When it's standing in your backyard, it may seem odd to call an immense black bear a household pest!
However, animal control experts lump the lumbering bear together with racoons, mice, squirrels, and bats who invite themselves to share your backyard, crawlspace, or attic.
Suffice to say that wild animals and humans don't mix well. The bigger ones can harm people by just doing what nature intended and the smaller ones often destroy property. Anyone who gardens in a place where deer or rabbits live knows the damage these adorable creatures can do to trees, flowers and vegetables.
Mice and rats may be thought of as an urban slum problem, but their country cousins are just as pesky and seemingly impossible to escape once they decide to share your home. Racoons are notorious for upsetting a line of garbage cans, and anyone who has had to face a squirrel nest in the attic has new respect for the persistence of these furry tailed rodents.
Another downside to animal pests is that they often bring diseases with them. Deer carry ticks that transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease.
Many wild animals that turn up in yards are rabid. The fleas they host can cause some wild diseases and their fur and feces are bacteria ridden. Bats can not only carry rabies, but also host bed bugs that are no fun to live with.
All of these facts add up to making a good case for keeping wild animals away from
human homes. There are many experts who are dedicated to educating the public on what the dangers are and how to avoid them.
For new home owners, or for those who just need a reminder, here's a checklist of practical tips for keeping wildlife from invading your home or backyard:
• Keep bears, raccoons, and other pests from making midnight raids by keeping garbage can lids tightly sealed at all times. Use a spray bottle with a diluted mixture of ammonia and water to spray around garbage bags or lids to disguise odors.
• Thoroughly clean the backyard barbecue after each use and keep the top tightly shut.
• Inspect your home regularly for cracks or holes under the porch, up in the attic, or other places where raccoons or squirrels can set up housekeeping
• In the garden, try planting garlic, onion, or chives around the perimeter to help repel rabbits and deer.
• Remove the safety of cover of darkness by installing motion-senstive lights in the backyard to scare away nocturnal critters.
• A good skunk deterrent? Mothballs work wonders.
Finally, professionals usually warn that if you encounter a wild animal in your house, don't attempt to remove it yourself -- and for good reason. No matter how cute it may look, a frightened or trapped wild animal is dangerous.
Around the Web, check out more expert tip for living with and keeping control of bears, wolves,
coyotes, raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, other local wild critters and common household pests.