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Animals are a beautiful part of our Canadian landscape, but even the smallest of neighbourhood rummagers can do a great deal of damage to your home and property. It’s not always easy to predict when pesky pests like raccoons, squirrels, skunks, or chipmunks (or coyotes and bears in more rural locations) will try to make their way into your space to find their next meal and settle in. But the good news is it’s fairly easy to prevent damage to your home when you’ve taken a little time to prepare for their arrival.

Consider taking these steps to pest-proof your home:

  1. Don’t fuel the fire. While it may be tempting to feed squirrels and chipmunks as they scurry across your deck, feeding them will make them feel comfortable in your yard and encourage them to come back. You may mean well, but it’s also important to know that the food you’re feeding them might not be safe for those animals to eat. 
  2. Outsmart squirrels. Squirrels are notorious for stealing food that has been left outside for other animals. Avoid leaving pet food outdoors and consider purchasing a rodent-proof birdfeeder to keep unwelcome snackers at bay.
  3. Hit the lights. As nocturnal critters make a run for your garbage cans, motion sensor lights can scare them away before they turn over your trash and make a mess. Well-lit areas are unappealing to some pests because they don’t provide shelter from predators, so consider installing motion sensor lights in your yard if you don’t already have them.
  4. Secure your cans. One man’s trash is another man’s (or animal’s) treasure. Many wildlife species have adapted to living in residential neighbourhoods, and they’ve learned how to break into garbage cans or compost bins to get scraps from last night’s meatloaf dinner. To pest-proof your cans while they’re waiting for garbage day, try securing the lids with locks, ropes, or bungee cords, or consider placing a heavy object on top (like a brick or large stone).
  5. Freeze your scraps. If you’re going to leave food waste in the trash can for a few days (or even hours), you may as well sound the vermin alarm. They live for gut-wrenching, odorous foods. Instead, consider leaving your left-over meat or fish in the freezer until garbage day — it may take up space, but it could prevent wildlife from rummaging through your garbage. 
  6. Keep your eyes peeled. Don’t leave pets or children unattended outdoors if you sense your home is susceptible to wildlife. While some animals may be cute to look at, they can carry diseases and pose a threat to the people and pets you care about.

What to do if pests make themselves at home in your yard

Sometimes, despite your best efforts to prevent pests from hanging out in your yard, they’ll settle in anyway. If that happens, call your local wildlife control. They’re the experts and can help remove wild animals or prevent pesky pests from returning to your property.

As more and more new neighbourhoods are built around the country, humans and wildlife are learning to live in close quarters. We need to be proactive to ensure we all live together in harmony.

Want to find out how your home insurance policy would respond to damage caused by local wildlife? Contact your home insurance broker today.


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