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Courses in this Department

Build a Safe Home Playground

Fences Make Good Neighbors

All About Arbors and Trellises

Deck Design

Green Grass the Professional Way

Mailbox Beautification: Landscaping to the Letter

How to Live with Wildlife

Termite Proof Landscaping

Ornamental Trees are Year-Round Performers

No More Deer

The Arrival of Jack Frost

Parameters of Proper Pruning


Coyotes, Snakes and Bears


If you think you've seen a wolf or wild dog, it's probably a coyote. These highly adaptable creatures flourish throughout North America in any season, any altitude and any climate. Coyotes are nocturnal but have been known to hunt by day. They are omnivorous, meaning it will eat everything from your vegetable garden to your family pet.

A lone coyote is more likely afraid of you than vice-versa. But beware! Although closely related and known to breed with domestic dogs, coyotes are not to be messed with. If you see one, call your local authorities.


Of the thousands of people bit each year by venomous snakes, less than 20 victims die. In the warm weather months, snakes emerge from hibernation. Snakes are most often seen in the spring when they bask on rocks, tree stumps or the swimming pool deck to be noticed by a mate. The rest of the time, though, snakes will usually stay out of sight.

But if you're one of those people who just hate snakes, there are steps you can take to keep them away from your home. Snakes occupy a variety of habitats including ponds, streams, wetlands, forests, fields and rocky areas. As such, you can keep them away from your home by removing potential shelters: cracks, woodpiles, shrubs, dense patches of flowers.

If they live in cracks or crevices, ammonia or mothballs may drive them out temporarily so you can seal up their home. If the snake is actually in your house, it most likely wandered in by accident. As eager as you are to get rid of the snake, it's probably equally as anxious to leave. There's little food and too many humans. It will probably avoid common living areas, opting for your cellar or crawlspace. If it's a smaller snake, you can lure it out with a heating pad or warm damp towels and trap it with a glue trap. Once captured, you can release it from the glue trap with any lubricant. If you have reason to believe it's poisonous, call your local authorities.


If you're fortunate (or unfortunate depending on your view) enough to live in rural areas in or near the forests of North America, you may encounter a bear. Black bears are the ones you'll most likely see. It's doubtful you'll ever encounter a Grizzly unless you're in Alaska or Canada. Store your garbage in bear-proof containers or in your freezer until pick-up day. Keep barbeque grills clean and free of grease. If possible, store them inside in a garage or a shed. Bird feeders also attract bears so if you have one, take them in at dusk.

A Handy Checklist

Now let's take a look at some important points to remember...

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