Virginia.gov

Nuisance & Problem Wildlife

How to Prevent or Resolve Conflict with Wildlife

As human populations continue to rise and move into traditional wildlife habitat, human/wildlife contact is becoming more prevalent. This section provides general information and techniques for Virginia property owners when wildlife becomes a problem.

Below are some easy techniques which will usually solve the problem and prevent it from re-occurring:

  • If you are feeding wildlife, stop. This will cause them to lose their natural fear of humans.
  • Keep trash inside until the morning of trash pick-up or place trash in an animal proof container, such as a metal trashcan with latches on the lids.
  • Do not leave pet food outside; keep pet feeding areas clean.
  • Remove bird feeders when problem species, such as bears, have been seen around them.
  • Close up all openings under and into your buildings. Animals look for places to den and raise their young—don't give them that opportunity.
  • Clear overhanging tree limbs and branches which may be providing wildlife access to structures.
  • Clear fallen fruit from around trees.
  • Pass along this information to your neighbors. If anyone in the neighborhood is feeding wildlife directly, or indirectly, it can cause trouble for everyone.
  • Soak a rag in ammonia and place the rag in or on the trash can(s) or building(s) that are the problem areas. The smell will discourage future visits. Remember, you will need to repeat this after a rainstorm.
  • Moth balls placed in trashcans or around buildings will achieve the same results.
  • Reflective tape, lights, or noise sometimes works, but they will eventually grow accustomed to these methods, so this is only a temporary solution.
  • Electric fencing can be very effective in keeping wildlife out of crops, beehives and structures.
  • It is illegal in the State of Virginia to trap and relocate an animal to another area.

If these techniques do not solve the problem, you can contact a licensed trapper or a critter removal service which you can find in your local phone directory.

If you are experiencing a problem with wildlife, please dial our toll-free wildlife conflict helpline at 1-855-571-9003.