Follow these tips to keep wildlife at bay

CRYSTAL LAKE – McHenry County Animal Control has received numerous calls recently for wildlife removal. 

Animal Control can provide assistance with domestic animal issues, but it does not provide wildlife removal services. Wildlife concerns and complaints are best left to professional nuisance wildlife control operators.

Because of safety concerns, in most cases, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources recommends residents hire an nuisance wildlife control operator to remove the bird or animal that is causing a problem.

Animal Control should be called if a bat is found inside a residential living space (potential rabies exposure), if a mammal is sick or injured or if it is an endangered species. Animal Control can be reached at 815-459-6222.

Homeowners are discouraged from trapping the animal themselves. Many of the mammals in Illinois are legally protected by the Illinois Wildlife Code. 

If the animal is causing substantial property damage or causing a safety issue, residents can hire a nuisance wildlife control operator, contact APHIS Wildlife Services for assistance or contact IDNR to request a removal permit.

An animal removal permit is issued only if the IDNR determines the animal is causing substantial property damage or if there is a public health or safety issue.

Check out the How to Prevent Problems with Urban Wildlife section, University of Illinois Extension’s “Living with Wildlife in Illinois” at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife.

Wild animals are attracted to homes by food and shelter. IDNR offers the following tips:

• Do not encourage wildlife (squirrels, raccoons) by feeding or leaving food for them.

• Don’t allow bird food to accumulate on the ground. 

• Don’t place food scraps in gardens or compost bins.

• Keep pet food and water containers indoors, especially at night.

• If you have fruit trees, harvest or dispose of fruit when it is ripe.

• Use metal or durable plastic trash containers.

• Keep grass and vegetation manicured to limit cover; remove brush piles/debris to eliminate shelter.

To find a nuisance wildlife control operator, visit http://web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife/professionals.cfm. 

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