Spring awakens all the wild things eager to get about the business of life. Sometimes that means denning under your porch or diving into your trash can for goodies to sustain young families. The Middle Township Animal Advisory Board (MTAAB) hopes to increase the harmony between residents and wildlife by donating several informational books to the County Library which detail how to live with wildlife from bats to turkeys.

Vilma Pombo, MTAAB member and Chair of the Environmental Commission, recently presented two copies of Wild Neighbors: The Humane Approach to Living with Wildlife to Deborah Poillon, Cape May County Library Director. Created by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Wild Neighbors offers a variety of solutions to the challenges wild animals can pose.

One-third of all calls to Middle Township Animal Control concerns wildlife, resulting in Animal Control Officer Bill Candell being charged with finding solutions for a wide assortment of animals from beavers and peacocks to snakes and vultures. “I have been using Wild Neighbors to educate homeowners on how to live with the local wildlife since it was suggested to me as a textbook in my initial certification training,” said Candell. “The MTAAB has provided an opportunity for citizens to get themselves educated before they have a problem at their homes. Generally, I have been called in after problems have developed from occupancy of attics by raccoons or invasions of crawlspaces by skunks. This book can help you learn how to keep your living space free from wildlife and deter wildlife from causing problems at our homes.”

Most wildlife calls involve raccoons and skunks and require some education about existing with these wild neighbors. For instance, residents with unwelcome wild guests are advised to purchase trashcans specifically designed to keep wildlife out, keep the cans in garage or shed and take them out on the morning of collection. Close pet doors at night and bring in any pet food.  Light and noise generally make your yard unattractive to animals seeking food and refuge.

A variety of humane remedies is also available from the HSUS website: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/wild_neighbors/

Quietly observing wild life from a distance as you protect your property from mischief can be fascinating. Taking a few moments to enjoy nature in our rural community might just lower your blood pressure and increase your joy in life.

When the creatures of the woods stir and the birds of winter fly north and others return from the south, Pombo says she looks forward to the catbirds coming for raisins and the never-quiet wrens squabbling over nesting sites. “It’s spring magic,” she states.