University of Maryland Extension

January & February Wildlife Tips

raccoon walking in snow
Raccoons (Procyon lotor) can be identified by the dark face mask and ringed tail. Photo courtesy of Bob Gress. IDNR image library and Univ. of Illinois Extension

(More tips from HGIC)

  • As food becomes scarce during cold weather, skunks, fox, coyotes, opossum, raccoons, and other wildlife will come closer to homes. Remove food sources like pet food and keep trash can lids tightly secured. Keep attic and basement doors closed to keep mice and other critters out of the home. Chimney caps will prevent squirrels and raccoons from coming down the chimney. Refer to (PDF) HG 90 Dealing with Nuisance Wildlife.

  • Where deer are feeding on garden and landscape plants, apply a repellent, such as “Deer-Away”, “Hinder” or “Ro-Pel” to vulnerable plants. If deer pressure is heavy, try rotating repellents or fence-off plants.  Small deodorant soap bars and other types of repellents are used with some success.

  • The USDA, APHIS, Wildlife Services program has a cooperative agreement with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Division, to provide the residents of Maryland with information on how to deal with nuisance wild animals. The USDA, APHIS, Wildlife Service operates a toll-free Nuisance Wildlife Information Line, 877-463-6497. Normal working hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. People calling after hours, or on weekends and holidays, may leave a message on the answering machine and calls will be returned during the next work day.
  • Continue to feed wild birds through the remaining winter weeks. Black oil sunflower seeds and suet cakes are a good choice for a wide variety of birds. Keep bird feeders clean and provide your wild birds with fresh water.

  • Squirrels will come to eat the bird food you put out even when your bird feeders are advertised as “squirrel-proof”. Squirrels quickly become tolerant to the hot pepper repellent added to some bird feeds. Place squirrel baffles around feeders to keep them out, learn to live with squirrels, or offer them alternate food like ears of feed corn. Consult the staff at your local wild bird store for more detailed feeding suggestions.

  • This is the mating season for foxes. Late at night, they make a loud noise that sounds like a person screaming. (Listen)
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