Simple precautions make it easy to live in harmony with our wild neighbors. Wildlife is only attracted to neighborhoods for access to food and/or shelter - the first and best way to reduce conflicts is prevention.
Just remove access to all attractants such as garbage, pet food and bird seed, and repairs structures to block holes or other access to shelter. Responsible pet ownership keeps both pets and wildlife safe.
Scroll down this page to find easy solutions for any conflicts with any of our local wildlife -
Coyote conflicts are easily avoided -
Know what attracts them – any and all food sources!
Secure garbage, pet food and birdseed inside or in
animal resistant containers.
Do not let pets run loose. Keep them inside at night.
Protect pets and gardens with fences topped with
Use deterrents such as motion-activated lights and
water sprinklers and/or sound alarms.
Better Gardening With Coyotes –
Voles, moles, gophers and rabbits, frequent yard pests,
make up the better part of a coyote’s diet.
Coyotes can consume thousands of mice per year,
preventing rodent encroachment into homes and yards.
Coyotes benefit the ecosystem by controlling rodents
and smaller predators, which studies show has positive
effects for songbirds and waterfowl.
Visit the website
for Project Coyote -
"Promoting coexistence between people and wildlife thru education, science and advocacy"
Raccoons can be very cute, but they also can dig in yards, get into garbage cans,
or nest under houses, or even get into confrontations with pets.
To avoid problems, be sure to secure all garbage cans, do not leave pet food outside or near pet doors.
Keep bird feedors well out of reach, and use trays to reduce seed on ground.
Use environmentally friendly repellents
to make plants unpalatable.
Use motion-acitivated sprinklers or alarms to scare animals away.
Call Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care with any problems or for more information at
Rabbits are also cute, but they will eat almost everything in your garden!
Fence garden areas with 1" wire mesh (chicken wire) which is at least 3' high and buried at least 12" below the ground.
Place one-liter soda bottles with bottoms cut out over seedlings until they are large enough to endure mild browsing.
Use environmentally friendly repellents found at home/garden stors or motion-activiated sprinklers or alarms to send them away.
Do NOT use spray containing urine of predators like fox or bobcat.
Squirrels and Chipmunks.... and what about Porcupines or Skunks?
Avoid problems by removing attractants or shelter.
Various squirrel resistant bird feeders and bafflers can prevent access to birdseed; trays reduce seed on ground. There are lots of options in local hardware stores or online
Do NOT use repellents (hot-peppers, etc.) on bird feeders
That can be harmful for birds!
In spring chipmunks and squirrels will have babies, so Do Not Disturb if they have nests some place where you don't want them to be.
When verified that babies are gone, use mothballs or soak rags in Pine-Sol and place them well back into the openings. The smell will drive them out. Once they are gone, repair all holes, cap the chimney, fix loose siding, or other openings. Note: squirrels are daytime animals, except for the flying squirrels.
(seen in photo at right).
Porcupines and skunks are both very shy, nocturnal and seldom seen (so no photos).
But dogs can find them....
Note: porcupines do NOT shoot their quills
Direct contact must be made to get "quilled".
Again, avoid problems by removing access to food or shelter (especially under floors).
Make sure all holes or openings to under structures are repaired and closed tight.
Best to keep dogs in fenced areas and under control while on walks in the woods and especially at night.
Call Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, 530-577-2273,
for specific concerns or problems.
Most homeowners enjoy birds, but various conflicts can arise -
woodpeckers may make nest holes, birds may roost or build nests in undesirable places, or disturb gardens, or fly into windows.
To keep birds away, use a scare device, such as model owls or reflective tape. Use netting to protect gardens and fruit trees.
To prevent perching, fasten wood or metal at a steep angle on ledges (birds prefer flat surfaces) or use one of a variety of 'bird wires'.
Use moving/reflective devices like windsocks or chimes outside windows to prevent birds flying into them.
Woodpecker holes - Check to see if there are babies, and if you see babies, call Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care at 530-577-2273 for info. If not, then mend the hole with wood putty and staple 1/4" hardware cloth a minimum of 12" around all sides of the hole.
Cliff swallows make mud nests under eaves, and they are federally protected. You CANNOT destroy the nest if there are eggs or babies. Call LTWC, 530-577-2273.
Bats are attracted to warm dark areas to roost, sometimes in buildings. They generally do not cause any real damage, but may frighten people. But remember - bats are very beneficial for insect control.
To remove bats, wait until all have left to feed at nightfall, and then fill the area with regular-old mothballs, and seal all holes and cracks (bats can get thru openings as small as 3/8").
Or attach bird netting or flexible plastic strips at openings with the bottom loose to create a 1-way exit so bats can leave but not re-enter.
Bright lighting both day and night is annoying to nocturnal animals. Fans can cool areas such as attics, making the temperature unsuitable.
Gophers & Moles or Mice & Rats....
The burrows that these animals make can benefit soil by aerating it, but gophers eat and disturb plants, and mounds of dirt are unsightly.
Water frequently - very moist soil is undesirable to most burrowing animals. Protect plants with wire mseh at bulbs and roots or under planting areas.
Use environmentally friendly repellents such as castor oil or capsicum, found at most hardware, garden stores and catalogs.
For rodents in a house or other structure -
Block holes (especially at plumbing) and fill all cracks in the house and under the floor to exclude rodents. Remove all food sources, keep areas clean, and store food in glass, metal or plastic containers.
All Tahoe bears are Black Bears, but are often shades of brown or tan.
There are no grizzlies in California. Black bears are not aggressive, and not overly protective of cubs - mother bears send cubs up trees if there is any danger. Both adults and cubs are excellent cllimbers.
They are omnivorous, always searching for food and have a VERY good sense of smell. They may approach or enter homes if they smell food, or if they have found food before. They are very smart and strong and learn to get into open or unlocked windows and doors or under homes
PLEASE DO NOT FEED OUR BEARS!
Do not make bears feel welcome - make noise or throw things to scare them away - they will learn to respect your territory.
Remove all attractants - secure all garbage, pet food and birdseed inside or in approved animal resistant containters.
In unoccupied or vacation homes, best to remove all food, even spices and teas, to avoid attracting bears. Do not leave food in cars,
and close and lock all car doors and windows. Close and lock first floor windows and doors when you leave your house.
Secure areas under floors and decks, especially in fall when bears are looking for dry, safe unoccupied spaces for winter dens.
Consider "electrifying" you home, especially if it is a part-time or vacation home - the most effective defense against any break-ins.
Call the BEAR League at 530-525-PAWS (525-7297) for more information and specific suggestions on preventing problems.