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  • Urban Wildlife in Sicamous

Urban Wildlife in Sicamous

Urban Wildlife

Sicamous is nestled within nature. Surrounded by water and mountains, it is no surprise that wildlife chooses to visit or reside within the District, especially after wildfire seasons that result in significant habitat destruction.

The District of Sicamous does not respond to complaints about urban wildlife. However, the Bylaw Officer will enforce District bylaws that refer to the attraction of vermin.

Vermin refers to any animal that may damage buildings or structures, spread filth, or
spread disease including but not limited to Mouse, Rat, Chipmunk, Squirrel,
Raccoon, Rabbit, and Skunk (Good Neighbour Bylaw No. 1005, 2021).

The District is happy to provide pointers on how to discourage wildlife from frequenting your yard and home.

To report a conflict with wildlife that threatens public safety, contact the BC Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

Raccoons are familiar animals that are often regarded as cuddly and cute. Unfortunately, raccoons also have a reputation for damaging yards and infiltrating sheds and homes. While generally most active at night, raccoons can also be spotted during the day. Raccoons will eat pet food and human food and waste.

Attracted to human dwellings by the promise of food and shelter from harsh weather, raccoons use their front paws to scavenge for scraps and scale fences. Raccoons look for dry and dark spaces to make their dens, which is why they often choose to settle under decks and in sheds and attics.

Raccoons can carry a parasitic roundworm that is harmful to humans. It is important to be considerate of this when cleaning up after raccoons. For your best interests (and your neighbours’ best interests too), follow strategies to deter raccoons from frequenting your property.

Six Strategies to Deter Raccoons

1) Feed pets inside and store pet food in a secure place.
2) Empty or cover water sources nightly.
3) Keep garbage stored in a secure container.
4) Close any access points under decks and sheds.
5) Trim trees and bushes to reduce access to the roof.
6) Install motion activated lights or sprinklers.

Please note that the BC Wildlife Act outlines how raccoons may be removed from a property for nuisance. Wildsafe BC raccoon-mends contacting a professional animal control company.

RESOURCES:

If you locate rats in your neighbourhood, please inform District of Sicamous Bylaw at 250-836-2477 or bylaw@sicamous.ca so we can assess the situation and recommend control measures in those areas.

PREVENTION METHODS:

  • Inspect the outside of your home for easy access points. Seal any cracks and crevices with silicone caulk, paying special attention to areas where utility pipes enter the structure. Remember, mice can enter homes through holes the size of a dime and rats through holes the size of a quarter.
  • Fill larger gaps from inside your home with pieces of steel wool, as pests are deterred by the roughness of the steel fibers, especially rodents who are usually unable to gnaw through the material.
  • Screen attic vents and openings to chimneys, which could serve as potential entryways.
  • Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the basement’s foundation and windows.
  • Properly landscape around the home to avoid providing pest harbourage sites. Keep shrubbery trimmed and ensure mulch is kept at least one third of a metre (15 inches) from the foundation.
  • Store firewood and building materials at least 6 metres (20 feet) from buildings.
  • Eliminate outdoor water sources such as leaking pipes, hoses, bird baths, and pet water bowls.
  • Keep pet and other feeds stored indoors or in rodent proof containers.
  • Keep household garbage to a minimum and store in rodent proof containers.
  • Clean up yard waste, debris and fallen fruits promptly, including maintaining compost piles by turning frequently.

CONTROL MEASURES:

  • Snap Traps: Are the most effective when used properly.
  • Live Traps: Are a good option if you have a safe and humane method for disposal of caught animals. 

Traps can be purchased at retailers within the community. 

PLEASE NOTE:

  • The District of Sicamous does not promote or utilize poison for rodent control due to potential health risks to animals and humans.
  • Relocation is not recommended as re-infestation will occur.

RESOURCES:

Yellow-bellied marmots are often found within dense human developments in British Columbia. Marmots are protected under the BC Wildlife Act. However, yellow-bellied marmots can be trapped and relocated without a permit if they are damaging a person's property. While this may be the case, it is important to consider whether you have the resources to trap and relocate a marmot humanely and safely.

WildSafe BC recommends exploring conflict reduction strategies that may have more permanent results. Consider contacting a professional animal control company if relocating is necessary.

PREVENTION METHODS according to WildSafe BC:

  • Do not feed wildlife. Feeding wildlife leads to human habituation and food conditioning.
  • Humane harassment. Discourage marmots from establishing a home on your property when they first appear by expanding the openings of their burrow entrances, clearing away vegetation and pack entrances with natural materials such as rocks, hay and dirt. An effective repellant to try is kitty litter soaked in dog or cat urine. Humane harassment efforts must be consistent and continuous for best results. Check the burrow for young marmots before using any of these tactics and be aware that snakes can reside in burrows.
  • Deactivating a burrow system. Marmots may return to a burrow system if it is not deactivated. Ensure that animals are not present in the burrow system by covering openings with newspaper and inspecting the entrances over a 24 hour period. Once it has been determined that there are no animals left in the burrow system, seal all openings with 12mm hardware cloth that is cut into 90 cm sections and buried at least 30 cm.
  • Change the quality of the habitat. Disrupt marmot sightlines to their burrow entrances by installing a three foot high solid perimeter fence. This can help keep the colony from spreading or encourage existing colonies to relocate.
  • Prevent access to buildings and structures. Ensure that the perimeter of structures and porches do not have access points. Cover any access points with wire mesh. Generally, keep the property tidy and remove any equipment that may provide shelter for marmots or other rodents.
  • Prevent access to fruit trees and gardens. Wrap flashings around trees to deter marmots from climbing the trunk to reach the fruit. The top third of fences should be either wobbly or angled to make it difficult for marmots to climb. Fences should go at least 30 cm underground to prevent marmots from burrowing underneath.
  • Traveling to areas with marmots. Be aware of advisories in campsites and parks in the Canada and the United States. Marmots may access vehicle hoses if vehicle is left unattended.

RESOURCES:

Black bears are the most common bear found in Canada. According to WildSafe BC, British Columbia has one of the largest populations of black bears in the world based on estimates of 120 to 150 thousand animals. Most active from April to November, bears can become more assertive or destructive when they habituate to associate humans and human behaviors with food.

Conflict Reduction with Black Bears According to WildSafe BC

  • Garbage. Keep garbage secure at all times, preferably indoors or in a secure structure.
  • Pets and Pet Foods. Feed your pets indoors and store pet food in a secure location.
  • Bird Feeders. Birdseed is a significant attractant for bears and other wildlife. Only use bird feeders in the winter when bears are hibernating.
  • Fruit trees. Prune fruit trees to have a healthy and manageable harvest. Don't let fruit ripen on the branch. Instead, pick it early and bring it inside to ripen. Electric fencing is another way to protect your fruit trees from bears.
  • Berry bushes. Berry bushes are another significant attractant for bears. Pick berries often or remove bushes if they cannot be properly maintained. Electric fencing is another way to protect your berry bushes from bears.
  • Landscaping. Fruit or berry producing trees and shrubs, blueberries and huckleberries and ground covers are strong bear attractants. Avoid planting these species near your home. 
  • Livestock, Apiaries and Feed. Feed should be secured indoors. Chickens and small livestock should be kept in at night and protected by electric fencing. Urban chickens and beehives can attract bears to your home.

Human Sources of Bear Attractants:

  • Bird feeders
  • Food crops
  • Landscaping that produces fruit or nuts
  • Garbage
  • Pet food
  • Livestock
  • Barbeque
  • Compost

RESOURCES:

While less likely to be spotted in Sicamous, British Columbia is home to about one quarter of the entire North American grizzly bear population. Most active from April to November, grizzly bear conflicts increase when human attractants are present and natural food sources are limited.

Livestock, garbage and fruit trees are the most common grizzly bear attractants according to the Conservation Officer Service.

Conflict Reduction with Grizzly Bears According to WildSafe BC

  • Garbage. Keep garbage secure at all times, preferably indoors or in a secure structure.
  • Pets and Pet Foods. Feed your pets indoors and store pet food in a secure location.
  • Bird Feeders. Birdseed is a significant attractant for bears and other wildlife. Only use bird feeders in the winter when bears are hibernating.
  • Fruit trees. Prune fruit trees to have a healthy and manageable harvest. Don't let fruit ripen on the branch. Instead, pick it early and bring it inside to ripen. Electric fencing is another way to protect your fruit trees from bears.
  • Berry bushes. Berry bushes are another significant attractant for bears. Pick berries often or remove bushes if they cannot be properly maintained. Electric fencing is another way to protect your berry bushes from bears.
  • Landscaping. Fruit or berry producing trees and shrubs, blueberries and huckleberries and ground covers are strong bear attractants. Avoid planting these species near your home. 
  • Livestock, Apiaries and Feed. Feed should be secured indoors. Chickens and small livestock should be kept in at night and protected by electric fencing. Urban chickens and beehives can attract bears to your home.

RESOURCES: