Davis has many wonderful mature trees, densely vegetated greenbelts and natural open space areas. These areas are attractive to a wide variety of wildlife including common, rare and protected species.
Living with Wildlife
Having wildlife live so close to home provides a great opportunity to watch and enjoy our fellow Earthlings. However, urban wildlife can also create problems when they eat our fruits and vegetables or damage our homes or landscaping. Here are some general preventive measures to help reduce conflict with wildlife.
- Do not feed wildlife. Feeding wildlife may not seem like a big deal, but it is the primary cause for conflict. Supplemental feeding encourages them to stay closer to your home, causes them to become less fearful of humans, and may reduce their health. Wild animals are capable of finding their own food.
- Do not feed pets outside. If you must, be sure to immediately remove any uneaten portion.
- Keep small pets indoors at night. Large predators such as coyotes and great-horned owls view small pets as potential food.
- Secure pet doors during late evening and night hours. Nocturnal species such as raccoons will readily enter cat doors in search of food.
- Protect backyard chickens by using a predator proof coop.
- Search for, repair or otherwise seal any holes, loose boards or gaps around the perimeter of your house so that wildlife cannot enter. Mice can squeeze through a hole or gap that's 1/4 inch or larger.
- Use wire mesh to cover chimney or vents.
- Cover fruit trees with netting and fence off your garden to help keep hungry wildlife away. Motion activated sprinklers and other deterrents are also helpful in the garden.
- Deter squirrels and rats from accessing fruit trees or your roof by cutting near-by vegetation back 8-10 feet.
- Use a pole or high pressure hose to knock down swallow nests as they are being built. Monitor daily until the swallows move elsewhere. It's illegal to knock down a completed nest that has eggs or young birds.
Got a specific wildlife concern? Tips for Living with Wildlife.
The trees, greenbelts and open spaces of Davis support several locally rare and/ or protected wildlife species. To help protect these sensitive species, and all urban wildlife, please follow these measures:
- Keep pets on a leash at all times unless you are within a designated off-leash area. Off-leash use is never permitted within open space or habitat areas.
- Feral and free-ranging domestic cats are extremely damaging to local wildlife. Cats that habitually kill wildlife should be kept indoors. Unwanted cats should be surrendered to an adoption agency and never released into the wild.
- Check before you cut. Tree pruning or removal should only be done in the fall or winter months (September - February) to avoid harming nesting wildlife. Have your tree care professional or a wildlife biologist check for nests before disturbing the tree.
- Do not use chemical pesticides unless absolutely necessary. Insecticides and rodenticides frequently poison non-target species such as beneficial insects and large predatory animals. Second generation anticoagulant rodenticides are known to kill hawks and owls and should not be used. Consider supporting natural predators by participating in the barn owl nest box program.
- When in a car or on a bike at night, be aware of and avoid animals crossing the road.
- Report wildlife sightings. Help the City of Davis keep track of and protect wildlife by reporting sightings.
- Visit our FAQ section for tips on helping sick or injured wildlife.