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Any habitat altering methods must be employed consistently for 7 to 14 days and monitored closely. Below are common wildlife nuisances and how you can humanely and permanently address them.

Under the Deck, Shed or Other Areas

If you are having problems with animals burrowing under a structure, it is most likely a skunk or a fox.  In either case, a couple of methods can be implemented to deter the animal from living in and around your area.

  • Ammonia-soaked rags placed in or around the "den" is an inexpensive way. Since ammonia is a liquid, it will evaporate in the warm weather and wash off in a rain storm. It is important that you check the rags daily and refresh the ammonia, as needed.
  • Moth balls are also an effective, inexpensive deterrent. They can be thrown or placed around the hole. Rainstorms can wash them away so you might need to sprinkle them around dens multiple times.

In the Chimney

The inside of a chimney resembles a hollowed out tree trunk, which is the perfect habitat for squirrels, raccoons, and birds.  DO NOT open the damper to look at or attempt to remove the animal if you hear it crawling in the chimney.  This can cause additional issues if the animal is to become loose in your house.  They become frightened and can cause damage in their attempt to find an exit.  It's best to leave the animals alone. The majority of cases, they can climb out the chimney on their own, though they might need a little encouragement to do so. 

  • A bowl of ammonia placed in the base of the fireplace is an effective tool to discourage raccoons or squirrels from continuing their stay.  The odor of the ammonia is unpleasant and will encourage the animals to move to a less-fragrant dwelling.  If the ammonia is bothersome to you, close the doors to the fireplace or use an ammonia-soaked rag, which is less potent than the bowl of ammonia.
  • Shine a light up the fireplace.  The light diminishes their peaceful habitat.  If you apply all methods concurrently, the faster the pests will leave.
  • Often during the spring, animals will quickly nest to provide shelter for their babies.  If your new tenant has already nested and has a family of babies in the chimney, don’t panic -- they will relocate the family to a less disturbed area.  Mothers are not inclined to abandon their young and they are able to move their young when necessary.
  • Once you are sure the animal has left your residence, immediately secure a fitted chimney cap to the entrance of the chimney to prevent future problems.

In the Attic

Much like the chimney, the attic provides a safe, comfortable, undisturbed dwelling for animals such as raccoons and squirrels.  The first step is to locate the point where the animals are entering.  Check all soffets surrounding your home, and look for weaknesses or holes in the roof and the siding that surrounds your attic.

  • Ammonia-soaked rags or moth balls in a sock or panty hose placed in the attic will encourage the animals to relocate.
  • Shining lights in the attic
  • Once the animal is effectively deterred from your home, you will need to repair the entrance point immediately. One-quarter-inch hardware cloth can be used to cover holes or entry points.

In the Garden

Gardens are the number one attractant for all wildlife including raccoons, skunks, bears, deer, squirrels and birds.  Gardens provide a wonderful, readily-available food source for nearly every species of wildlife.

  • Netting over fruit trees helps protect them from birds, squirrels, deer, and other omnivores. 
  • Electric fencing surrounding the garden will discourage the animals. Other fencing methods are less effective because they allow the animal to crawl through it or under it.
  • The “Scarecrow” is a water sprayer with a motion detection feature.  It attaches to a hose in the yard and when it detects movement, it sprays the area, scaring the wildlife away.

Bird Deterrents

Bird deterrents are altered to fit the unique ability that birds have to avoid the usual mammal deterrent.  Although birds can provide the same type of nuisance within a house or garden that mammals do, they are not affected by ammonia, moth balls, or the consistent noise from a radio.

  • Models of owls, hawks and snakes scare away pigeons temporarily. They must resemble their living counterpart and must be positioned in a manner that is natural for the actual predator. It is helpful to relocate them frequently.
  • Mylar tape/streamers, old CDs, balls of aluminum foil, or aluminum soda cans secured to trees, the side of the house, or roosting site reflects light that proves to be an annoyance.
  • Balloons filled with helium and have an "eye spot" (black dot) painted on one side (to emphasize movement) can be tied near the roost side.
  • Kid's pinwheels may also deter birds.
  • Noise making, with firecrackers, wind chimes, or a can of rocks is effective as long as the noise is loud and sudden. Noise repellents must be used frequently to be effective.

Other Deterrents

These deterrents can be used in and around gardens, the perimeter of property, or in other areas where wildlife is unwanted.

Recipe one

Ingredients: one whole Spanish onion, one jalapeno pepper and 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
Directions: Chop up the onion and pepper.  Mix all ingredients together and boil in 2 quarts of water for about 20 minutes.  Let cool, and then strain water through a cheesecloth, into a container.
Using a garden sprayer, spray any area outside that wild animals or even neighborhood pets are bring a nuisance
This mixture is non-toxic and safe, it will not harm the animal but will succeed in keeping mammals away.

Recipe two

Ingredients: 8 oz of any liquid dish soap, 8 oz of castor oil and 1 gallon of water
Directions: Mix the castor oil and soap well then add to the gallon of water and spray entire area.
Manufactured Items

Living with Wildlife

LHS_Wildlife_160x600Wildlife Concerns  l  Rabies in Larimer County  l  Orphaned/Injured Wildlife  l  Resources

Northern Colorado is home to an abundant wildlife population.  Although these animals are wonderful to observe, they can also pose a conflict with humans. Prevention is key. When you provide a food source, wildlife begin to expect and depend on your generosity. Wild animals are capable of finding food on their own. Follow these guidelines to prevent conflicts with wild animals.

  • Store all trash in lid-tight containers and keep it in the garage or a shed until the scheduled pick-up day.  Garbage provides an easy food source for all wildlife.
  • Keep pet food inside.
  • Secure pet doors during evening and nighttime hours.
  • Cover window wells.
  • Close holes around and under the foundation of your home and outbuilding so animals will not be tempted to burrow and den. 
  • Screen fireplace chimneys, furnace, attic and dryer vents, and keep dampers closed to avoid unwanted guests.
  • Chimneys are like hollow trees.  Use chimney caps year-round and be sure to check them annually to make sure they're in place.
  • Fence gardens and cover fruit trees with netting to protect your harvest.  Scarecrows, hardware ground cloth and lights are other deterrents that can be effective in gardens. 
  • Check and repair any damaged, loose or rotten boards that overhang your roof. Squirrels, bats, and birds find this easy access into your house.

Rabies in Larimer County

We are on high alert for rabies in Larimer County. Follow these steps to protect your pets and your family.


Top Ten Tips for Staying Safe

  • Vaccinate your pets, horses and livestock
  • Keep cats indoors
  • Keep your dogs on a leash when outside
  • Feed pets indoors
  • Stay away from wildlife (dead or alive)
  • Animal-proof your trash
  • Prevent wild animals from getting into your house
  • Teach children never to touch wild animals
  • Report stray animals and animals acting sick or strange to (970) 226-3647 ext. 7
  • License all pets

What is rabies?

Rabies is an infectious disease of warm-blooded mammals. It is carried by a virus that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). If not treated, it results in paralysis and eventually death. It may be transmitted to animals or humans by a bite or other exposure to the saliva of an infected animal.

A variety of animals can get rabies. Why the concern about skunks and bats?

Before 2007, the main source of rabies in Colorado was bats. Since 2007, however, skunk rabies has spread rapidly from eastern Colorado and along the Front Range so that skunks are now considered the main animal source for rabies in Colorado. In May, 2012, a rabid skunk was found in the foothills near Fort Collins. Since that time, the number of rabid skunks continues to rise. Once skunk rabies is established in an area, it cannot be eradicated, and can sometimes spread infections to other common wild animals, such as foxes, coyotes, raccoons, mountain lions, bobcats as well as to horses, livestock, dogs and cats.

In Colorado, rabies is endemic in bats. This means that the virus is constantly present in a small portion of the bat population.Other mammals can get rabies from an infected skunk or bat or another animal that has been bitten by one with rabies. Pets can be protected from getting this disease through vaccination. The fatality rate for untreated rabies is 100% meaning that all unvaccinated animals who contract rabies will die of the disease.

Why do we hear about bats, skunks and rabies every summer?

From July through early fall the numbers of bats in Larimer County increase as several bat species migrate to our area. Some bats hibernate here and stay year-round. Late spring is also when baby skunks usually begin to appear, hunting with their mothers. Since more skunks are active at this time, encounters with humans and pets are more likely, though skunks with rabies are more frequently wandering about throughout the fall and winter and not just spring and summer.

When are bats and skunks active?

Summer evenings are prime time for bat activity as they catch insects and feed on certain flowers. If a bat is out in the daytime, acting sluggish, or crawling on the ground, chances are it is sick. Skunks search for food from dusk to dawn, feeding on mice, eggs, carrion, insects, grubs, and berries. At sunrise, skunks usually retire to their dens. If a skunk is out in the daytime, acting frenetic or abnormally sluggish, walking in circles or unable to keep its balance, chances are it is sick.

Should I be afraid of bats and skunks?

No. Both are a beneficial part of our ecosystem and normally will not harm you if left alone. However, it's important to be cautious and avoid human/bat/skunk encounters especially if the animals are out in the daytime, acting odd for their species, or moving or flying erratically.

Why do I need to be cautious around animals in the wild?

Most healthy wild animals don't want to be touched by humans! They might bite in response. A bite from animal with rabies can transmit it to you or your unvaccinated pet. Untreated rabies is a serious, deadly disease in animals and humans.

Can rabies be cured?

No. There is an effective treatment for humans that needs to be administered soon after being bitten (post-exposure) to prevent rabies. There is no post-exposure treatment for animals. Without that post-exposure treatment, rabies is usually fatal in humans. It is always fatal in unvaccinated animals.

Do all bats and skunks carry rabies?

No, most bats and skunks do not carry rabies and pose little health risk. In Larimer County, it is estimated that only 1 % of bats might be infected with rabies. When you have a large population of bats, as we do during migration season, it's expected that every year a small number of them will have rabies. Likewise, it can be expected that a relatively small number of skunks in Larimer County have rabies at any one time.

If only a small number of bats and skunks have rabies, why are humans and household pets also at risk of getting it?

Though the number of bats and skunks with rabies is small, exposure to sick animals is more likely to happen than close exposure to healthy ones. It is more likely you will be exposed to a sick bat or skunk since they are often moving slowly, and in places that they normally would avoid, where humans and other animals are present. It is possible that a person or a family pet could come in close contact with an infected animal (through a bite, a scratch or, with family pets, by playing with the sick animal). The infected animal could pass rabies virus to someone who handles it, is bitten or scratched by it, or has other contact with the animal's saliva.

Is rabies carried in skunk spray?

No. The rabies virus in only transmitted through a bite contaminated by an infected animal's saliva. However, if your pet gets sprayed they may have gotten close enough to a sick skunk to have been bitten. Check a pet that has been sprayed for any sign of a bite.

I've never seen a skunk in Larimer County. Are there really enough of them to make this dangerous?

Healthy skunks are mostly nocturnal and are not seen by most humans during the day. It is very likely you have smelled skunks in our neighborhoods and foothills. Healthy skunks avoid interactions with humans and other animals, so it is unlikely that you would regularly see them. But a skunk with rabies loses that caution and can tangle with another wild or domestic animal and bite it, passing on the infection.

A rabid skunk can pass on rabies to animals we see frequently in Larimer County such as foxes, coyotes, or raccoons. It can bite and infect livestock. It is evident that skunk rabies is here, whether you see skunks or not. View a map of rabies positive animals here.

Larimer County Department of Health and Environment
For more information, visit http://www.larimer.org/health/

Mammal Repellant Recipe

This homemade recipe is easy and inexpensive to make. It is very effective when used to protect plants, gardens, and surfaces from damage.

Mix the following:

  • 1 bottle hot pepper sauce (small) or can cayenne pepper (small)
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 tsp. mild dishwashing detergent


Spray this repellent on plants or anything you would like protected from chewing.

Must be reapplied after heavy rain or watering. Fruits and vegetables should be washed before human consumption

Common Problems & Prevention

Often times, the best to avoid conflict with wildlife is through prevention.  All wild animals depend on three things to survive: shelter, food and water. When these three items are eliminated, the animal will move elsewhere to meet these needs.

To avoid wildlife from making a home on your property, consider the following tips:


  • Cap off your chimney to keep wild animals from using your chimney as a nesting site or from getting stuck in your fireplace.
  • Seal off decks and porches with wire mesh or lattice to prevent wild animals from using the area as a den.
  • Secure outdoor animal pens (such as rabbit hutches and chicken coops) to keep wildlife away from your pets.
  • Eliminate hiding areas for wildlife by clearing away debris, wood and rock piles. Trim under bushes and maintain grassy areas.
  • Keep all windows and doors to basement, garage, sheds and storm cellars closed when not in use. Repair any broken windows or doors.
  • Repair any holes in your roof or in eves that provide access to the attic.
  • Keep your lawn well maintained.
  • Scare off birds that are making nests. It may take a few times to scare them off, but once they lay eggs, the birds are federally protected; it's illegal to tamper with bird eggs and babies.


  • Place bird seed in a feeder.
  • Seal off access to all pet food and livestock feed.
  • Regularly clean BBQ grills.
  • Put fencing around compost bins.
  • Keep all garbage secure and out of wild animals' reach.
  • Fence off fish ponds.
  • Maintain fruit & nut bearing trees.
  • Fence off gardens.

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3501 E 71st Street
Loveland, CO 80538

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