Keep your yard free of wildlife and pests

A coyote in a field.

With overripe fruit dropping from trees, dog food dishes left on patios, piles of cut tree branches and yard debris or backyard agriculture, you can be unknowingly attracting wildlife and pests to your backyard. Raccoons, rabbits and a variety of rodents will pay you a visit or even take up residence, attracted by the food and shelter. Rodents and rabbits can then attract predators such as foxes and coyotes to your yard.

Review the tips below for ways to keep wildlife living wild and not in your yard.

  • Remove food sources in your yard. Do not leave pet food outside because it attracts rodents, rabbits, raccoons and coyotes to your yard. 
  • If you practice urban agriculture such as keeping chicken, goats, ducks or bees, please visit to review the requirements and best practices to prevent problems. 
  • Remove water sources. Don’t leave drinking dishes for animals full of water on your patio, deck or in the open.
  • Get rid of piles of branches, grass clippings and yard debris, broken concrete and unwanted building material in and around your house. These can provide both food and shelter for rodents, rabbits and raccoons.
  • Make sure that your home and outbuildings are as rodent-proof as possible by keeping foundations in good repair and eliminating overhanging trees that provide a pathway to roofs and windows. Rabbits, mice and rats can gnaw through a wide variety of material.
  • Secure all garbage in storage containers with tight fitting lids. In multifamily complexes, make sure the communal garbage disposal area is well-secured and regularly emptied.
  • Maintain control of your pets at all times. Pets allowed to roam outside alone are at risk for predator encounters.
  • If you have a compost pile, do not put food scraps in your open compost pile or use an enclosed composting system instead.
  • Do not feed wildlife. Putting out food for animals like foxes and deer seems harmless, but repercussions can be disastrous. It’s bad for animals – think of it as junk food for wildlife – and dangerous for humans. The food can attract predators such as coyotes, bears and mountain lions, which become less wary and more emboldened and more likely to attack pets and people. 
  • If help is needed with pests such as rabbits, mice, rats or other rodents, contact a professional pest control company. 


More information:

Jefferson County Public Health at 303-271-5700.