April Focus: Wildlife in Cabbagetown

In our recent survey, we had a wide range of responses from residents regarding wildlife in the area. The topic of wildlife is timely, as it’s “National Wildlife Week“!

Many of you wrote to defend the right of animals to be in the neighbourhood, and many were upset about the shooting of the local coyote last year. There were also many people who, while sympathetic, told tales of trying to remove possums from bathrooms, and raccoons and squirrels from attics at great expense and effort. Feeding wild animals was widely criticized since they can become dependent on the food, and often leave food in others’ yards. Skunks, wild cats, termites, ants…all causes of concern. Although not technically wildlife, there were many comments concerning dog owners who don’t clean up after their dogs also. Ensuring that bins are properly secured was the top recommendation from residents.

So…now that Spring is in the air, Cabbagetowners – including all of our community creatures – are becoming more active and we have some tips.

Everyone should be reminded that those garbage containers that were left alone in the deep freeze of winter are once again the buffet repository for hungry racoons. Make sure to racoon-proof your garbage container lids as best you can (my personal recommendation is Raccoon Check – I’ve used them for 11 years and no raccoon has ever managed to get in to my compost bin. Unfortunately, they’re hard to find since Home Hardware stopped carrying them but they can still be found online). Some residents wrote that they freeze their compost, and put it out in the green bin on pickup morning (I’m sure there are some raccoons that still like compostcicles, but leaving it until the morning of pickup is a good strategy).  Also, be aware that pets roaming free are at a risk of coming in contact with emerging skunks especially in the hours of dusk and dawn – keep them close. The helping hand of providing food to wild animals can be of some benefit in harsh conditions as was the case this winter (See comment below) but now is the time to ween them off human handouts and let them forage. Animals becoming too dependent on humans for their food supply are the first to be identified as a nuisance and can require relocation.

The Canadian Wildlife Federation has some excellent resources for how we can live (or at least cope…) with many animals – including raccoons and squirrels:
Raccoons
Squirrels

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2 Responses to April Focus: Wildlife in Cabbagetown

  1. Helen Coltrinari says:

    I have looked this up and it is AGAINST THE LAW – bylaw 129-92 to feed wild animals in the city yet people leave food out for squirrels and raccoons. This food is then often fodder for opossums, rats, mice and pigeons.

    I think the CRA should make this information public.

    AND while I am at it, perhaps encouraging people to keep their dogs on leash except in a leash-free area. Today, this morning, I was walking my dog, on leash, in the necropolis and encountered a woman with her dog OFF leash. THe sign at the entrance clearly states that dogs in the cemetery must be on leash. My issue is that people like her, who flaunt the law, will have the PRIVILEGE of walking in that beautiful cemetery removed. This is rude and inconsiderate, as is anyone who walks a dog off leash other than where permitted.

    Thanks for letting me rant 😉

    • Keith says:

      Thanks for your comments! I’ve updated our posting above since you are correct that feeding wild animals is not allowed. Many comments in the survey were related to dogs and dog-owner behaviour also. I recall that the Necropolis didn’t permit dogs at all until a couple of years ago, with the caveat that the dogs be on leash. I think that this is a very reasonable standard and people flouting this rule should be challenged on it. Thanks again!

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