Even if you are the most ardent wildlife lover, chances are you'd like to avoid running into a hungry bear or cougar in your backyard. These are just two of the animals attracted to overgrown areas when they are in search of food or shelter. True, you are more apt to have this problem if you are in a rural setting, but more and more suburbs are getting their share of furry visitors. A dumpster-rental service supplies a sturdy container to hold the trash during clean up and then hauls the debris away. Your yard cleanup can help keep your family safe from surprise visits from the following four animals.
Bears are voracious eaters, especially during the fall when they are "fattening up" for hibernation. If you have berry bushes, fallen fruit, or garbage not kept in a bear-proof container, that's an open dinner invitation to any bears in the area. Bears are omnivorous, so not only is your blackberry bush likely to be under attack, but also any pets or other animals wandering outside might end up on the menu. Bears that are not used to humans tend to stay away, but those that have learned that it's usually easier to get a meal from a garbage can than in the wild are often quite bold. To make your property less appealing, strip the remaining fruit from trees and bushes and gather up anything that's already fallen to the ground. Keep your pets and their food indoors if possible. Use a bear-proof garbage can, one with a secure lid or with its own "cart garage." Consider renting a dumpster from a company such as TCM Sweeping and Disposal at least twice a year, preferably in the fall and after the spring thaw, and doing some major yard work.
Raccoons are a fact of life in the suburbs. Yes, they and their eye masks and striped tails are cute, but raccoons do sometimes carry rabies, a disease that affects humans and pets. Vaccinating your pets is a good first step, but beyond that, keeping your yard clear of fallen branches and clutter takes away the hiding places these masked critters are so fond of. Raccoons are also fans of fruit, veggies, the contents of garbage cans, and any kind of pet food they can find. Though they tend to run when humans arrive, if cornered raccoons may attack and bite. Feisty raccoons usually have little problem chasing the family dog or cat away from a food bowl.
As human developments have encroached on the wilder areas, coyotes learned to adapt. Dubbed "urban coyotes" in some areas, these animals tend to blend into the shadows during the day and roam the streets at night. During the spring pupping season coyotes are sometimes more visible, often running into people on park hiking trails or even on private property. In the wild coyotes are mainly carnivores but will feast on other foods if available. Successful urban coyotes know where the best garbage cans are, whether anyone in the area has a chicken pen, and where there is an unprotected supply of dog food. Looking somewhat like a smaller, leaner German Shepard, coyotes will stalk and hunt domestic pets. Ridding your yard of excessive clutter and branches takes away potential nesting sites for prey animals.
Much more elusive than the coyote, and tending to avoid humans as much as possible, cougars are also known to visit the suburbs. More often, they'll stick to rural properties that have livestock, which they will hunt if deer, their usual prey, are not available. Adolescent and very old cougars are more apt to hunt livestock than animals in their prime. Like the raccoon, cougars tend to run if they sight a human, but they may attack if cornered. They are more apt to go after the family pet. Cougars are ambush hunters. If you've ever watched a cat stalk a toy mouse, the behavior is the same, just on a much grander scale. Clearing fallen branches and other debris from your property takes away stalking hideaways that cougars need.