The key to animal control is prevention. You have something that they want, which is usually food or shelter. If you deny them access to these things, then they will not attempt to move in and make themselves at home.
Eliminate the incentives and you solve the problem. These incentives include:
Different animals prefer different food sources.
- Plant eaters such as rabbits and deer can be repelled by commercial repellents, which scares them away by using predator urine. Protective plant fencing will also frustrated them enough that they will move on to greener pastures.
- Trash can raiders such as raccoons and opossums are attracted by the food eaten by you and your pets. Keep all food trash in trash cans with tight fitting lids. If you feed pets outside, bring their dishes and bags of of food inside at night. Raccoons and opossums are nocturnal feeders, and rarely pose a problem during the daytime.
- Squirrels and rodents will eat bird seed in addition to other food sources. Clean up spilled bird seed frequently. Applying petroleum jelly to bird feeders will prevent squirrels from climbing them and stealing the seed. Undiluted essential oils such as cinnamon or clover oil can be applied to swatches of cloth and placed in various areas of the yard to repel squirrels and rodents. Trapping and removing squirrels is not usually effective, because they are highly territorial, and your squirrel in residence will quickly be replaced by a rival if conditions are favorable in your yard.
- Snakes. Mice and other rodents are the preferred food of snakes. Get rid of rodents and snakes will not remain on your property.
Animals seek shelter to avoid harsh weather and to give birth. Your home is particularly vulnerable to rodents and flying animals such as birds and bats.
- Rodents. Mice and rats must chew to keep their constantly-growing teeth a manageable size. They will chew through wood and drywall to enter your home. If you hear the patter of little feet or find mysterious irregular holes in your trash bags, then you probably have rodent visitors. Look for holes along the outside of your home, or around baseboards inside the home. Fill holes with pieces of cloth blotted with essential oils and use hardware cloth (screen with quarter to half inch holes) to block the wall holes.
- Birds and bats. They will generally try to access attic spaces to build nests. Check for nests by looking for small tears in insulation, which is a prime nest building material in attics. If you see any signs of uninvited visitors, use hardware cloth to cover attic vents. These vents are frequent access points.
If you are already host to unwelcome animal guests, an animal control company can remove them safely and humanely. They can also give other valuable prevention tips.