LIVING WITH WILDLIFE IN OXNARD
What can I do about Urban Wildlife in my area to avoid problems?
- Never intentionally feed wild animals.
- Don’t leave pet food or water outside.
- Secure the lids of your outdoor garbage cans.
- Pick ripe and fallen fruit daily.
- Clear away woodpiles and brush piles and keep your vegetation neatly trimmed near the house
- Close access to crawl spaces, attics, and garbage spaces. Keep all doors closed at night.
Seeing or hearing coyotes right in your backyard can be a problem.
The coyote (Canis latrans), a member of the dog family, is native to California. It closely resembles a small German shepherd dog with the exception of the long snout and bushy, black-tipped tail. Its color varies individually in shades of black, brown, gray, yellow, and white.
Coyotes are omnivores; they eat both meat and vegetation. They primarily hunt rodents and rabbits for food, but will take advantage of whatever is available including garbage, pet food, and domestic animals. Fruits and berries are eaten during summer and fall and large animals like deer is important in winter. They also eat grass, insects, reptiles and amphibians, fish, birds, and small mammals.
Coyotes play an important role in the ecosystem, helping to keep rodent and squirrel populations under control. Without coyotes we would be over run with rats, rodents, rabbits and squirrels. Coyote is the last natural predator of all those pests.
When an effort to eradicate coyotes to reduce its population was in placed, the animal responded by producing more and larger litters and the female coyotes breed for the first time at an earlier age. It was not the solution to solve the conflict between humans and wildlife. The solution to avoid conflict with the wildlife is for us to learn to coexist.
Coyotes who adapt to human settlements become bolder, appearing often in daylight and sometimes standing their ground when threatened. Some residents have reported coyotes roaming onto front porches or into backyards. Remember never to run from a coyote if you are confronted with one. Instead, make yourself look big and then shout. Always remember that coyotes are wild animals and should remain that way.
Ways to discourage coyotes from invading your property and reducing the chance of human-coyote conflicts:
- Do not feed coyotes. Deliberately feeding coyotes puts you, your pets and your neighbors at risk.
- Do not leave small children unattended outside where coyotes are known to roam.
- Keep fruit trees fenced or pick up fruit that falls to the ground.
- Do not feed feral cats. Coyotes prey on the cats, as well as feed on cat food left out for them.
- Feed pets indoors whenever possible. Pick up any leftovers if feeding outdoors. Store pet and livestock feed where it is inaccessible to wildlife.
- Do not allow pets to run free. Keep them safely confined and provide secure nighttime housing for them. Walk your dog on a leash and accompany your pet outside, especially at night. Provide secure shelters for poultry, rabbits, and other vulnerable animals.
- Keep garbage securely stored to avoid spilling if the cans are tipped over. Keep compost piles securely covered.
- Minimize ground cover vegetation near children’s play areas to avoid attracting rodents and small mammals that will in turn attract coyotes.
To scare off coyotes
Squirt water at them (with high-pressure hose attachments) or throw rocks in the animal’s direction.
Use noise-making and other scaring devices when coyotes are seen. Blast them with a hand-held air horn.
Be assertive in your attitude and behavior towards coyotes.
Always remember that coyotes are wild animals and should remain that way. Please respect and protect wild animals. KEEP THEM WILD.
The Opossum are omnivorous and take almost any available animal food or fleshy fruit. In residential areas, they find an almost unlimited food source in garbage cans and unattended pet food. They coexist quite acceptably with most cats that will often stand aside and allow the opossum to have its fair share of the kibble. Opossums also eat fish, birds, mammals, crustaceans, insects, mushrooms, grass, eggs and dead animals.
Opossums are low on the rabies instance list in the State of California; therefore they are not considered a high-risk carrier of the disease and have little, if any, significant threat to humans. Also, opossums do carry fleas and ticks as all wild and some domestic animals.
The following suggestions will be helpful to discourage opossums from visiting your yard:
What to do if you encounter an Opossum…
- Keep trash cans tightly covered. If possible, store them in a building or shed that is inaccessible to wildlife.
- Feed pets INDOORS. Don’t leave open bags or containers of kibble, pellets, grain, etc., where they can become an attractant.
- Keep garage doors CLOSED when not in use and be sure that all vents leading into the structures have sturdy screening or grillwork.
- Promptly gather and dispose of any fallen fruit, berries or nuts.
- Clear your yard of unnecessary clutter and debris that might provide a hiding/nesting place or harbor insects, which opossums enjoy.
- Change automatic sprinkler settings regularly.
- Remove garbage, debris, lumber, etc.
- Check fencing, eliminate access points, and seal house and decking foundations.
NOTHING!!! Just watch and enjoy one of nature’s beneficial wildlife species.
Oxnard Animal Safety will respond to and impound any opossum that is injured, sick, or dead only. If any of these conditions exist, please call (805) 385-7786.
I have a swarm of bees in my yard. What can I do about them?
Leave the swarm or hive alone and contact a local beekeeper that might want to collect the bees, or contact a private exterminator found in your telephone book.
A raccoon is digging in my yard. What can I do?
- The best way to stop damage to lawns and gardens is to eliminate the food source that they are searching for. The animals are looking for grubs and subterranean insects that they feed upon. You can use beneficial predator nematodes to effectively control these pests and stop the unwanted behavior by raccoons.
- You can also sprinkle your planters with cayenne pepper to discourage grub hunting.
- Protect trees by pruning them back.
- Water your lawn in the early morning rather than in the evening.