Deer, and fawns
Julia J. Di Sieno
Animal Rescue Team, inc.
Young deer are called fawns. Fawns are often found alone, because they do not flee from danger until about 14 days of age, and they do not forage with their mother until they are older. To escape detection a fawn lies motionless in tall grass or other cover. Its spotted coat helps it blend into its surroundings by imitating dappled sun on vegetation. A fawn’s lack of scent also helps to protect it from detection by predators.
The condition of an orphaned fawn will deteriorate quickly if it is not nursing. If you are sure that the fawn is orphaned, or if it is injured, call a wildlife rehabilitator. Fawns require special care. Do not feed the fawn or attempt to care for it yourself. It is illegal to keep a fawn unless you have a permit. Taking a fawn from its natural habitat and teaching it to associate food with humans is doing the fawn a disservice. Once the fawn matures, it will be too large to stay in a house or garage. These deer are often released in a natural area once they are grown, but they are likely to suffer an early death. Human habituated deer may also pose a danger to pets and people, especially during deer mating season.
MOUNTAIN LION FOUNDATION
LIVING WITH LIONS PROJECT
Promoting Non-Lethal Predator Control Alternatives
NATURAL RODENT DETERRENTS
1) Rodents and especially mice are allergic to oil of peppermint and will not frequent a property where they can smell
it. If you place a few drops of oil of peppermint on a piece of cotton and place it anywhere you feel that there is a
mouse problem, you will never see them again. Use only the “real” oil of peppermint, not peppermint extract, for the
best results. You can also plant peppermint in your garden to keep all types of rodents away from the plants. They are
also repelled by camphor and pine tar.
2) There are a few ground covers that rodents do not like to live in or be around. These are adjuga, carpet bugle, cape
weed, chamomile, Indian rock strawberry and creeping speed well.
3) Hire some barn owls to address your rodent problem by installing some nesting boxes. A family of 6 barn owls can
consume as many as 16 or more rats in one night.
4) Rodents will avoid certain plants that give off repulsive scents. These include daffodils, hyancinths and scillia.
5) Gopher purge (uphorbia lathyrus) is a plant that contains pods each containing three seeds. The plant is a natural
repellent to gophers and moles and all other burrowing animals. The roots are so poisonous to them as well as to
humans and it will eliminate the problem.
6) Keep all trash + food tightly contained, woodpiles and debri picked up, drainage pipes clean and fi ll the ends with
chicken wire to prevent rats from entering and setting up house, also remove bird feeders until the problem is under control. Natural Pest Control Internet Sites: Critter-repellent.com
THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES TO POISON
Learn more environmentally-friendly
non toxic gardening practices at:
(click on pests and diseases)
(click on environmentally preferable
purchasing and then on less toxic gardening/IPM)
National Pest Information Center:
Alternatives to Anticoagulant Poisons
For the sake of our native wildlife, please use alternatives to rat poisons. Integrated pest management is an excellent alternative to widespread poison use. Replacing anticoagulants with another poison is not a practice we encourage. The bottom line is that no poisons available on the market in the U.S. have zero risk of unintended consequences for wildlife.
The best pest control is to encourage natural predators. Nesting boxes and perches for owls can be installed around your homes (see HungryOwl for more information).
The next best step to take is to take a preventive mode of action. Rodent proof your homes by sealing up holes. Remove unnecessary vegetation and trash in your yard that could be homes for small mammals. If ground squirrels are a problem, remove food and water sources such as bird feeders and baths!
Finally, once you’ve taken the above steps, try mechanical traps. Wooden snap traps and electric zappers are good for within home use. Just be careful with using snap traps outside. You might catch and injure other wildlife such as raccoons, opossums, coyotes, owls or other birds that will also be attracted to the bait. If you have pets, they too could fall victim to snap traps.
Here's some suggestions for particular pests:
Rats and Mice
The rats and mice that people target in southern California may be both native and nonnative rats and mice. The most frequent method of rodent control used worldwide are anticoagulant rodentcides. However, we recommend NOT using any poisons at all! Whether you use the poisons inside your home only, or both in and outdoors, you put other wildlife at risk of being poisoned too. Plus, pets and children are not immune to the effects of these poisons either.
Are there safer, effective ways to control rats and mice?
Yes! Visit www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PDF/QT/qtrats.pdf for details.
- Seal holes inside and outside buildings to prevent entry by rats and mice.
- Keep areas clean and free of crumbs and water. Seal food in rodent-proof containers.
- Use snap-traps instead of baits whenever possible – a lot of them, set at night. Keep the traps indoor where wildlife such as raccoons, coyotes, oppossums, etc. won't become accidental victims of the snap traps.
- In extreme cases, call a qualified professional. We recommend companies that are certified by EcoWise or GreenShield.
Within the southern California area, a lot of people consider our native pocket gophers a big problem around their gardens and lawns. Pocket gophers are strictly herbivorous, and will often pull plants into the ground by the roots to consume them in the safety of its burrow, where it spends 90% of its life. The burrows of this species may reach lengths of more than 150 meters. The main predators of pocket gophers include badgers, coyotes, long-tailed weasels, bobcats, snakes, skunks, owls, and hawks. Despite their many predators, they are frequent targets of poisoning, particularly with the use of anticoagulant rodenticides.
Prevention and Control
Once you become aware of unwanted gopher activity, it is important to act quickly. Once a tunnel system is in place, other gophers can quickly replace any you may drive away. Various methods can help to repel gophers, but very few are foolproof. Some plants such as gopher spurge (Euphorbia lathyrus) and castor bean (Ricinus communis) have been reported to deter gophers because they exude a poisonous substance from their roots. Research shows that neither of these are consistently effective repellents. Putting substances in gopher tunnels -- used kitty litter, rags soaked in predator urine or pine oil -- works for some gardeners. Ultrasonic noisemakers provide only short-term relief.
The most effective controls are exclusion and trapping. In small beds, gardeners can create cages or baskets to protect prized plants. Dig a 2- to 3-foot-deep hole in the planting area and line the sides and bottom of the hole with wire mesh. Replace the soil and plant your garden. Protect trees with wire mesh guards placed a few inches below the soil line and 2 feet up the trunk. If need be, use traps to kill problem gophers.
The use of poisons, particularly anticoagulant rodenticides, is not recommended, no matter how bad the problem! Gophers do not necessarily die in their burrows, and anticoagulant rodenticides can take up to 10 days to kill an animal once it has ingested a lethal dose of the poisons. Thus, predatory animals can easily be exposed to the poisons by preying on already poisoned (but not yet dead) gophers.
If you are interested in traps, click here to learn more about those options.
Although most people think of Bambi as a cute forest creature with retiring behavior, due to an growing population, deer have become a major garden pest throughout the country. Although they tend to keep to forest edges and fields grazing on grasses and leaves, they become more daring when food is scarce, venturing into suburban yards. Deer graze and browse leaves, stems, and buds of many woody plants, as well as alfalfa, roses, corn, vegetables, and fruits. Their damage is evident because they leave jagged leaf edges on the eaten plants, not to mention distinctive cloven hoof prints and bean-shaped droppings.
Although deer will eat anything if hungry enough, given a choice they tend to stay away from succulent plants, poisonous plants, pungent flavored plants, and plants with hairy or furry leaves. Plant ornamentals with these qualities in areas of heavy deer traffic. Some gardeners have had success using human hair, dog hair, soap, blood meal, rotten eggs, hot pepper, or predator urine spread around or on flowers and trees. Deer can be scared away by motion sensor devices attached to lights or loud music. Of all the methods, though, fencing is the most reliable. It's best to erect the fence before Bambi has found your garden or yard.
JUST BECAUSE WE DON’T WITNESS IT...
DOESN’T MEAN IT ISN’T HAPPENING
Ialon, Havoc, D-Con mice and rat traps
Mechanism of Action: second-generation anticoagulant. Absorbed
through the gut and inhibits the vitamin K-dependent steps in the synthesis
of multiple clotting factors. Death usually occurs through gastric hemorrhage.
Metabolism: brodifacoum is retained in the tissues at high rates,
sometimes remaining in organ systems during the entire lifetime of an
exposed animal. In a study that measured the retention of radioactive
brodifacoum in the livers of single-dosed rats, 34% of the single dose is
found in the liver after 13 weeks, and 11% of the dose remained in the liver
for 104 weeks, approaching the normal lifespan of a rat (U.S. EPA MRID
Very highly toxic to mammals and birds.
Brodifacoum is extremely dangerous to birds through secondary exposure,
especially raptors feeding on poisoned rats and mice.
Hundreds of avian and other wildlife mortalities have been
reported across North America.
Brodifacoum is absorbed through the gut and works by preventing the
normal clotting of blood, leading to fatal hemorrhage. It is highly effective
at small doses - usually a rodent ingests a fatal dose after a single feeding
and will die within 4-5 days. The greatest risk to wildlife from brodifacoum
is secondary poisoning. Rodents continue to eat poisoned bait so at the
time of death the amount of brodifacoum present in their bodies is many
times the amount required to kill them. Non-target wildlife such as predators
and scavengers may then consume rodents that have ingested large
doses of brodifacoum. It can take as little as one poisoned rodent, or a
predator may accumulate enough brodifacoum after consuming several
poisoned prey items, to induce life-threatening or fatal effects. A single
dose of brodifacoum can depress blood clotting for months
in some animals, including birds. Stress or slight wounds incurred
in the fi eld, such as small scratches that normally occur when a raptorial
bird captures its prey, are often suffi cient to cause a fatal hemorrhage.
Raptor species maintain hunting territories that may include areas near
agricultural or other industrial and urban buildings where rodent control is
ongoing. Local avian predators may consume rodents living in and around
these structures. However, the death of such a predator will most likely
occur some distance away from treated sites, making it diffi cult to observe
patterns of mortality attributable to any one cause. Furthermore, birds that
have been exposed to lethal levels of brodifacoum may be more likely to
die from other causes such as accidents or predation. Most mortality undoubtedly
goes undiscovered. For these reasons, the true impact on birds of many pesticies,
including brodifacoum is obscured.
More on Pesticides:
1) Widely used pesticides are not particularly specific for the “target” organism. Such
pesticides can cause unintended and unwanted effects
to “non-target” resources. Species can be exposed to pesticides by many
routes, with the simplest form being direct contact or ingestion.
2) Animals can ingest pesticides indirectly through contaminated foods such as
leafy material, seeds, and prey (including insects and other animals), or by water contamination
through precipitation and irrigation (puddles, drinking water, bathing water or
3) Aquatic organisms can be exposed to pesticides entering water bodies through runoff
and groundwater infi ltration. Measurable amounts of pesticides have been detected in
4) Indirect effects of pesticides can also have signifi cant implications to animal species.
For example, herbicide drift can harm plants and consequently damage the habitat upon
which an animal species depends. A given pesticide can be relatively non-toxic to an
animal species, but may be lethal to its prey or food plants. Similarly, an insecticide can
indirectly harm an endangered plant that may depend upon a specifi c insect pollinator.
5) Wildlife, for example, are more susceptible to pesticide effects during nesting, nursing
of young or during times of low food availability.
6) Primary exposure includes eating, drinking, preening of feathers, skin contact
or breathing of vapors.
7) Secondary exposure occurs from scavenging on contaminated
food, such as exposed carcasses, or feeding upon insects. If pesticide
levels are high enough, wildlife often die suddenly.
8) Not as readily observed in wildlife are the sublethal, or
non-fatal, consequences of ingesting pesticides. Behavior
changes, weight loss, impaired or unsuccessful reproduction, high offspring mortality
or deformed embryos are results of sublethal exposure to pesticides. Affected wildlife
become easy prey for predators, while many lose their ability to adapt to environmental
9) Pesticides can reduce insects that may be important
food sources for young birds and fi sh, and habitat is similarly reduced
when vegetation is destroyed -- a critical factor for small wildlife populations already
stressed by insuffi cient habitat.
Raccoon - Los Angeles
Diet: : Small mammals, birds, insects, trash,
carrion and fruit.
Coyote - Admitted with mange, Griffi th Park.
Diet: Small mammals, rodents, ground squirrels, carrion, berries,
fruit, vegetables and insects.
Screech Owl - Agua Dulce.
Diet: Small rodents and insects.
Greenback Heron - Simi Valley.
Diet: Fish, small mice and insects.
Grey Fox - Van Nuys.
Diet: Small rodents, birds, insects, fruit, berries and carrion.