Red squirrel on bird feeder

Here are some basic tips for living with the wildlife that is found or attracted to areas near people. These tips explain how to live with and enjoy wildlife responsibly. 

Remember, our behavior as people affects the behavior of wildlife.

Do not feed wildlife
Direct feeding can alter an animal's normal behavior. Problems occur when animals become habituated (used to people) through a prolonged period of direct and/or indirect feeding.

Keep trash and garbage around your yard contained and picked up
Do not put your trash out for pick up the next day unless it is in a sealed container that wildlife cannot get into as many wildlife species are most active at night.

Keep compost in a container that allows the material to vent but keeps wildlife from getting into it.

Do not feed pets outdoors
The pet food attracts wildlife right to your door.

Restrain or secure your pets
Although free roaming pets are more likely to be killed by automobiles than by wild animals, there are wildlife predators like coyotes, foxes or fishers that view cats as potential prey and dogs as competition for mates and food resources. For the safety of your pets, keep them restrained at all times.

Remove bird feeders especially if wildlife is seen around the feeders
The seed in bird feeders can attract many small and medium sized mammals (squirrels, chipmunks, mice) these, in turn attract animals that prey on squirrels, chipmunks, and mice. If possible, try to find a bird feeder that does not allow seed to spill.

Close off crawl spaces under porches, decks and sheds
Wildlife will use these areas as dens for resting and raising their young.

Do protect livestock and produce
Wildlife predators will prey upon livestock. There are techniques for protecting livestock from predation. Fencing can be useful in keeping wildlife out of certain areas. It is a good idea to clear fallen fruit from around fruit trees in the fall.

Do not approach or try to touch wildlife
Wildlife which becomes habituated may approach other humans expecting food or attention. This is not safe for the animals or for people. Don't provoke an encounter by moving too close to a wild animal or by restricting its free movement.
 
Do educate your neighbors
Share this information with your neighbors since your good efforts could be futile if neighbors are purposely or unintentionally providing food or shelter for wildlife. Post our flyer, Living with Wildlife pdf format of Living with Wildlife in the Suburbs .

The kind of wildlife that thrives in suburban environments are among the most adaptable and interesting animals. Inevitably there are occasions when conflicts arise. 

If you experience property damage or if an animal appears ill, contact the closest MassWildlife District Office during business hours. If a problem requires immediate response contact local public safety officials or the Massachusetts Environmental Police at 1-800-632-8075.