With nature on our doorstep, it’s just a regular day when you spot a deer, moose, coyote or your neighbour’s chicken. Here’s what you can usually expect.
Coyotes aren’t all bad! They help keep the rodent population at bay. Remember to be careful around coyotes (like any wild animal); don’t approach them and don’t feed them. They’ve already learnt to scavenge for food such as garbage, fruit and accessible pet food; all readily available in subdivisions and on acreages and farms.
What to do about a problem coyote?
If coyotes are disrupting humans and pets contact Alberta Fish and Wildlife. They can assist if there is a sick or injured coyote that can’t move, a coyote that is behaving aggressively toward people, such as nipping or biting, or if you require additional advice for preventing or responding to coyote encounters. If coyotes are found to be disrupting livestock contact Sturgeon County Agriculture Services.
Mice can sometimes be mistaken for Juvenile Rats. There are three common species of mice in Sturgeon County; House Mouse, Field Mouse or Meadow vole, White-footed Mouse or Deer Mouse.
Read more on other rodents commonly mistaken for rats.
As mice populations can expand quickly, it is important to implement control measures immediately if you suspect an infestation.
You can discourage mouse infestation and damage by keeping areas clean and free of debris. Keep grass short around buildings, and seal cracks and holes in foundations and walls with steel wool or wire mesh. Store pet food, birdseed, and other grains in sealed containers, and mothballs (naphthalene) can be used in confined spaces as a odour deterrent. Cats and dogs will prey on mice, and coyotes, foxes, weasels, hawks, owls, and snakes are natural predators of mice on larger holdings. Traps and toxicant products can be purchased at farm supply and hardware stores. Please follow label directions for proper use of these products.
The pocket gopher is commonly called a mole and can be a problem in canola crops, pastures, hay land and acreages throughout Alberta. They also eat garden crops and kill woody plants and shrubs by feeding on the roots. Pocket gopher numbers have been shown to increase as grazing intensity increases.
How To Recognize Their Presence
The most obvious clue that gophers have made a home on your property are the fan shaped mounds and the actual entrance to the burrow is sealed. If there are legumes on your property these mounds will be more prevalent than in grass lands. One animal may make up to 50 mounds per year through its burrowing activity.
In yards, gardens, small fields or along shelterbelts control can be achieved with trapping. There are several types of traps that are presently available; “Victor” easy-set gopher trap, “Guardian” gopher trap, “Convert” gopher trap and “Blackhole” gopher trap. Specific instructions on setting traps and placement of traps are provided with the individual trap.
Prussian carp have been found in the pond at Cardiff Park. This non-native fish species disrupts aquatic ecosystems and can harm the local fish populations.
- You can fish for Prussian carp in the Cardiff Park pond.
- You must have a sportfishing licence.
- No daily catch, possession or size limits apply to Prussian carp.
- Remember: Catch It, Kill It. Dispose of dead Prussian carp properly. Possession and transportation of live Prussian carp is illegal.
- Never use Prussian carp as bait, dead or alive.
For more information about the management and identification of Prussian carp visit the Alberta aquatic invasive species website.
Raccoons are traditionally found in southeast Alberta. However, they are expanding their territory and are now popping up in Sturgeon County. They can adapt to whatever food source is available, but normally they eat fruits, nuts, berries, insects, and foods that can be found near water: fish, birds, eggs, and frogs. When they are around humans, they will eat whatever we deliberately or unintentionally provide.
They can be a nuisance with the right conditions. If your garbage is poorly secured, they’ll leave a mess after getting inside the container, or they’ll eat vegetables from gardens and scatter whatever they don’t eat. If they’re trying to get into the attic or crawlspace of a house, they might rip at broken shingles, soffits, and fascia boards.
Some raccoons in Alberta may be infected with raccoon roundworm, canine distemper, or leptospirosis. Stay away from areas where the raccoons relieve themselves. If you see unusual behaviour in a raccoon, notify the nearest Fish and Wildlife office. For more information on rabies, please visit this Government of Alberta webpage.
Skunks are members of the weasel family (mustelidae). While there are several species of skunk; the only species that exists in Alberta is the striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis).
Skunks adapt well to urban and rural areas, living under sidewalks, decks, buildings and brush piles, which greatly increases their chance of human contact, and the chance of people or pets being sprayed.
To avoid having a skunk move into your yard, keep it tidy and remove any brush and debris piles. Avoid feeding skunks by not leaving pet food or garbage out overnight, and remove fallen fruit from under trees.
Sturgeon County has skunk traps available for rent as a humane method of removal. Set the trap close to the skunk’s den or near the skunk’s normal line of travel.
- Push in on the springs on the door and lift at the same time. The trap’s trigger mechanism is located on the top of the door and hooks onto the bar connected to the pan in the bottom of the trap.
- The trap will have been checked over prior to its rental, so do not make any adjustments to it. If you feel something is not working properly,
please contact Sturgeon County Agriculture Services.
The red squirrel is an Alberta native that is very well adapted to living around humans. Houses, garages and sheds are safe, warm, and comfortable living spaces for squirrels. Removing and relocating squirrels is only sufficient if you repair or plug the areas where the squirrels were entering. Without doing this, it only provides room for a new tenant.
To keep squirrels from finding a new home in your yard, make sure food supplies are removed from your yard, like bird feeders. Close and cover garbage cans, and put fences up around gardens and individual plants.
Prevent wildlife on your property
Understanding animal behaviours and taking preventative steps can minimize negative interactions.
Here are few things you can do to deter wildlife and pests from your property:
- Don’t leave pet food or edible garbage out.
- Clean up after your pet. Pet feces is an attraction for pests and predators.
- Remove things that may attract them to your yard such as fallen apples or bird seed.
Talk to your neighbours about following the same steps.