The coastal Carolinas affords lots of opportunities to surround yourself with picturesque views right from your patio.
Unfortunately, that scenery can sometimes come with a few unwanted guests – alligators, raccoons, geese and even beavers, among them.
Most wild animals are afraid of humans and will stay as out of sight as possible. But if wildlife makes its way into your community association – or even into your backyard – it’s helpful to know what steps to take.
What constitutes a nuisance?
Spotting a deer at dawn nibbling on your greenery can be a breathtaking sight. So can catching a glimpse of a flock of geese alighting from a pond at dusk.
But those photo ops aside, deer can wreak havoc on your landscaping. And geese aren’t so cute when they’re chasing small children or nipping at nearby joggers’ heels.
When wildlife begins encroaching on your
life, it is probably time to take some action to ensure not only the safety of you, your family and your fellow homeowners but also the animals themselves.
Who makes the call?
A good rule of thumb for handling these pesky – and sometimes dangerous – critters is to start with where they’ve been spotted.
Is there an alligator lurking in the pond of your community’s park or along the walking trail? That’s an issue for the community association.
Notice some raccoons ransacking your trash cans at night? That’s your call to make.
Simply put, community associations will handle wildlife in common areas but cannot be charged with taking care of situations that may arise on a homeowner’s property.
What happens next?
If you spot wildlife in a common area that you think may pose a safety or health issue, report it to your community association and they will take any necessary next steps.
If the creatures are on your property, call your local animal control office. You can easily find contact information for your county or city’s animal control online.
From there, animal control will take the reins, removing and relocating the animal if necessary. Do not ever attempt to take care of the problem yourself. Even if a creature looks cuddly, remember it is wild and therefore unpredictable.
That being said, there are a few tips to help limit or prevent any potential risks or interactions with animals:
Mike Stonestreet is a 28-year veteran of the professional HOA management industry who has achieved one of the highest education-based designations in the field, that of Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM). Community Association Management Services (CAMS) has been a leading association management company since its inception in 1991. CAMS is a trusted provider of management services for more than 265 associations throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. To find out how CAMS can benefit your community, call 910-256-2021, email [email protected], or visit www.CAMSmgt.com.
- Don’t feed the animals – It may be tempting to use day-old bread or other bits and crumbs to lure nature’s splendors a little closer, but wild animals can become accustomed to being fed and begin associating humans with food. This can cause them to linger where they otherwise wouldn’t and/or approach people more aggressively.
- Keep trash tucked up tight – nocturnal animals go hunting at night, and nothing draws creatures like raccoons in quite like the buffet in an open trash can. Make sure your trash lids are closed tight and don’t leave pet food or bowls on your porch or patio.
- Secure your home – even small gaps or openings along the bottom of your house can be a welcome invitation to wildlife looking for a warm, dry place to sleep… or worst, nest. Those same animals can end up doing damage to your duct work.