Living with local wildlife

It’s common to see a Canada goose, squirrel, rabbit, racoon, groundhog, skunk or even a deer in Guelph. Remember, these are wild animals. As our community continues to grow, it’s getting harder for local wildlife to avoid us while they look for food, water and shelter.

Please observe Guelph’s local wildlife from a distance; don’t approach, feed or touch a wild animal. Teach your kids about wildlife. Ask them to tell you if and when they see a wild animal.

Why it’s bad for people

  • Feeding wildlife may attract “unwanted” species to your property.
  • Animals could learn to associate humans with food, and could become aggressive.
  • Feeding birds like Canada geese and pigeons can cause excess waste which is both unhealthy and unsightly.

Why it’s bad for the animals

  • People food can make animals very sick.
  • Feeding animals near city streets increases their risk of being hit by vehicles.
  • Animals can become dependent on artificial, unreliable food supplies.
  • Animals may lose their natural fear of humans and pets, which can cause conflicts.

  • Keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date against rabies and other diseases
  • Use a leash in city parks and natural areas
  • Dispose of pet waste properly
  • Feed your pets indoors

Around the house

  • Store household garbage in sealed containers and keep it inside until collection day.
  • Dispose of waste properly, and promptly.
  • Keep your roof, siding, windows and screens in good repair. Seal any holes or openings, repair damaged or rotten wood etc.
  • Place screens on all dryer, air, stove and bathroom vents.
  • Repair and seal outdoor light fixtures, and keep your eaves troughs clean to prevent birds from building nests.
  • Close access to any storage areas.
  • Cap chimneys to prevent birds and animals from getting inside. Check chimney caps annually
  • Keep flashing in good repair. Sometimes animals try to pry or chew their way inside.

Around the yard and garden

  • Keep your barbecue clean.
  • Cover the pool when not in use.
  • Enclose open areas under decks and stairs to keep small animals out. Fill any holes under stairs with clay or concrete.
  • Keep garage and shed doors closed.
  • Clean out window wells and use a screen to enclose them so small animals don’t become trapped.
  • Keep woodpiles off the ground and enclosed to prevent insects and animals from making nests.
  • The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) recommends using fences, covers, scare devices or taste repellents to keep critters out of your vegetable garden.
  • Use these tips for proper backyard composting

  • Relocated animals have to find food water and shelter in unfamiliar territory
  • Relocated animals may become involved in territorial disputes leading to injury or death
  • Relocated animals could spread disease to resident wildlife population causing other animals to get sick or die
  • Babies rarely survive when separated from their mother.
  • Animals become stressed and could injure themselves trying to escape from a live trap.
  • If there is suitable habitat, another family of animals will likely move into the same spot.

Trapping and relocating animals doesn’t resolve conflicts with people. Unlicensed trapping is illegal according to the Ministry of Natural Resources’ Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. Improper use of a live trap which results in animal suffering could lead to animal cruelty charges through the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

Learn more about trapping in Ontario

Do not approach the animal or try to handle it.

Please contact the Guelph Humane Society at 519-824-3091 and their staff can help assess the situation and walk you through the next steps.

Report and injured or dead animal near a road

Please report injured animals or small roadkill to the Guelph Humane Society at 519-824-3091.

Use this form to report large roadkill such as deer.

Drive carefully to protect local wildlife

  • Slow down and use caution when driving at dawn or dusk.
  • Slow down and use caution where you see wildlife crossing signs.
  • Please don’t litter. Food wrappers and other garbage can attract animals. Litter also ends up in our rivers and streams.

Designing Guelph roads to protect local wildlife

Road ecology studies the interactions between our environment and roads including wildlife mortality rates and loss or fragmentation of wildlife habitat.

When planning and renewing roads, Guelph is taking steps to respect and provide for wildlife movement, and minimize the loss or fragmentation of wildlife habitat:

  • recognize and protect important areas for wildlife habitat and wildlife movement (ecological linkages and wildlife crossing) as part of Guelph’s Natural Heritage System as established in the City’s Guelph’s Official Plan;
  • prevent roadways and major trails from intruding on sensitive areas when planning new neighbourhoods;
  • plan new roads and neighbourhoods to include wildlife culverts to help smaller wildlife like racoons, turtles, snakes and frogs cross roadways safely; and
  • add wildlife signs and culverts when road improvements are being completed.

For more information

Get more tips for protecting people, pets and property from the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA).