City of Upper Arlington, Ohio

DIY Wildlife Control

As Central Ohio experiences rapid growth, the abundance of wildlife that was here long before humans began changing the landscape has been adapting to dwindling natural habitats and even capitalizing on the new food sources and nesting opportunities brought about by human development. Most times we can coexist peacefully and many enjoy seeing and teaching our children about the beautiful array of birds, rabbits, squirrels and other creatures that take up residence in our yards and public parks.

Some wildlife can become unwelcome “tenants,” causing destruction to property and, in some cases, posing a health risk. The Ohio Division of Wildlife categorizes the following animals as nuisance wildlife: bats, roosting birds, raccoons, skunks, coyotes, snakes, squirrels, woodpeckers, groundhogs, and deer. Some of these species face dwindling numbers as the result of various environmental pressures. Some also play a positive role in the suburban wildlife environment, helping to keep mosquito and rodent populations at bay. For these reasons and others, when faced with a wildlife nuisance situation, it’s important to address it in a way that adheres to the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s control laws and recommendations.

Useful Resources

Code Compliance, Community Development Department               614-583-5070
If there is a property maintenance issue in your neighborhood that you believe is contributing to an increase in unwanted wildlife issues—such as accumulating trash on private property—you can notify the City’s Code Compliance Division via an online reporting form.

Wildlife Resources
Ohio Division of Wildlife:
Franklin County Public Health:  614-525-3160
Ohio Wildlife Center:  614-793-9453

Professional Pest Control Companies
Capital City Exterminating Co.:
Critter Control:  614-291-4400
Varment Guard614-794-8169
*Our inclusion of a company on this list does not represent an endorsement from the City or any City officials or staff members. If you would like your pest removal company included, please email 

Composting/Conservation Assistance
Franklin Soil & Water Conservation District:
Institute for Local Self-Reliance Composting Tips

Basic Preventive Measures
It’s often the case that issues with wildlife are the result of human oversight, so the City advises all residents to take the following measures as a matter of routine practice:

Correct Management of Trash and Recycling

  • Place trash and recycling out weekly for pickup. Do not allow trash to accumulate on your property.
  • Bag your trash and place it in containers with securely fitting lids.
  • Replace damaged containers or lids.
  • Place containers at the curb no sooner than the evening prior to your regular collection day.
  • Once collected, return trash containers to an enclosure, such as a garage or shed.
  • Do not over fill containers.
  • Open recycling containers should be emptied and rinsed regularly.

 The Correct Way to Compost

  • Pick a compost bin made of hard plastic with a secure lid.
  • Rodent proof your enclosure or compost bin.
  • The compost bin should be the furthest distance possible from your home (taking care not to place it close to a neighbor’s home).
  • Follow recommended practices for effectively maintaining a compost bin (see above links).

Maintain Your Yard

  • Don’t let yard waste piles accumulate (leaves, branches, brush, etc.).
  • Regularly cut grass and weeds in the growing season.
  • Haul away any leftover building/project materials.
  • Stack firewood on racks or pallets that are at least six inches off the ground.

Remove Possible Food Sources

  • Clean up any pet waste daily.
  • Store any food kept outside or in your garage in rat and mice-proof containers, such as galvanized cans with tight-fitting lids.
  • Limit how much birdfeed you place in feeders. Put out only enough for the daytime and regularly remove any birdfeed that falls to the ground.
  • If you feed pets outside, only leave the food out for as long as it takes for your pet to finish eating.
  • Pick up any fallen tree fruit or garden vegetables.


Identifying and Addressing Nuisance Wildlife Issues
The following “problem animals” are common to our area. Be aware of the signs that an animal is taking up residence in or near your home and apply the appropriate deterrents and removal measures.

Signs you may have bats:

  • You find bats roosting (sleeping during the day) near your home.
  • You find small droppings in your attic. Bat droppings are similar to rodent droppings but are less scattered and more clumped together.
  • You commonly hear a small scratching sound at night, likely coming from your attic.
  • You notice an ammonia-like smell. Bat droppings often accumulate where they are roosting and can let off a very distinct smell.
  • You notice bats leaving your home just as it gets dark outside.

DIY Deterrents:

  • Bats commonly gain access to homes through unsealed cracks or chimneys. To prevent bats from entering your home, seal even the smallest cracks and crevices and be sure to cover your chimney.

DIY Removal:

  • If you have a bat in your home, open windows and doors and allow it to escape.
  • You may also try trapping it with an open container. Once the bat is captured, slide a piece of cardboard between the trashcan and the wall or floor and take the bat outdoors to be released.


About Coyotes:

  • Coyotes that live in urban and suburban environments do not typically travel in packs.
  • Coyotes are shy and cautious animals and will avoid people whenever possible. Coyotes that approach homes tend to do so because they are being fed; the only recorded coyote bites in Ohio have been by conditioned/habituated coyotes.
  • The Ohio Wildlife Center discourages against trapping and relocating coyotes. In areas where humans have tried to reduce coyote populations, coyotes have naturally increased their litter size. In addition, empty territories attract migrating coyotes that then choose to settle in the voided areas.

DIY Deterrents:

  • Keep outdoor grills clean.
  • Use motion-activated lighting and sprinklers.
  • Keep pets fenced in or otherwise safely contained.
  • If necessary, use electric fencing.

Encountering a Coyote:

  • DO NOT feed or attempt to tame a coyote.
  • DO NOT turn your back on a coyote.
  • DO NOT run from a coyote.
  • DO be big and loud.
  • DO move toward active or populated areas.


Signs you may have deer:

  • You notice uneven bite marks out plants.
  • You find scrapes in the bark on the lower portion of trees. These are typically made by the deer’s lower teeth.
  • You find rubs in the bark on the lower portion of trees. Bucks typically make rubs as they shed their antlers in the fall.
  • You notice heart shaped hoof prints or dark oblong droppings.

DIY Deterrents:

  • Do not approach a deer that has taken up residence near your home. Be sure to keep dogs and children away from the deer.
  • When you see a deer near your residence make loud noise using household items (i.e. pots and pans, a blow-horn, etc.) to scare the deer away.


Rats and Mice
Signs you may have rats or mice:

  • You find small droppings, approximately the size of a grain of rice.
  • You find gnawed holes, up to two-inches wide, in baseboards or doorframes. This is a sign the rodent has been present for an extended period of time.
  • You find smudge marks from the rodent’s body oils on the lower portions of your walls.
  • You hear unidentifiable movement in your walls or attic.
  • Your family pet becomes fixated with what should otherwise be a blank wall or floorboard.

DIY Deterrents:

  • Rats and mice can squeeze through even the smallest of holes (the size of a quarter). Prevent rodents from entering your home by sealing off holes. Heavyweight material, such as quarter-inch hardware cloth is recommended.
  • Gaps often occur near electrical conduits, utility or air conditioning lines or water pipes that enter your home or drains exiting your home. Finish openings with caulking or foam insulation. Because rats can chew through insulation, combine it with wire mesh.

DIY Removal:

  • Lethal control is legal for rodents but remember that the need to control rats is largely a direct result of a lack of cleanliness so environmental changes are recommended first.
  • The least inhumane methods for killing rats and mice include the traditional snap trap and newer traps that use an electrical charge to stun and kill the rodent. Rodent bait laced with poison is another option.
  • IMPORTANT: These traps can be harmful to humans and pets. Be sure to follow all instructions carefully and to check the traps frequently. Wear rubber gloves when handling dead animals, traps and rodent bait. Place dead animals in sealed plastic bags and dispose of them in trash receptacles that are regularly collected.


Signs you may have skunks:

  • You find small, shallow holes in your lawn. Skunks foraging for grubs often leave these holes.
  • You find small plants and garden crops knocked over or damaged. Skunks like to target the bottom leaves of crops and especially like corn.

DIY Deterrents:

  • Skunks like to den in warm, dry areas, such as garages, sheds, wood and rock piles and under concrete slabs and porches. To prevent this from happening be sure to close off all potential access points.
  • Bury quarter-inch mesh hardware cloth one to two feet into the ground in places where animals might gain access to garages, sheds or underneath porches through digging.

DIY Removal:

  • If you suspect you’ve found a skunk den, proceed with caution. To determine if the skunk is present, fill the hole with a wad of newspaper. Check back daily to see if the newspaper has been displaced.
  • If several days have gone by without the newspaper being disturbed, the skunk should no longer be present, and you can proceed with filling the hole or closing off the skunk’s point of entry to its den.
  • If a skunk is present, harassment can be effective. Repeatedly cover the access point to its den with straw or newspaper to see if it gets the message. Make the den less attractive by adding light and noise (i.e. turning on a radio). Motion activated sprinklers can also scare skunks.
  • Keep in mind that skunks can spray over 10 feet. If you feel ill equipped to harass or take steps to remove the skunk, refer to the pest removal companies provided for assistance.


Squirrels & Raccoons
Signs you may have squirrels and/or raccoons:

  • You notice chewed up shingles or boards.

DIY Deterrents:

  • Remove branches that extend over your roof that can provide an easy access point.
  • Bury quarter-inch mesh hardware cloth one to two feet into the ground in places where animals might gain access to garages, sheds or underneath porches through digging.
  • If you have one or more chimneys, install guards that prevent wildlife from gaining access.

DIY Removal:

  • If you have a squirrel or raccoon in your home, open windows and doors to provide an exit, then leave it alone to allow it time to figure out how to escape.
  • You may also try trapping it with a large enough container. Once captured, slide a piece of cardboard between the container and the wall or floor and take the animal back outside to be released.
  • If an animal is caught down a chimney, try hanging a rope from the top into the chimney to give it something to help climb back out.

Associated Documents

Date of Record: 2017-07-26