. Vantassel is a writer, researcher, and consultant on wildlife control issues. He also loves to debate the anti-environmental position of the free-range cat lobby and the wider animal rights movement.
Book Review: Coexisting with Local Furbearers: Good Practices in Management and Intervention by Gaétan Fournier. Quebec, Canada: Fédération des Trappeurs Gestionnaires du Québec, 2014. 248 pp.
Canada has had a long fur trapping tradition and coexisting with furbearers. With about 1/10th the population of the U.S. and about twice the land area, it’s a veritable trapping paradise. But even Canadians encounter conflicts with wildlife which need to be resolved.
This text is designed to train fur trappers in how to prevent and manage the conflicts caused by fur bearers. The guiding principle behind the book is to reduce the killing of valuable furbearing species outside the trapping season through the use of non-lethal techniques and targeted removals.
The book has 8 chapters: Introduction, managing human/wildlife conflicts, mandatory steps for professional operations, managing nuisance furbearing animals, the dilemma of translocation, repellents and their limitations, disposing of animal remains, and conclusion. , the bulk of the book falls under Chapter 4, managing nuisance furbearing animals. There readers will find detailed information on the biology, non-lethal control methods, lethal control methods, diseases, and other concerns, for beaver, muskrat, river otter, mink, squirrels, weasels, raccoon, skunk, red fox, coyote, wolf, and black bear. Note the information tends to center on damage issues affecting rural, livestock, infrastructure, and non-building settings. If you are looking for instructions on running a business in Columbus, OH, this is not the book for you.
Fournier included several appendices to cover important topics, such as diseases, selective trapping, attractants (i.e. baits/lures), and specialist equipment. Appendices contain important information that may not be expected given their placement in the appendices.
I had the privilege and pleasure to be a technical editor for this publication, so forgive me if I gush a bit about this book. It is smartly illustrated with beautiful color images and superb line drawings. Trappers interested in research-based wildlife control should get a copy of this text. I am confident that readers will improve their understanding of wildlife biology and techniques used to manage their damage.
To obtain a copy, send an e-mail containing your complete address, quantity desired to: firstname.lastname@example.org. FTGQ will send a PayPal invoice that will inform you about the price of the book and the shipping fees (all in Canadian dollars).
Stephen M. Vantassel, CWCP®
Book review: Wildlife and Airport Environments: Preventing Animal–Aircraft Collisions through Science–Based Management by Travis L. DeVault, Bradley F. Blackwell, & Jerrold L. Balant. 2013. Baltimore, MD: The John’s Hopkins University Press. pp. 181 with index.
US Airways Flight 1549, otherwise known as The Miracle on the Hudson, reacquainted most Americans with the threats posed by birds and other wildlife to aircraft. While that flight received great attention, the fact is wildlife threats to aircraft have been existence since flight was first discovered. Wildlife and Airport Environments summarizes the state of knowledge regarding principles for reducing the threats posed by wildlife to aircraft. The text is very technical and takes a modeling approach to the topic. The goal of the authors is to help readers understand the complexities involved in managing wildlife. The authors carefully and repeatedly remind readers that lethal control alone is not sufficient or necessary to resolve every wildlife threat to aircraft. However the authors also tell readers that nonlethal techniques, or what they refer to as indirect methods, cannot resolve every wildlife threat to aircraft either.
The book contains 15 chapters organized into three parts. Part 1: Wildlife Management Techniques, discusses bird and wildlife behavior in the hopes of better understanding how visual repellents can be effective. Tactile, auditory, and chemical repellents are investigated also. The section is rounded out with chapters covering excluding mammals, use of translocation, and population management to reduce aircraft wildlife strikes.
Part 2: Managing Resources, reviews how habitat modification can both reduce and increase wildlife aircraft conflicts. The authors show how balancing environmental and airstrike issues require difficult choices, where the best choice often is the lesser of two evils. Part 3: Wildlife Monitoring, investigates rationale and methods for determining animal numbers and threats so that data is scientifically rigorous enough to withstand legal analysis. Monitoring also is critical to show officials whether management techniques are working and to identify new threats.
The book is very technical and its modeling approach is quite different than most wildlife control operators would be familiar with. The chapters are often descriptive and discussion-based rather than prescriptive. Readers will be exposed to a wide range of terms and concepts in biology and wildlife management that, while not immediately useful for their businesses, can help guide decisions as well as understanding scientific literature. The book is most suited for researchers and instructors looking to engage the literature or educate students regarding the complexities of management of wildlife in highly critical situations, such as airports.
Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Operator (CWCP®) who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest books are the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition and The Practical Guide to the Control of Feral Cats. He can be contacted at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.
If you would like your publication, video, or product reviewed, please contact the author at the e-mail above.