They have learned to live with us in our urban landscape, yet we are far from accepting them as neighbours and an integrated part of our urban society. They are our wild neighbours - the skunk, raccoon, squirrel, and other wild animals who have managed to survive and adapt to living in our towns and cities. As urban developments encroach on the natural habitats of wild animals, human-wildlife conflicts have become much more common.
Read the BC SPCA's wildlife control best practices for: bats, beavers, birds (separate: geese & swans, pigeons, starlings), frogs & toads, mice & rats, moles & voles, mustelids, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, snakes, squirrels, turtles.
Our backyard neighbours
The BC SPCA promotes non-lethal methods for resolving these occasional conflicts and provides information to cultivate a respectful attitude towards our urban wild neighbours. Taking measures to prevent animals from entering your house or damaging your property can be the most effective solution to deterring unwanted animal guests. Prevention includes removing attractants to wildlife including securing household garbage and blocking entrances to houses, sheds, and barns.
For more information, download an educational brochure:
Don't feed the animals - Keeping wildlife healthy and wild
Pets & Wildlife - Keeping pets and wildlife safe and healthy
Trapping is NOT the solution
Live trapping and relocation is not a long-term or humane solution. Trapped animals often suffer severe injury and sometimes death in their attempts to escape. Relocation not only fails to solve local problems but often creates new problems at the release site by upsetting the natural balance of existing resident populations. As well, relocated animals often face starvation unless there are adequate food sources and territorial challenges from existing animals that can result in injury or death.
A live trap may attract other animals including domestic animals to the area. Trapping causes severe stress to the animals and often separates mothers from their young resulting in the agonizing death of the young. Even when an entire family is captured and relocated, the mother may abandon her young at the new site due to pressure to find food and care for her young.
For more information on squirrels, skunks, raccoons, pigeons, and rats and mice, download this series of fact sheets produced by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.
When to intervene
When intervention is really needed, we recommend that you call a company that takes into consideration the animals' well being and uses exclusion principles rather than trapping/relocation or killing. For example, in Metro Vancouver, AAA Wildlife Control and Care Pest & Wildlife Control use such exclusion practices for raccoon, skunk, and squirrel problems.