Wildlife-Proofing Your Property
A safe place to live, food to eat, a place to raise a family — it's not just people but the many types of wild animals, birds and other species that call Oakville home that require these things as well. If there's appropriate habitat, wildlife will make use of it. Understanding how to wildlife-proof yourself and your property helps prevent conflicts from occurring and makes for good neighbours.
The majority of conflict situations involving wildlife are the responsibility of the property owner, set out by Provincial law. In some cases, it's straight forward — for example when a squirrel is nesting in your attic. In other cases, other agencies or levels of government may be required to intervene such as feeding of wildlife that may lead to conflict situations (such as rodents or coyotes). For details, visit Ontario's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act website.
The town supports a living with wildlife approach and offers the following information to help reduce conflict situations.
The Toronto Wildlife Centre's manual, Answering the call of the wild is an excellent resource offering information on dealing with wildlife situations on your property and conflict prevention measures for most species of animals, birds and reptiles. Copies of this book are available at the Oakville Public Library or Town Hall.
The town's Wildlife Conflict Guidelines (pdf, 400 kB) provides detailed information on how to handle various wildlife conflict situations, who is responsible and preventive measures.
Fact sheets are available on a number of topics:
Feeding is one of the main reasons conflicts can arise between people and wildlife. Besides causing problems for people, it’s also not healthy for wildlife and can result in serious consequences, even death.
Problems for wildlife include:
- Animals can become dependent on artificial food supplies
- Animals lose their natural fear of humans and pets, which may cause more conflict
- Artificial food sources are not healthy for wildlife to consume and can cause serious illness
- Feeding animals roadside can increase their risk of being hit by vehicles.
Problems for people include:
- Feeding wildlife may attract unwanted species to your property
- Animals will learn to associate humans with food, which can become a problem to the community
- Adapted animals may become aggressive
- Overfeeding animals (such as Canada geese and pigeons) can cause excess waste materials which is both unhealthy and unsightly
In cases of problem feeding issues, the town's Property Standards By-law (2011-075) prohibits feeding that attracts pests or creates potentially unsafe conditions (e.g. rodents, coyotes). The Parks By-law (2013-013) restricts feeding of wildlife in public spaces. Both of these by-laws carry associated penalties that may be levied for ongoing situations.
Checklist for wildlife-proofing your property
Although wild animals can become a nuisance, they don’t usually threaten human health or safety. The least traumatic and most inexpensive way of dealing with wild animals is to animal-proof your property before wildlife moves in. By vaccinating and securely confining pets, and teaching your children to respect wildlife and to leave wild animals alone, you can reduce any risk to human health and safety.
Here’s a handy checklist you can use to wildlife-proof your home. Open the checklist for wildlife proofing your property (pdf 270 kB) or you can request one by contacting the town.