Village of Riverwoods

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Living with Wildlife

January/February 2015

The Lake County Forest Preserve website is a good source for advice when it comes to living with wildlife. And as Riverwoods residents, we are all lucky to enjoy sightings of these wild animals from our homes. But sharing the woodland can be tricky at times. The following is some good advice from the Lake County Forest Preserves website. Read more at

Human development in urban areas has replaced natural areas that were once habitat for wildlife. Open fields, forests and wetlands have been replaced by lawns, gardens and neighborhoods. Many animals are adapting to this new environment, sometimes at the expense of their human neighbors by creating a disturbance or causing damage to property.

The best way to prevent common wildlife issues is to avoid providing potential sources of food and shelter before an animal creates a disturbance or causes damage to property. Following are recommendations for how to prevent common wildlife conflicts:

  • Do not encourage wildlife to come in or near your home by feeding them.*
  • Keep pet food and water dishes indoors.
  • Turn on outside lights, make noise and observe the area for any signs of wildlife before letting your pet outdoors.
  • Keep grills and barbecues clean.
  • Repair broken, weak or rotted areas all around your home.
  • Trim tree limbs that provide easy access to your roof.
  • Install and maintain chimney caps.
  • Cover openings under decks, elevated sheds, concrete slabs and porches with welded wire.
  • Add welded wire to the inside of attic vents to deny access if covers are removed.

The simplest solution to keeping animals out of your garbage cans is to bring the cans inside where animals cannot reach them. If this is not possible, keep the cans in a secured area or sprinkle black pepper on the top bag inside the can. Another deterrent is to place rags soaked in ammonia on top of the lid and secure with bungee cords. Use an odor deterrent for one week after you notice issues or when putting garbage outside for weekly pickup.

Even though it may be tempting to trap and remove a nuisance animal, removal does not usually provide a permanent solution. Trapping and removing animals only creates an opening for another animal to occupy. A trapped adult may also leave young behind that often die of starvation in an inaccessible area. The best solution is to focus on removing the attraction, not the animal, in order to prevent future invasion.

Please remember that it is illegal for homeowners to trap certain species and there are many federal and state laws against keeping wildlife.

* Be aware of all state of Illinois wildlife regulations. It is illegal to provide food and salt or mineral blocks to wild deer or other wildlife in areas where wild deer are present.

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