(Parts 1, 3 and Conclusion here)
How to Co-Exist
It is the homeowner’s responsibility to keep possible means of ingress covered – it is not rocket science, nor does it have to be expensive. Keep your trees trimmed, keep your house in good repair, and chicken wire nailed over potential openings is cheap and efficient. When a skunk moved in under my shed (and around the SECOND week in a row when my sweet but far from bright Lass got skunked), I did some research … some ammonia on a rag pushed underneath and refreshed for a day or so and voila! No skunk and NO harm.
Fence your yard with a decent fence – it will keep out most predators.
MONITOR your pets – if you have a small dog, keep it leashed or stay out with it if you’re out for a pee break (to me, that is standard regardless – any animal is put at risk if left unmonitored – not just from wildlife, but from cars and other hazards of urban living).
Keep your cats INDOORS – they’re safer there anyway.
Keep garbage, green bins and recycling bins securely latched. If possible, hang your green bins as it makes it very difficult for the clever and very adept racoons to open them.
DO NOT feed wildlife – not only do you want to discourage them from just hanging out – but it is healthier for THEM if they stick to a natural diet that will meet their nutritional needs. I do confess I feed birds in the winter but once the weather improves, STOP, as the birds need to get what their bodies really need from the environment – not store bought seed.