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Are you having problems with wildlife?

Each year, LTWC gets calls about conflicts between humans and wildlife. First come complaints about woodpeckers, racoons and bears, followed by calls about coyotes, cliff swallows, chipmunks and squirrels.

If you’re having a problem with wildlife, check out the tips below. If you still need help, contact LTWC. (Please only contact LTWC if you are in or near the Lake Tahoe area. If you are in another area, please contact your local wildlife rehabilitation center — they are a better resource for the wildlife in your area.)

2 bears in a circular image


Problem: Black bears may approach or enter human property in search of food. They can pry open doors, windows, dumpsters or other structures in search of food. Normally, they only do this if they smell food inside or if they have been lucky in finding food there before.

Solution: Read our tips for living with bears. The BEAR League’ also provides help and information on how to deal with nuisance bears.



Problem: If your house is near water (streams, lagoons, small lakes, etc.) you could have a family of beavers. Beavers chew on trees of all sizes, mainly ornamental trees, such as flowering cherry, peach, aspen and willow trees.

Solution: Contact the Sierra Wildlife Coalition (530-320-9923) for suggestions on how to handle each problem or visit the Sierra Wildlife Coalition website to learn more.

baby robin

Birds and Windows

Problem: In the spring, robins may consistently attack their own image in a window, thinking it is another male who they want to drive out of their territory.

Solution: Get newspaper and tape it to the OUTSIDE to cut the reflection. You can also use black plastic.

Problem: Birds can fly into large picture windows when they see the reflection of trees, where they want to land.

Solution: You need to cut the reflection—on the OUTSIDE—by putting up some type of camouflage, such as decorative flags.


Chipmunks & Squirrels

Problem: Chipmunks and squirrels may make themselves at home in your walls or attic.


  • In spring, the squirrels or chipmunks will most likely have babies. Do nothing at this time.
  • Once you have verified that the babies are gone from the nest, soak some rags with some regular-scented Pine-Sol, and place them well back from the opening. The smell will drive out the animal. Squirrels and chipmunks are daytime animals.
  • Once the squirrel or chipmunk is gone, repair the hole.


Problem: Coyotes will hunt cats and small dogs on your property, even jumping fences to get them.


  • Keep cats indoors. Indoor cats live longer because they are safer — not just from coyotes but from other animals, traffic, diseases, poisons and dangerous weather conditions. Keeping cats indoors also keeps small wildlife, like birds and chipmunks, safe from being unnecessarily hunted by domestic cats who are not part of the natural food chain. Give your cat lots of affection, play, and a window where they can safely look outside instead!
  • Walk dogs–especially small dogs–on a leash. Keep in mind that coyotes can jump fences, and can prey on pets left in fenced yards.
  • Consider installing a Coyote Roller on fences over six feet.

Problem: Coyotes may have babies under porches and houses.

Solution: Block off ALL accesses under your porches and openings to the underside of your house.



Problem: Porcupines can cause several problems:

  • They may eat the handles of tools left outside (shovels, rakes, hoes, etc.) because of the salt left on them from human perspiration.
  • They may chew on the frames of older wooden cabins and stairs.
  • They will chew the lower portion of trees on properties, especially those close to water.
  • Porcupines are NOT a dog’s best friend.


  • A product called “Shoo Away,” which has a bad taste, can be painted on areas where porcupines are consistently chewing.
  • Call a wildlife care center to get suggestions on how to handle each problem.


Problem: Raccoons can cause problems in various places. They may move into attics, under houses, into boats, they can rip off roof shingles or come in through pet doors.


  • If you have a problem with a racoon, contact LTWC to find out how to handle the problem.
  • Keep in mind that it is ILLEGAL to relocate wildlife in the state of California.


Problem: Woodpeckers are making nesting holes in your house.


  • Look to see if there are babies in the hole/nest.
  • If there are no babies, seal up the hole. Mend the hole with wood putty and staple ¼” hardware cloth with a minimum of 12 inches around all sides of the original hole.
  • If you can visually verify that there are babies, contact LTWC center to see how to proceed.