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Animal Related Hints and Tips


I have received a lot of questions about squirrels; mainly about them causing damage to plants, so I thought I would add the information I have found to the site.

For squirrels that are damaging trees, you can wrap the trunks with aluminium collars. It isn't attractive, but it prevents them from climbing the trees.

Controlling squirrels is difficult. A fine wire mesh wrap may be used to protect tulip bulbs, but, in most cases, you have to learn to live with the problem. In some countries they are protected by law and may only be trapped live and relocated. Repellents are only a short-term solution and they have to be constantly renewed. It is difficult to exclude squirrels from tree covered areas.

Tree bark, fruits, and nuts are important food sources for squirrels. Although squirrels can cause damage to vegetation they also have their advantages, as natural tree trimmers. They prune branches & twigs when feeding & making nests which promotes vegetation growth.

If, however, you want to keep squirrels away from your plants, try the following ideas:-

Plant your bulbs in a coating of cayenne pepper.

Spray squirrel repellent directly on the plants.

Place a 2 foot band of sheet metal (forming a cone, large opening downwards) around the trunk approximately 6 ft. off the ground. (For this to be effective, the tree needs to be at least 10 ft. from other trees.)

To deter squirrels from buildings -

rags soaked in ammonia

socks filled with mothballs (be careful with children/pets**)

cayenne pepper squirrel repellent

Recipe for squirrel repellent:-

1) 1 bottle (small) hot pepper sauce

2) 1 gallon water

3) water retentative (available from plant nursery) or 1 teaspoon of mild liquid detergent such as dishwashing detergent.

Spray this repellent on plants or anything you would like protected from chewing. Many commercial products designed to repel rodents are not effective. In fact, some say  the animals actually eat more of the plants after the repellent is applied.

**Please remember that mothballs are toxic when ingested. Children's curiosity and bird's lack of smell can increase their chances of ingesting mothballs. Children and birds should not have access to the mothball filled socks.

Gardeners can make their own repellent by placing a handful of hot peppers in a large container and adding a quart of boiling water. Allow the peppers to soak overnight. Strain the peppers from the water and add a few drops of mild dish detergent to make a spray to protect the plants.

About the SQUIRRELS! if you would leave alone the natural habitat of these very useful animals, they would not bother your "human" gardening, where you push out every wild life activity! Hungry animals are looking for food! So do you! I am Blue Bird a member of the Animal Kingdom, like you dear friend! Why can't you live in peace with Nature? Remember: NATURE IS BIGGER THAN US.  Blue Bird

How to avoid letting your pets "double-dip" when it comes to feeding.

We have received this tip from Simon Mackay -

"In a busy household like ours where people attend different activities like work, classes, church or club activities at different times, you can be sure that your dogs or cats will "double-dip" unless you are careful.  This is where the pets pester other members of the household for another meal with their persistent barking or meowing, even though they have been fed by another member of the household.  The pets will work on people who have just arrived or they work on remaining household members when a member of the household has fed the pets before they left.

To avoid this a good idea is to set up a "semaphore" system.  You have a piece of paper that says "CATS FED" or "DOGS FED" written on both sides.  Each side of the paper is written in a different colour or style.  If the pets are fed twice a day, you write on one side "CATS FED - BREAKFAST" or "DOGS FED - BREAKFAST"  and on the other side "CATS FED - DINNER" or "DOGS FED - DINNER".   This is pinned up on the fridge door or, preferably, placed where the pet food is kept.

Whoever feds the pets turn the piece of paper over, so that other members of the household know that the pets have been fed and other members of the family can then safely ignore that demanding barking and meowing as they try to "double dip".

If you feed your pet tinned or dry pet food you can use an old cassette case as a holder for this notice.  What you do is to fold the case back to the limit and then place the piece of paper in the holder.  This holder is kept on the same shelf as the pet food so people who are about to feed that car or dog can know whether they have been fed."

Another way to prevent the above would be to put out the right amount of meals for the day in the morning and then, if the food is still there they have obviously not been fed.

If you have ants coming indoors and do not want to use insecticides because of pets or small children put either powdered scrubbing cleanser like Comet (dry) or powdered cinnamon over the run/track being used by the ants.  The ants will not cross the cleanser or the cinnamon.

Thank you Gina

Warning - do not use Fabreze on your animals.  This product is for taking odours out of fabrics.  It says on the bottle it will take out animal smells but does not say it is harmless to animals.

If you don't want a skunk in your garbage (and who does!), pour bleach in, on, or around the bag.  In the same respect if you know that a skunk is living somewhere on your property pour bleach into it's home.  If it is in there, it won't be for long and if it is not, it won't come back.

N.B. Before including this particular tip I did enquire as to whether it would be harmed by the bleach if "in residence", but I am assured they always have a second exit.

Thanks to Patti Brown for all these tips

Do you not think this tip about pouring bleach into a skunk's home to keep it out of your garbage is a tad irresponsible? Not to mention cruel? I wouldn't appreciate having bleach poured on me, even if i was an unwelcome guest.

Kate Wright




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