People love to be outdoors in the Coulee Region, especially during our warm weather months. Outdoor recreation activities like picnics, barbeques, swimming, hunting, fishing, boating, gardening, hiking and camping are very popular. Lots of folks enjoy simply watching wildlife. Nest boxes for birds, bats and other wildlife and feeders of all kinds are common back yard items purchased or constructed by many people.
Americans spend large amounts of money feeding wildlife -- primarily birds.
Sometimes wildlife interferes with human activities. Wildlife can dig up our gardens and landscape plants, and eat or damage our fruit, flowers and vegetables. When wildlife populations overlap into places where they are unwanted or cause damage to property, they are no longer appreciated and can quickly be thought of as a nuisance.
You Can Do Something
These pages and links offer many options and ideas to help people cope with wildlife problems in our area. Here some simple guidelines to assist people with ideas to co-exist with, exclude or evict critters when areas of use overlap.
Wildlife needs three things to thrive -- shelter, water and food. Remove these and the animals will go somewhere else. Remember to treat the problem not the symptom.
Any undertaking to make a habitat unattractive to nuisance wildlife species will also discourage wildlife that people may appreciate or be trying to attract to a back yard habitat. It is often difficult or impossible to both create habitat for wildlife you want to encourage and, at the same time, remove habitat to discourage wildlife. The animals cannot tell the difference and often you will be left with both attracting wildlife and dealing with nuisance species in the same habitat. You can enhance your enjoyment of wildlife by following some of the tips listed.
Without habitat (such as, cover to hide in or food to eat) the animal will likely leave. Remember this simple equation: No cover = no mice = no snakes.
- Mow tall grass -- many pest species (such as mice) like weedy, unmowed areas. They attract predators (such as snakes) to this food source.
- Remove all:
- Brush piles
- Log piles
- Firewood piles (position away from the house)
- Rock piles
- Debris and trash
- Bricks - stones - concrete
- Buckets and old flower pots
- Abandoned cars - tires – unused toys
- Keep bushes cut back away from walkways and doors.
- Eliminate ornamental rocks along walkways and adjacent to doors as they are prime basking areas for reptiles.
- Close off access under porches, decks and outbuildings.
- Keep eaves and soffits in good repair.
- Maintain your chimney cap and screen.
- Keep your garage and shed doors closed when not in use.
- Close off roosting areas.
- Critter proof back yard ponds, pools or water features as much as reasonable while still allowing for enjoyment. Exclusion or floating brightly colored beach balls on the water will discourage unwanted guests.
- Repair leaky hoses or faucets to eliminate drinking stations.
- Position bird baths to discourage mammals.
- Do not leave pet foods outdoors.
- Keep trash tightly covered and don’t put out until just before planned pick up.
- Keep the area around outdoor grills clean and grease free.
- Clean up areas under and around feeders.
Some of this information was provided by the Urban Wildlife Rescue, Inc.
Wild Baby Animals
When a nest of babies is discovered unharmed and not in harm’s way it is best to leave the nest and babies alone. Keep children and pets away from the nest. In many cases, it is illegal to disturb nests.
When a nest or babies are found on the ground carefully move the nest and/or baby(s) out of any direct danger (i.e. street, sidewalk, playground, etc). Keep it in the area where it was found as to make it easy for the parents to find the nest or baby(s). Watch periodically from a distance, often parent squirrels and some other animals will carry the babies to a safe location. It may take some time for the parents to do this and they should be given a chance. A couple or three hours would be reasonable for them to accomplish this task. Should the baby or nest remain and no parents are seen, call Animal Control for advice. Again, children and pets should be kept away.
When babies are found in construction areas or home improvement projects search for some reasonable way to move the babies to a safe location very near the nest’s original place. The parents will likely move them to a new nesting location. Watch from a distance and call Animal Control should the parents abandon the babies. Sometimes, it is possible to leave a nest right where it is and work around it. See if a reasonable solution can be worked out for the animal’s sake.
Call Animal Control whenever baby animals are very cold to the touch, sickly, or injured. Animal Control may retrieve the animals in the cities of La Crosse and Onalaska. This service for wild animals is not currently available to the townships.
Wild Animals in a House or Building
When you find yourself with wild animals such as squirrels, bats, and birds in your house open as many windows and doors as possible and let the creature out. Immediately get all pets confined to a room away from the wild animal to avoid contact. Watch the animal and close off rooms to narrow the animals escape routes. Turn on lights to help you keep track of the animal. Do not attempt to catch the animal, but simply let it out or chase it out. It does not behoove anyone to lock the wild creature in. It will likely cause damage to belongings. If all attempts fail or there is some reason to believe there is a health concern or bite involved, Animal Control should be called for assistance.
Wild animals cannot legally be rehabilitated by an unlicensed person. The Coulee Region Humane Society does temporarily house some injured animals, however, we do not rehabilitate baby wild animals. We do work with area veterinarians and rehabilitation facilities to seek the best care for animals brought to us. The Coulee Wildlife Rehabilitation Center may be called at (608) 483-2610 to discuss options other than what we provide.