If you have a wild neighbor, such as a coyote, fox or bobcat occupying your yard or under your deck or storage building, it is easy to encourage them to relocate. Trapping is not recommended as babies are very often left behind. It is difficult to trap a whole family such as with the coyote or fox that would include both parents. The bobcat is a single mother as the male will kill the kits. Territorial animals rarely survive relocation, especially a wild mother with babies that will be forced to abandon her family to survive. Relocation contributes to the spread of disease such as rabies, canine distemper or panleukopenia.
Eviction is a simpler solution because you do not have to relocate, and the family will remain intact. With deterrents you encourage the wild neighbor to vacate and take her young which prevents orphaning. Eviction is the most humane solution.
Often the discovery of the den is enough for the parents to move the family. Encourage them to move by leaving lights on in the yard. In a couple of days, if they have not moved proceed with an eviction.
To evict you will need a light (possibly an extension cord), a portable radio, apple cider vinegar and some rags. A utility clamp light purchased at your local hardware store is very handy to use.
- You must do the eviction at dusk because you are evicting a nocturnal animal.
- At dusk light the den area.
- Turn the radio on a 24-hour talk or rap station and place at the den.
- These two deterrents are normally enough.
- You may add the third deterrent the apple cider vinegar-soaked rags at the den, especially if it takes more than one night to complete the eviction.
- You must turn these deterrents off at dawn.
The wild mother will be alarmed at these deterrents and will move to another den site. These deterrents are a threat to the young family while the parent(s) are out hunting/foraging. Remember they prefer quiet dark locations and you just created the opposite conditions. If there are babies, the parent(s) will begin to move the babies one at a time unless they are able to follow the parent.
At dawn when you turn the deterrents off, plug the entry hole if it was a den under a shed etc., with paper or tape a plastic trash bag over the hole. The purpose is not to restrict entry, it is to alert you as to activity coming and going.
- If the plugged entry is left untouched for 24-hours the wild family has moved. If there is still activity repeat the deterrents as above and include the apple cider vinegar-soaked rags for the second night. Dawn of the second morning, again turn deterrents off and plug the hole to monitor for activity. When babies are involved it may take two nights for the mother to relocate the babies.
- Once there is no activity, immediately repair or at the very minimum cover the entry with hardware cloth and a ¾ to 1-inch sturdy staple.
- When the den was under a deck, you should consider installing a skirt to prevent future entry of wild neighbors. Read FAQ: How to prevent raccoons from finding shelter on your property or home
- A special note, if there are adverse weather conditions that may limit the mother’s activity, wait to begin the eviction as you do not want the mother to become accustom to the deterrents.
Remember prevention is the best solution. Keeping wildlife babies with their natural mother is the most humane solution. The simple use of deterrents is effective. If you are having difficulty or need advice, please contact the wildlife hotline. If you suspect the mother left a baby behind, call the hotline before you act.
Read FAQ: Basic conflict resolution of urban predators.