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Nuisance Animal Trapping Primer

If you've tried repellents, excluding, and frightening away a pest animal and it's still causing problems, you can trap and release it, or use a lethal trap. Trapping is an effective way to remove a specific pest animal, but isn't useful against a large local population over the long run. In the latter case, trapping should be done in conjunction with exclusion, fencing, or altering the habitat. 

It's best to call your local wildlife officer to handle nuisance and pest animals. However, if you're willing to do the dirty work of trapping the pest yourself, here are some tips that you may find useful: 

  • Minimize signs of humans. Handle traps as little as possible and mask your scent by wearing gloves.

  • Make sure the trap is the proper size and sturdy enough to handle the pesty animal that is causing you problems. 

  • Anchor the trap so the animal can't roll it over and eventually escape. 

  • Bait the trap a few times before setting to train the animal that it's a safe to approach it. 

  • Make a trail of treats to the trap, and pile some in the back or on the trap for the animal to find. 

  • Disinfect the trap with bleach after using. Rabies is transmitted by saliva, and you don't necessarily have to be bitten to get the disease. 

  • Place plywood or other material under live traps to prevent animal from scratching up the lawn or garden once they're caught. 

  • Use extreme caution when releasing large animals (e.g. raccoon, skunk, woodchuck). The safest method is to tie a strong rope to the trap door. Run the rope through an open window into your vehicle, so you can pull open the trap door from a safety point and distance. 

  • Opossum Trap - Rear Release - 36 inches

  • Check traps daily, and release or bury animals as soon as possible.

Live Trapping

Live trapping and releasing animals has become popular. It seems no one really wants to hurt those creatures. In many cases live trapping can be more cruel than killing the animal outright. Relocated animals sometimes become disoriented and aren't able to fit into their new surroundings, often starving to death. If you use live traps, contact the Humane Society to determine the best methods, times to trap, and the best way to release a wild or pest animal before setting the trap. Some animals are protected from trapping by state laws in various states. 

Once you've caught the animal, be careful. Wild animals can carry diseases such as rabies. Frightened skunks will be more likely to spray (Skunk Odor Remover), and an agitated woodchuck will nip in self-defense. 

Humane traps are like pet carriers. Handles make it easier to transport animals to a more suitable location.


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