Animal Proofing Your Rural Home
There’s nowhere better to be than in nature. It’s good for our health, both physical and mental, and it reconnects us with what’s really important. It makes sense, then, that so many people are ditching the suburbs and choosing rural life instead. If you’re planning on building your own place closer to nature, you might have considered that you’ll have more to contend with than a couple of house mice.
Whilst living amongst wild animals is nothing short of magical, the trick is to keep the great outdoors…well, outdoors! This article will cover some things to consider when building your haven in the natural world.
A tidy landscape is a good place to start.
Animals like raccoons and squirrels are exceedingly good climbers and will take advantage of any outstretched limbs on trees that go anywhere near your roof. Make sure to trim limbs far enough away that even the most gymnastic of animals wouldn’t have a chance of reaching the roof of your house.
Another way to discourage any pesky climbers is wrapping sheet metal around the base of any trees that could potentially be a way up and in. Make sure to wrap the sheet metal around the trunk at least five feet up for maximum effectiveness. If bird feeders are to be a feature, make sure to be vigilant about tidying up dropped seeds, or use a tray to catch them.
Where there are climbers, there’s also crawlers.
Animals like snakes and frogs love a good shrub. The privacy and the shade are perfect, and if your home is surrounded closely by shrubs, they act as a good hiding place for any potential visitors while they survey your foundations for a way in. If you plan on keeping firewood or other materials outside, make sure to keep it raised off the ground to discourage small animals from nesting in the gaps.
In terms of the house itself, the most important thing is considering the openings.
If your house is going to have a chimney, make sure that you install a chimney cap with an appropriate screen to deter wildlife. This way, you’ll avoid getting animals and other debris in your chimney, making it a win-win situation.
Wildlife moving into the attic is frequently complained about, as it is common to get animals in your attic. Raccoons, opossums, and rodents can chew through vulnerable parts of the roof and make their entrance, often hiding in insulation and causing major damage to the structure and wiring.
The best way to prevent this is to build a roof with as few openings as possible. Keep all necessary openings like vents covered (either with a specially fitted vent cover or hardware cloth) and consider the flow of water. Drip edges are a small but important addition that stops water building up underneath the shingles; water that could one day cause structural weakness and in turn invite animals in.
If you have pets, consider using a pet door.
If your pet can enter and exit through that, then there will be no need to open the door quite so much, therefore reducing the chances of wildlife getting in. Secondly, if the pet door can be controlled by a microchip on your pet’s collar, it will only open for them.
To totally animal-proof your doors, install bristle strips along the bottom. This will stop any smaller creatures from making their way through any tiny gaps under the door.
Do all of these, and you’re well on your way to enjoying what nature has to offer, without inviting it inside!