How Weather Affects Animals in Your Yard
Unlike humans, animals don’t have the luxury of curling up with a good book next to the fireplace on a cold, rainy or snowy day. Although many animals are blessed with fur coats and other natural features that protect them from the elements, it doesn’t mean they enjoy being wet or cold any more than you do.
Who hasn’t, at one time or another, discovered a cat sleeping underneath a car on a chilly or stormy day, taking advantage of the heat of the engine as well as the shelter it provides? And you may have owned or observed a pet that is absolutely terrified by the sound of thunder!
Pets and Natural Disasters
As we have seen most recently with Hurricane Sandy, natural disasters, such as hurricanes or tornadoes, can affect an animal’s behavior. Many animal owners have reported erratic behavior exhibited by their pets or livestock even before the disaster strikes, almost as if they have a special “sixth sense” that can predict the weather. If a flood occurs in your area, don’t be surprised to see an “unusual” animal seeking refuge on your property, and who can blame it?
Impact on Food Supply
Weather can also have an impact on animals’ food supply, especially during the winter. That’s why you’ll see squirrels scampering around in an effort to collect and stow as many acorns and other goodies as possible before the cold weather hits. For animals that don’t hibernate during the winter, such as deer, they are often left to forage for whatever scraps they can find.
What Does This Mean for You and Your Property?
An animal that is affected by the weather and enters your property is likely looking for more than just shelter — you can bet it is also looking for a readily available source of food. To a hungry animal, nothing is sacred, including your garden, flowers, plants and even your trash! And once they discover a good place to eat, you may have a hard time getting rid of them when the weather clears.
Animal-Proofing Your Yard
If you live in an area where changes in weather have a dramatic impact on the neighborhood critters, you’ll need to take aggressive action to animal-proof your yard. A high fence around your property or garden will keep many animals from getting in. However, this is often not an option.
You can, however, be careful with what you put outside. Place your trash in tightly sealed containers so the aroma of leftover food won’t lure them into your yard. Keeping your pet’s food indoors gives roaming animals one less potential food source.
Using Animal Repellents
Using commercial animal repellents is also a great way to keep animals out of areas you don’t want them to go, regardless of the weather. Havahart® manufactures a product called Spray Away®, a motion sensor sprinkler that scares critters with an unexpected blast of water. Another highly effective Havahart® product is Critter Ridder®, an all-natural product that comes in liquid or granular form and impacts the animal’s sense of taste and smell without causing it harm.
Using Animal Traps
If you have a recurring visitor or two, try a humane trap. Be sure to check with your state legislature to determine your local laws regarding relocating trapped critters first, though. These traps will capture the animal frequenting your yard for food or shelter, allowing you to relocate it. Far, far away…
Keep an eye on your pets whenever bad weather hits, and don’t forget to look under your car before backing out of your driveway in the winter!