University of Maryland Extension

May Wildlife Tips

spotted salamander sitting on hand
Spotted salamander 

(More tips from HGIC)

  • Snakes, turtles and toads are all very active now. These are all very beneficial creatures. They are very sensitive to pollutants such as pesticides. Their presence in the landscape is a sign of a healthy environment. To learn more about snakes in Maryland watch our wildlife video playlist.
  • 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. Small deodorant soap bars have been used with some success. Polywire fencing connected to an inexpensive, solar-powered charger can also successfully exclude deer.  Refer to (PDF) FS 810-A, Using Commercial Deer Repellents to Manage Deer Browsing in the Landscape.

  • Rabbits and groundhogs can be a serious threat to flower and vegetable gardens, feeding on young and tender plants. Rabbits can be excluded with a low, 2 ft. high fence that is secured to the ground. Groundhogs can climb, so an additional strand of electric fence wire at the top is necessary. You can also repel them with commercial repellents or blood meal, or by sprinkling hot pepper flakes around plants.

  • No permit is required to trap a groundhog. However, permission is required from the landowner before releasing into suitable habitat. Consideration should be given to relocating groundhogs during spring while the young are in the den or in the autumn immediately before hibernation when there may not be time to establish a winter den.

  • Remove bird nests attached to your house after the birds have left to prevent problems with bird mites coming into your home. These small mites do bite people. Bird nests may also be found in rain gutters, and chimneys.

  • Squirrels feed on tender new plant growth and dig up seeds, flowers, and bulbs in search of food. Discourage squirrels by removing access to food sources such as bird feeders. Rotate the use of commercial repellents. Protect individual or small groups of plants with a fine mesh netting or a floating row cover. To deter digging sprinkle crushed oyster shells over the surface of the garden. You can protect newly planted bulbs with a piece of one-inch mesh chicken wire extending at least a foot beyond the edge of the bed and mulch.

  • Moles and voles are active. Moles create raised tunnels in lawns. Control by tamping down tunnels with your foot whenever they appear. Moles do not necessarily indicate a white grub problem. They feed on a wide range of soil critters including earthworms. Voles create tunnels underground that are not raised. Look for entrance holes about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Sometimes tunnels are shallow and are open along the soil surface. Voles feed on plant material such as roots, bark, or the entire plant. Where voles are a problem try using mouse snap traps baited with apples or peanut butter. Cover with a shingle or piece of wood to increase effectiveness.

  • 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 program operates a toll-free Nuisance Wildlife Information Line: 877-463-6497. Normal working hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 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 workday.
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