What You Can Do: Wildlife

Overview

What You Can Do: Wildlife

An opossum peers between branches.

Wild animals are a natural part of the environment in San Mateo County. It is normal for these animals to pass through properties as they go about their lives among the humans who have moved into their habitat. Some species may even be protected by law.

However, wild animals that lose their fear of people can become a nuisance, destroy property, or even pose a risk to human health. Never encourage wildlife to linger around human residences by feeding or by allowing access to food sources, including garbage, pet food, or fallen fruit. 

San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District does NOT provide wildlife trapping or removal. However, we can help you determine what kind of animal is causing your problem and provide suggestions for resolving it.

Never Feed Animals

Wild animals may visit your property looking for a handout, but they don’t really need help from humans to find food. In fact, animals that associate people with food may become aggressive toward humans, putting both their and our safety at risk. 

Animals that are fed by humans are also likely to congregate in large numbers, leading to increased disease transmission between animals and from animals to people. In rural areas, feeding smaller animals may attract larger predators to your property that you do not want there, like coyotes and mountain lions.

Trapping and Relocation

Trapping and relocating individual animals is not usually a good solution to problems with wildlife. When one animal is removed, another will quickly move into its territory and take up residence. 

Instead, residents should make their property inhospitable to wildlife by removing attractants such as food, water, and shelter. You should trim vegetation, secure trash cans, bring in pet food and water bowls, and pick up fallen fruit. It is also helpful to use chimney caps and other methods to keep wildlife from entering.

Removing Animals from Structures

If wild animals have already taken up residence inside your home or another structure, it may be necessary to seek help from a professional wildlife trapper to remove them. It may also be possible to use noise or other disruptions to encourage animals to leave on their own.

Once the animal has been removed, it is important to seal off all access points to prevent it or other animals from re-entering, and to remove any other attractants that may be drawing wildlife to your property.

During spring and summer, animals may have offspring in their dens. Before sealing off access to a structure, you should always ensure that all animals have moved on. It may be necessary to give an animal several nights to relocate its offspring. Animals that have been separated from their offspring will go to great lengths to get back inside, potentially causing damage to your property. Even if they are unable to get in, their offspring will die without parental care, potentially leaving you with an unpleasant clean-up job.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Wildlife

What kind of wildlife do we have in San Mateo County?

Common wildlife included raccoons, skunks, opossums, squirrels, deer, rats and mice, and coyotes.

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