harvest mice Alex Clark

Alex Clark

All creatures need food, warmth and shelter, so if they don’t get it, most creatures naturally leave. Most lethal deterrents don’t work (and if they do, there are other issues). If you kill a mouse, its babies will be left behind and you’ll also never get rid of the smell. Avoid dodgy ‘natural methods’ like essential oils (some can kill wildlife but also harm pets and children, if you don’t know what you’re doing).

Foxes (and owls) both eat rats, so are a good part of nature (this post includes tips to keep hens and other prey animals safe). The Fox Project runs a humane deterrence programme, you can call them for expert help and advice. The organisation offers a do-it-yourself fox deterrence consultancy focusing on simple humane methods and offers direct help over the southeast of England for sick, injured and abandoned cubs.

For the most part, deter unwelcome critters by deep-cleaning everywhere with scent-free biodegradable liquids, open the windows ajar to air, use a good vacuum cleaner and throw out old food and crumbs and fizzy drink cans etc.

If using plants to deter critters, learn how to make gardens safe for pets (includes indoor plants to avoid). Avoid facing indoor foliage to gardens, to help stop birds flying into windows.

Humane Wildlife Solutions offers 100% humane, vegan and non-lethal alternatives to pest control, to help overcome wildlife conflict on domestic and commercial properties. This is done through repelling and deterring, instead of trapping or killing. The company offers a nationwide consultancy and runs a gull helpline (read why we should give seagulls back their natural homes).

books to help humanely deter critters

Humane Critter Control looks at how to humanely deter nearly all creatures using protective barriers (avoid netting as it harms wildlife – or choose wildlife-friendly versions with tiny holes that don’t trap creatures), and outsmart invaders with insect behaviour knowledge.

The Humane Gardener looks at how to welcome wildlife and deter unwelcome visitors, without harming other creatures.

Living with Urban Wildlife is the definitive guide to deter all unwelcome visitors without harm, by expert John Bryant

inventions to to humanely deter critters

  1. Grazers is a nontoxic calcium spray that is used to humanely deter deer, pigeons, geese, wild rabbits and even possums abroad, by making grass unpalatable (so don’t use near pet rabbits). It’s also in larger versions for golf courses and tennis courts, and they make versions to deter garden pests including slugs and snails. Also read the post on humane deterrence for slugs and snails.
  2. Mouse Mesh is a metal grille (don’t cover gas vents and keep it clear of leaves). It attaches to deter mice from entering homes, and there is a thicker version to deter rats! Planting peppermint, thyme, rosemary or lavender can sometimes deter rats, who don’t like the scent.
  3. Waspinator is a brown paper bag that looks like a nest to territorial wasps, who usually won’t set up shop if they see one (wasps are important pollinators).
  4. Picas offers expert on humane deterrence for pigeons, doves and other urban birds. Their methods work and cost less, used extensively by hospitals and council buildings.

how to humanely deter ants?

the book of ant records

Most ants disappear when weather cools. Read The Book of Ant Records to learn about these amazing creatures, which as long as you seal up holes, most won’t return. There are 20 million billion ants worldwide, but often people see them as a pest and use antikiller. But ants have superpowers like strength and speed, and can work together to build giant cities.

A queen ant can have millions of babies, and some ants self-explode to destroy their enemies. In this book, learn which ants have the worst stings, the we ird things they eat and how ants find their way back home. Katja Bargum received her PhD in evolutionary biology from Helsinki University and wrote her dissertation on the social life of ants.

an angry poetic rant from urban wildlife!

Pam Ayres did not just write the poem about how ‘I wished I’d look after me teeth’. Her poems are actually studied in school textbooks worldwide, and her books have been best-sellers every decade since the 1970s. Passionate about wildlife and natural history, she is patron of Cheltenham Animal Shelter and British Hen Welfare Trust. Her book Who Are You Calling Vermin? is an angry poetic rant from wildlife, who are often wrongly blamed (for instance, red foxes eat rabbits and rats in nature, and red squirrels are endangered due to logging their native pine trees, rather than all because of grey squirrels). From the barn owl mourning his now-converted ancient barn to the much-maligned mole (whose burrowing actually makes good potting compost), hear the great unrest in the countryside beyond the woods and babbling brooks:

Maybe the polluters will purify our streams.
Purify our waterways? In your bloomin’ dreams!
All will be rewilded, all will be renewed,
The country will look lovely,
But we won’t have any food.
Our stocks will be sustainable,
The French will be our friends,
We shall live in harmony, until the bitter end.

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