Animal Invasion: 9 Species That Could Threaten Your Rural Homestead

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By Tom Lovrić

If you live in the country, one of the issues you’ll face is a constant animal invasion. They don’t do it on purpose, really – if you think about it, you’re the one who moved into their territory.

In an ideal world, you could share the area with them, and to achieve that, you’ll have to mark your territory the same way they do.

Based on research and my own experience, there are a few species you need to look out for the most, and in this article, I’ll tell you a bit about them, and we’ll see exactly what dangers they may pose.

Before we start, though, I’d like to insert a disclaimer.

The animals discussed in this article usually don’t mean you any harm. In fact, they’re mostly not interested in you or your family, and they’ll never attack you unless they’re threatened or starving.

They’re mostly interested in your crops and/or livestock, so they’re naturally attracted to your home. Getting physically close to you is what poses a real threat, and this is something to keep in mind.

The safest thing for both you and them is to keep your distance and admire them from afar.

Which animals invade gardens and pose a danger?

To save you from a whole lot of reading, here’s a simplified table.

Species Why Are They Dangerous?
Wolves Killing and eating livestock, possibly harming people.
Bears Eating crops, killing and eating livestock, possibly harming people.
Mountain Lions Killing and eating livestock, possibly harming people.
Deer Eating crops (and some flowers).
Moose Destroying crops (by walking over them), possibly harming people.
Raccoons Eating crops, possibly harming people (carriers of rabies and other illnesses).
Skunks Possibly harming people with their spray (bites are rare, but they’re carriers of rabies).
Venomous Snakes Possibly harming people, capable of eating small animals.

This list is certainly not comprehensive – different regions have different threats. But these are some of the most prevalent animals to look out for if you have a place in the country.

Wolves: behavior and diet

Wolves aren’t afraid of venturing into yards, especially if they can find sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, horses, or chickens there. They will return to the same spot for food unless the pack migrates, so you can expect several invasions if you don’t put up a fence.

They’ll avoid conflict with humans if possible and usually attack only if you get too close, but they are territorial animals, after all, and they won’t let go of their territory easily, especially if it’s a good hunting ground.

A starving wolf may attack an adult person (even if the wolf is completely alone).

Wolves are not scared off easily, especially when they have a stable supply of food. If there are wolves around your home, you’ll have to fire a few warning shots or even open fire on them to scare them away. Even then, they may return the next day if they really want the animals in your yard.

Quite frankly, they’re relentless when it comes to food, and they’ll only quit if their lives are in danger.

With that final thought in mind, it’s best to keep them away from you with a tall fence – that’s much easier than having to deal with them all the time.

Bears: behavior and diet

Bears (both black and brown) are curious animals, and they eat vegetables more than anything else. In fact, vegetables and roots make up more than 50% of their diet. If they find your garden, they will eat as much fruit and vegetables as possible. If you have livestock, bears will most likely kill it and eat it.

They won’t attack humans unless they’re particularly hungry or if you get too close, and they’re actually easier to scare off than wolves. Just like wolves, however, they may return even after you scare them off.

Mother bears with cubs are the exception. They are some of the most dangerous animals on the planet, and they will charge at the slightest hint of a threat.

Mountain lions: behavior and diet

Mountain lions actively avoid conflict with humans and try not to approach manmade structures, but they will come after livestock if they’re starving. They can kill any animal you have, including horses.

They can be scared off with warning shots, but you should never run if you come across a mountain lion, as it’ll kick off their prey drive and chasing instinct. You should also not stand still, as they’ll see you as easy prey (even if they normally don’t attack humans). Slowly walk backward, and try shouting and making yourself seem large to scare the cougar away.

Mothers with cubs will attack anything that gets close – finding a mother mountain lion in your garden is pretty much the worst-case scenario.

Deer: behavior and diet

Deer are mostly harmless to people – their first instinct is to always run, and when they do harm people, it’s usually by running into a person by accident.

They pose a danger to shrubs and crops, however. Sunflowers, berries, and various flowers are often victims of deer. Since they’re incredible jumpers (depending on species and size), a really tall fence is needed to keep them away.

Moose: behavior and diet

Moose aren’t interested in your crops, but they may pass through the area and destroy them as they walk over them. These animals are much larger than bears, and they’re not too bright.

They’re usually harmless, but males can be aggressive during mating season and charge you. This, combined with their size, makes them incredibly dangerous. It’s best to keep them away.

Raccoons: behavior and diet

Raccoons are omnivores – they’ll eat your fruits, vegetables, and meat. They’re particularly attracted to trash and leftovers, and they’re not afraid of getting close to humans at all. They’re so daring that they sometimes steal food out of a person’s hand!

Some raccoons are carriers of rabies, which makes them potentially dangerous for us. They can also be dangerous for your chickens.

Skunks: behavior and diet

Skunks aren’t as interested in your crops as much as they’re interested in the small food in your yard. They feed on earthworms, grubs, small snakes and lizards, rodents, birds, and eggs.

They’re also particularly interested in shelter. Skunks are burrowing animals, but if they find potential shelter (the crawl space under your porch, for example), they’ll call it home.

Since they’re potential carriers of rabies, not to mention their stinging spray, it’s important to keep them away.

Rats and mice: behavior and diet

These small rodents are drawn to the abundance of food present at a homestead and a warm, cozy shelter. Rats may pose a danger to small livestock such as baby chicks and also will eat eggs. But rats and mice are most interested in your livestock feed.

The best prevention is keeping feed sealed away tightly in galvanized steel containers. Anything less, and they’ll chew right through the container to the food inside. Cats are also a great preventative measure.

They can also pose a danger to your structures by destroying wiring and creating holes by chewing to get to food or create shelter.

As far as humans are concerned, the biggest dangers from rats and mice are the diseases they carry: they can be carriers of rabies, and their feces can contain hantavirus, with potentially deadly outcomes. If you are cleaning up after rodents, it’s very important to wear a mask and gloves and not to inhale or touch their droppings. They are more scared of you than you are of them and will only bite if cornered and threatened.

Venomous snakes: behavior and diet

Snakes have the same motivation as skunks – your home can provide shelter, and there’s definitely good food close by.

Most snakes are harmless (if anything, they’re good at keeping pests away), but there are more than 20 species of venomous snakes in North America (the majority of which live in the USA and Mexico), and this needs to be discussed.

No snake will attack you unless you threaten it first. However, grabbing them, stepping on them, or simply getting too close can provoke an attack.

Since some snake venom is potent enough to kill adults, it’s best to keep them away. They’ll also eat eggs and baby chicks, and a large snake is capable of eating an adult chicken.

Admiring from a distance

I’m going to reiterate what I said at the beginning of the article – we should admire animals from a distance.

Personally, I love animals (bears are my favorite animals, in case anyone was wondering), but I understand the danger they can pose to us and our homes if we don’t set clear boundaries.

This article only delved into detailed explanations of the most common species a person may find in their yard. Not all of these species can be fenced away, and we’ll take a look at effective control methods in another article.

If there’s anything I want you to get out of this – it’s the understanding that different species are dangerous for different reasons. Some species only pose a threat to your crops, others are dangerous to your livestock, while some species are dangerous to you as well.

This understanding is the first step towards peaceful cohabitation.

What are your experiences with these animals? Have you ever had any encounters? Have you experienced any of the dangers mentioned in the article?

Let’s talk about it in the comments.

About Tom

Tom is a former military reconnaissance scout with three years of extensive training and first-hand experience in navigation, first aid, firearms maintenance, combat, and wilderness survival. He is also an avid hiker and all-around outdoorsman, with a lifetime of experience in the wild. Aside from writing and sports, emergency preparedness is one of his biggest interests, and he’s a big believer in being ready for anything the world may throw at you. You may contact him at

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  • Rats, mice, and raccoons are also very common in the urban environment. Squirrels and rabbits are another problem here. Squirrels, rabbits, and raccoons can destroy a vegetable garden! They aren’t afraid of the stray cats either. Since I don’t like putting out poison, my best way to deal with raccoons is 1) fencing and 2) hoping they move on soon. Fencing 36″ high also helps with the rabbits. Happily, stray cats will often help with the rats and mice. Unfortunately, my municipality fines people for feeding them if they find out about it. Therefore, I put out food for the cats along with a security camera at floor level in my garage. It helps. I see very few small rodents due to regular feline customers. Adapt and adjust, right? I try to work with nature, not against her.

    • Feeding strays is nice, but please go the extra inconvenient step of contacting a rescue for TNR. Trap Neuter Release.

      • Our local humane society has a barn buddy program where they neuter strays (if you can catch) and spay them & vax them for what used to be $50/cat. Which we have done for all of our old enough ones for over 15 years. They rarely stray off of our property.

      • TNR puts both males and females at the bottom of the feline social class. TNR males are often attacked and driven away from food and shelter by tomcats, and TNR females end up having to live solo after being banished from the group by tomcats and viable females. It seems like a solution, but it’s really a no-win deal. Not doing it is a no-win deal also, unless there are sufficient predators to keep the population balanced.

      • I would if the city I lived in allowed TNR to operate! Alas, they don’t. My town is very animal unfriendly, sadly.

  • Funny the timing on this. I have 4-6 ‘toddler’ racoons that I’ve tried everything to get rid of them (vinegar, cayenne pepper, chili essential oil, ammonia, moth balls) & NOTHING has done it. Next up, my little friend.

    Anyone have any solutions?

    • Have you tried an electric fence?
      So far mine has kept the bears from getting at my chickens. If it works with bears it should work with raccoons.
      I use a Premiere One netting fence with a solar powered charger surrounding my garden/chicken coop area.
      It keeps out the neighborhood dogs, too.

    • Live trap with wet cat food or sweet corn. Set up 3-4 traps at a time, and have a plan to relocate them where they won’t be a nuisance to anyone. I hate killing raccoons, as a kid we raised one that was orphaned. We only kill the really nasty ones that threaten to harm us if we try to release them. Find an area with a stream 5-10 miles away, because they love water. Make sure that there aren’t any other chickens around, so you don’t make problems for your neighbors. Once they kill a chicken, they will ALWAYS kill chickens, so kill those who kill chickens.

      • Seriously, once they eat a chicken they will continue to eat chickens. And that means any one of them will eat a chicken for the first time. That means they are all chicken eaters, or destined to become chicken eaters. Very few people will travel to a suitable (if one exists) location for relocation and thus you have simply taken your problem to someone else’s place and loaded the problem on them.!!! I have a better idea. You shoot yours and I’ll shoot mine.

      • Funny thing is, our neighbors have chickens. I just don’t want the adults coming back & charging our cats.

    • Me & the kids got “rid” of a bunch of those last summer by trapping and moving them to the woods, much farther away. Took a couple of weeks, but it worked.

        • Tell me, WHAT eats racoons?? I know they’re good for rodents, voles and such. But where are they on the food chain?

          • Raccoons are roughly at the same level, or just slightly higher, as cats: coyote bait, big dog bait, mountain lion bait, bobcate bait, wolverine bait. Racoons usually win when they fight with cats over food or territory. I doubt badgers would get ahold of a raccoon very often, but if they could they would.

    • When I was little, dad always caught them in traps and then we would drive several miles away and set them free near the creek. He said they would be happier there. He was right. They didn’t return. Also caster oil maybe mixed with your cayenne pepper. Works for gophers. We poor down their holes and they move on. Good luck!

    • This is no joke. I read in the WSJ one time where a vexxed almost beyond sanity homeowner finally got racoons to vacate her attic by playing loud Heavy Metal music.

  • In my area, the small animals, raccoon, groundhog, rabbit, do more damage than the large predators. Ofc, 1 large predator could do more damage in 1 day than the smalls do in a year. We just don’t have the large ones bother us. We’ll, deer do. Deer should be on the top of this list.

    More concerning than animal species for me are the plant species I see taking over. Ailanthus, olive, periwinkle. These take over acres of land and shoul be eradicated whenever found.

  • Once I went camping with a friend and we were stalked for about a mile while we were hiking to our camp site, by a bobcat. We couldn’t see anything but kept hearing an odd screeching sound.

    Then we set up a tent and crawled inside and heard a horrible screech 10 feet away from our tent. It was dark by then, so we opened the tent flap and shone the flash light right onto a bobcat.

    The odd thing was, this was in a wooded area right outside a small town and no one had seen a bobcat in the area for more than a century.
    So I would include the bobcat as another predator to be wary of, as I can attest that they will stalk humans.

    • We have bobcats in southeast Michigan too. Never had seen one, until about 3 years ago. We find them to be very shy, and they haven’t actually gone after the chickens because there is an abundant rabbit population.

    • Sounds to me like his screetching was a social greeting call, and that he wanted a handout from you like he has gotten from other human hikers. If he were actually stalking you, he would never utter a peep. We have bobcats around my small desert town, but I have only seen tracks and scat.

  • On the farm where I grew up … having a dog or two was mandatory to bark out alerts and scare off all kinds of predators … whether skunks, raccoons, badgers, and unwelcome hunters etc. There was a year around war with hunters who liked to kill off coyotes. We always tried to protect the coyotes because they could keep the volume of crop-destroying rabbits to a minimum. There was a somewhat similar war with hunters trying to shoot pheasants — which we tried to protect because they made excellent Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.


  • Good article, makes you think of where to start, but there is MUCH more to think about, especially as wildlife get either more desperate, or more bold, depending on the state of the human civilization at the time.

    Electric fencing great for preventing raccoons from entering the garden once in the first place! A strand at about a foot off the ground keeps them from climbing the fence. It also deters other animals. You can adjust height to deter different animals, and it works well for weasels trying to get into the coop. You can buy solar powered units at any farm supply store. Now is the time to buy before the economy collapses! Raccoons can and will tear a chicken apart through chicken wire, so if you have chicken tractors, cover the bottom foot of the tractor with hardware cloth, because the raccoon can’t reach through. Then, lay some fence panel or wood planks along side, because they will also reach under the sides and grab babies in the night. Fox will dig under barriers, so portable coops need to have some protection from that also.

    Many areas of the US have a feral pig problem, which can often be deterred by adding a hot wire a few inches from the ground. They will decimate a garden overnight, AND eat livestock, pets, or even attack and kill people. Because they are not a native species, you can shoot them year round up here in Michigan.

    Another common issue is GROUNDHOG invasion! Burying fencing at least a foot down can keep them out, but you may have to go deeper. (use this to keep foxes out of the chicken yard too) Live trap and remove groundhogs by baiting them with a head of cabbage or a kohlrabi. Then you can either relocate them somewhere (with landowners permission, of course!) or kill and eat them.

    Rabbits can squeeze through a 2″ fence gap, so reinforce the bottom foot of the fence with either hardware cloth, or chicken wire.

    Anyway, can’t solve everything in one comment, so do your best and keep your .22 handy!

    • Speaking of feral pigs, we have javelinas. I have been within inches of one. They can be dangerous if they have young or are cornered. I have never been harmed. The one that came within inches was interested in stealing the bird seed I had put out. I whopped him across the nose with my little bucket, and he wandered off, but that was the last time any ever stole any of our bird seed. Another time I was putting old refrigerator spoiled food on the compost heap. A semicircle of five lay on the ground watching patiently, and as soon as I walked off, they helped themselves.

  • Cats will get rid of both rodents and snakes. I live on the edge of a huge forest, and have them in abundance. Or I used to. My outdoor cats have killed snakes up to five feet long (about two meters), and the indoor cats have killed rattlesnakes that got into the house, not to mention keeping the old and poorly sealed house almost rodent free. (Occasionally some fool mouse gets in, but it doesn’t live very long.)

    If you live in an area that has lyme, cats will nearly eradicate it. The ticks that carry lyme have a two year life cycle. The first year they live on small rodents, such as mice and voles. The second year they migrate to larger animals, such as pets, deer, etc.

    If the cats eat the ticks’ mouse hosts the first year, there will be no ticks the second. I normally remove one or two ticks a year, although this area has very high lyme and is heavily infested. No mice, no ticks, no lyme. And no hantavirus either.

    If a tick gets on a cat, the cat will usually get rid of it while grooming itself, unless the tick is on its head where it can’t reach.

    Traditionally, a cat was considered to be the most valuable animal on a farm.

    If you have, or want, outdoor cats, feed them only in the morning. That way they will stay around your house, but be hungry enough to hunt. Most carnivoires are night hunters, so they will be sleeping instead of eating your cats’ food. (In very severe weather, give them a late afternoon meal too.)

    • It’s instinctive, cats will hunt no matter if you feed them morning, noon & night. Been feeding (over feeding in fact) my outdoor cats (probably have homed more than 20+ over 15 years (yes we get them neutered with a ‘Barn Buddy’ program at a local humane society) & we rarely see any mice. Not alive at least. The older they get I’ve noticed the critters get closer to the house but still don’t live long.

      I’d always recommend no less than 3 outdoor cats in a rural setting. But in my honest experience, I won’t own another male cat. I’m tired of them peeing everywhere!!

      • My male cat moved away 12 years ago when he was less than two years old. We are still friends, and I drive across the hood to where he lives and feed him and his friends every day after sundown. But my house is always part of some local tomcat’s territory, so it gets peed on heavily.

  • Snakes, particularly harmless and helpful black snakes, are fairly common on our property and I’m grateful to see them rather than more venomous varieties. I find them quite magnificent really and very docile unless they’re threatened. I’ve had to relocate a couple over the years and in doing so I’ve become more comfortable and more understanding of them. I now have a snake stick in order to safely remove them to a more suitable location away from our dogs and our home without harming either of us, and hopefully to encourage husband to feel more comfortable with them as well. They’re certainly not moving away so we may as well accept them as part of living in the country. 😉

  • Three black bears went through my electric fence (three hot strands,two ground) and consumed a year’s honey production. In doing so,they ate all the brood and queens of eleven hives,resulting in the death of my entire apiary.Bears will come back to a food source until it is completely exhausted. We tried bacon and peanut butter on the hot wires,playing a radio (they destroyed it), and even wolf urine purchased from the internet. We reluctantly decided to utilize my little friend, but by that time they moved on.Result? Bears-11,people-0.
    Two years later I am reluctant to replace the bees,and yet again provide an ursine version of McDonald’s!

  • For the livestock, we use portable electrical fencing. The small energizer kicks out about 3kV. The large one, 9kV. While walking the dogs, one of them made the mistake of licking the grounding rod. He never went within 30yrds of the fencing again.
    One or two zaps, and the livestock will not challenge it.
    Except the hogs. Every once in a while I will hear a squeal. Not sure if it is them challenging the fencing, or due to their poor eyesight, they just did not see it.

    One year, had a bad case of rats in and around the barn. .22 air rifle did the job.

    Occasionally a ground hog will show up. The dogs quickly find the holes and after a few visits, the ground hog gets the idea and leaves.

    Seen bear, deer, once a skunk. A few rabbits. I walk the dogs out in the fields daily. Not sure if that is what keeps some of the criters away or not.

    Got barn cats last year. See a lot less mice since then. And I know two of the cats will venture into the fields to hunt. Those two will follow me when I go out to tend to the livestock.

  • Tom,

    You’ve never been to Texas. Here we have feral hogs invading rural and exurban properties, and are moving closer and closer to cities. They can weigh up to 250 pounds and they’ll dig up anything, and eat anything.

    Honestly and truly, they should be at the very top of your list.

    • My parents down in FL have feral hogs too.
      There was an news article about Canadian hogs that got loose and have become a big problem for them. Supposedly, they might come down to the US.
      I raise my hogs on pasture, with only a little feed for the vitamins and minerals they cannot get off pasture. Hogs like that have a much more porky flavor than that commercial stuff.

    • We’ve got them bad in some parts of Canada. I keep hearing they’re migrating south, and causing problems, but you know us Canadians, we are a giving, sharing type of people.

      In all honesty, the ones we’ve got up here aren’t regular hogs. They seem to be a cross between domestic hogs and wild boars brought in from Europe in the 90’s that escaped. I know in our area that there were a bunch of razorbacks that escaped from an Ag college that have bred with local pigs. What that seems to mean is that we have created a species that can grow up to 250 pounds or more, that can be very aggressive and territorial, breeds like crazy, and that has no natural predators.

      Universality of Saskatchewan did a study that said they are increasing their territorial by 34,000 square miles a year. Of course that’s not taking into account that the growth will be exponential as their numbers increase. It’s such a comforting feeling to know that the government is studying the problem – not providing any solutions, but studying it.

  • You mention mice and rats – both can be destructive, but you didn’t mention squirrels. Squirrels can cause more damage than many animals. They will chew their way through a plywood wall to get into sheds or granaries. There is the damage they cause, and the damage caused by rain and snow now entering your buildings. Where I live we call them “tree rats”. Sure they’re cute, but on any rural property they are destructive.

    I may catch some flak for this statement, but generally I find that there are very few pest/predator problems that cannot be solved by the proper application of high velocity modern ammunition.

  • “ they’ll never attack you unless they’re threatened or starving.” I would also add sick or injured to all the above animals, then they attack without reason.
    I couldn’t agree more with having cats as preventative. Include squirrels in the rodent category. They decimate attics and kitchens.
    Additionally, raccoons will go after barn cats, especially kittens. As they’re omnivorous, cats are not safe from them, especially if one has barn cats to feed as a supplement to their mouse hunts. Raccoons will fight the cats for food.

  • Bald eagles and hawks too. They want my dog. Can’t leave her out or they start circling. I think the writer lives in my neck of the mountains. Up here everything wants what you have.

  • We have occasional bears in the neighborhood, also wolves and coyotes down toward the river, but the local chickens are mostly endangered by foxes, weasels (got a local pine marten that wiped out the neighbors’ flocks) and raccoons. The more time my big white dogs spend outside, the less problem we have with wild predators.

  • We live in a small town. We’ve had wild foxes, deer, raccoons, skunks, and armadillos come into our yard, sometimes when we are already out in the yard. They scare off easily, except for the skunks, they’re not afraid of much, and they’ll just turn away from you, which is the same as if someone points a gun at you. 🙂 Cats will keep snakes and mice away from your property, if you have a couple that hang around your house. We live in rattlesnake country, and have never had one in our yard since we’ve had a few cats hanging around’]-

  • Folks who live out in rural areas are very familiar and comfortable – as well as equipped – to deal with potential wildlife threats.

    Folks who live in cities and what not should probably just stay in the city, it’s not safe for folks like that out here.

  • Somehow the two legged varmints got left off the list. I see them as bad as the upcoming onslaught of feral hogs, popping up everywhere. At least the hogs don’t spill out venomous platitudes and vicious propoganda and rhetoric.

  • I feel lije this is written by a liberal…who else woukd say “youve moved into THEIR land”? Blatant leftist thoughts. God gave man to rule over the land and subdue it. It is nan that is in charge on Gods created earth, not these beautiful creatures. If tgey attack you eliminate them…”but I have no gun”…Why? I ask. How foolish of you.


    Ok if you fear these animals and arent prepared to Lord it over them ( yes you were made a god like creature to these beasts…to be feared)…did you stop believing God? You started following man? Its time to wake up cupcake…the world is a seriously dangerous place…your last fear should be of the unarmed beasts, when you have armed beasts among us…fully wild….and you sit there and whimper…but but but thats dangerous.

    You forgot WHO you are!

    • ^^^ Tell us you’re crazy and arrogant without saying you’re crazy and arrogant.

      Anyone who has lived in areas where the ‘burbs have pushed into the wild knows for a fact that wildlife, which was, in fact living there first, can be a threat.

      I can’t take you seriously.

    • Go walk up to a grizzly armed only with a pocket knife and give the bear a jab.
      Let us know how that works out for you.

  • This is why hunting has always been an essential safety measure for humans and animals, yet now that people think they all talk, live parallel human lives, and are willing to stop being predators, that’s not happening anymore.

  • You gots to devote one night a week and hunt them down or wait for them after you set up some nice traps/bait. That’s 52 times a year to keeps them away or dead.

  • I’ve encountered some of these for sure. I see deer regularly. The main danger they pose is when they run out in front of your car, and you don’t have room to stop. I did hit one once, and replacing my headlight cost me $100. I had a close encounter with a black bear. He was foraging near a cabin because drought had depleted his natural food supply. He was only six feet away from me when I noticed him. I took his picture. He lost interest and wandered off. We have also had a number of rattlesnakes. One time our daughter stepped right over one. Another time, our son was running behind the house without boots, at dusk. He got bitten. We treated him with herbs, and he recovered fully. I got an excellent picture of a rattlesnake under my car, from a distance of about six feet. I have also been within four feet of a bobcat. I was sitting on a stool at his eye level. He looked at me and walked off. For awhile, a spotted skunk was getting into the trailer. We stopped every hole we could find, but he still got in. We shut the cat up in a room to keep her from encountering the skunk. Next time we went into the trailer, the skunk was IN with the cat. The 1″ gap under the door was enough to get in. We finally stopped it by putting borax at the bottom of the pipe he was climbing. He never sprayed, and might have been a pet. Rats and mice are an ongoing problem in the house, and the most effective deterrent is ultrasound, but I still get them. Packrats harbor kissing bugs, which have bitten me hundreds of times, and I developed a nasty skin infection that took decades to heal (I had to get the diagnosis and then find a remedy that worked.) I still have not found a way to stop them completely. The best working remedy was taken off the market. I tell people, if you can’t handle the critters, you don’t belong in the desert.

      • I strongly advise you to GO TO THE HOSPITAL if you are bitten by a venomous snake. You are risking your life to do otherwise.

  • Here we have Bears, coyotes, skunks, Snakes, Deer and {rabbits and squirrels} eat my garden, Mice come after chicken feed and edibles in the part of the home where dogs don’t go, Mountain Lions and Bobcats, and Elk from the higher areas nearby.
    Mostly keeping areas clean keeps them from being so attracted. Garden is my one area that stays attractive to wildlife. Some are simply searching for water as it been a very hot dry year. Bears and Deer will come to fruit trees and berries in harvest seasons.
    Pets are always fed inside here because of wildlife.

  • We live trap the Squrrels and release them miles away near a small stream away from humans. Friend uses fritoes and peanutbutter in his trap set up here.

  • Foxes, pidgens, geese… And do not forget Colorado beetle, various larva and slugs… We do not worry about bears 🙂

  • We have bark scorpions, fat blue-green fluorescent scorpions, great desert centipedes, about ten kinds of annoying ants of all sizes, huge scary wind scorpions, amazing huge crab spiders with eyes on long stalks, coyotes, big dogs on the loose, badgers, great horned owls, and impaired drivers to contend with.

  • We also have centipedes, millipedes, grasshoppers in a jungle array of colors, an amazing variety of spiders, badgers, loose big dogs, and too many abandoned pets and too frequent rattlesnakes of at least 3 different varieties. My personal war is with hungry rabbits that want to eat every new veggie sprout in the garden. 3′ chicken wire surrounds everything like a prison compound. I wish my dog could live in the garden and I miss my 12 to 15 ferrell cats that I used to feed and watch out for. They were very effective aids. Dogs that kill my rabbits or chickens tend to die of lead poisoning.

  • We have bear, mountain lion, deer, raccoons, snakes, poisonous spiders, rats, mice, possums, stray dogs, etc here in the mountains. We raise and breed a rare breed of livestock guardian dogs which takes 100% care of protecting the livestock. For the wildlife that attempts to decimate plants, I was recently introduced to holographic ribbon this year and it’s a huge game changer. We have some fruit trees and Japanese cherry blossom trees in areas where there are not always dogs, and the deer were destroying the trees by eating the leaves and breaking the branches. A friend told me about the holographic ribbon so I bought some off Amazon, wove it around the trees and left some 6-8” stands hanging that would blow and move in the breeze, and the deer have not been back. Supposedly, the holographic ribbon will work on things like blueberry bushes that the birds ravage. I didn’t get the ribbon in time this year so no blueberries this time but will also weave it around the bushes next year.

    Fencing goes around the garden for the mice, etc because I don’t know if the tape would work with those species but it definitely has come to an abrupt halt with deer jumping the fences. We use high tensile Hotwire on the property but deer can easily fly over 6’.

    Regardless, the holographic ribbon/tape has been a game changer. Less work. Less stress and aggravation. For $13 on Amazon, I have enough for a couple of years. The ribbon looks kind of stupid on the trees but there’s obviously a method to the madness.

  • In our area (desert outside of Tucson), we also have problems with coyotes and bobcats going after livestock and poultry. Besides gophers, the other garden pest is a ground squirrel that resembles a small prairie dog, both of which tunnel everywhere.

  • Elk are not my favorite. They have destroyed the bottom part of my favorite plum and half of my son’s apple tree that we let him select when he was younger.
    It’s not worth it to put up an elk proof fence around 5 acres where the “orchard area” is and to think of fencing each tree – what a pain!
    When we moved here we just needed a fence to keep the neighbor’s cattle out of our property. And so we planted trees here and there but close enough for pollinators.
    We also have wolves (took down one of the neighbors’ longhorns – fairly close to their house) coyotes (keep me awake at night sometimes – not because their calls wake me up but because the dogs hear the calls and go crazy) bears, cougars, although we haven’t seen a moose around here in quite a few years, plus the small monsters- skunks, squirrels, ground squirrels (bad for the ground and they’re hard on trees and gardens), and chipmunks- they’re so cute but they like to get in vehicles. I must admit that I never kept rodent traps on the floor of the car when I lived in Houston. And to have them start messing around, chewing, or nesting under the hood is NO fun.
    But all that is still worth it. A 20 lane freeway 5 blocks from where I used to live isn’t my idea of a nice place to live, so I’ll keep on dealing with what I have.

  • Around here the biggest danger to chickens is hawks—an invasive species called Harris Hawks. They hunt in packs, usually three but I’ve seen six in a pack. A chicken pen needs a fence-type roof to keep out the hawks.

    We’ve had a drought around here for a few years, with the result that all wildlife has become more scarce, except those little ground squirrels that leave holes all around. Even pack rats are not as common.

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