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Notes from St Tiggywinkles: Humane ways to get rid of unwanted visitors

Snake caught in net

Snake caught in net

  • by Les Stocker, founder of St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in Haddenham
 

We all love to meet wild animals when they decide to visit our gardens.

They find the garden a place of sanctuary especially when there is free food, a bath and nest site on offer.

But some visitors are a little bit naughty taking advantage of tasties that are not on the menu.

This is often the case when worried householders phone us, often at their wits’ end, for advice and help in countering visitors that have outstayed their welcome.

Without having to resort to more drastic measures, there are all sorts of techniques that have been evolved to counter most anomalies.

People panic about foxes.

In my mind foxes can do good by catching mice and rats but if they do remain unwanted there are humane groups like the Fox Advice Line who will advise.

Every species can be a nuisance to somebody.

Some people do not want blackbirds, robins or even thrushes in their gardens.

And harmless ol’ sparrows seem to be at the top of so many hit lists.

One of the commonest problems we hear about is the cheeky heron flying in and taking fish out of the pond.

The most regularly recommended solution is the net over the pond.

It does not work and, worst of all, we regularly have to rescue grass snakes, who do like a swim, hopelessly entangled in the nightmare (see picture above).

Just watch a heron. It will land and walk up to the pond.

My deterrent is to put a trip wire, about six inches off the ground, around the pond.

Heron will nonchalantly walk up to the pond but will bump into the trip wire and not get the goldfish.

They have not got enough wherewithal to step over the trip wire and will go somewhere else to catch their breakfast.

 

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