Animal Damage Control

By Bob Bowen

This is the VOA Special English AGRICULTURE REPORT.

Insects, plant diseases and weather conditions are not the only concerns for farmers. Wild animals also do a lot of damage.

Farmers in the United States can get information about dealing with threats to their crops from wild animals. They can call the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture. The agency has a Wildlife Services Program.

Farmers are not the only ones who need to know about controlling wildlife. Homeowners who grow crops in small family gardens also have problems. In fact, homeowners make most of the calls to local Department of Agriculture agencies for help with unwanted animals.

Deer normally stay away from homes. But sometimes the deer population becomes too large for the local food supply. The deer eat vegetables in small family gardens. They also feed on the leaves of trees growing near homes. A homeowner will have to build a fence at least two-and-one-half meters high to keep deer away from the home.

Homeowners also should build a fence to keep rabbits away from a small vegetable garden. Use metal wire fence material that is at least half a meter high. The fence should extend about fifteen centimeters underground. This will prevent rabbits from digging under the fence to get to the crops.

Experts say the best way to keep snakes from invading your home is to close all small openings a snake might use to enter. You should also remove any high grass or dead trees from near your house. If you find a snake and you believe it might be poisonous, call a professional to remove it.

The North American raccoon is similar to the coatis, kinkajous and ringtail found in other parts of the world. Raccoons eat meat and vegetables. And, they are very brave. They will open waste containers outside your home to get unwanted food left there. They even steal food left outside for dogs or other family pets.

Use metal waste containers with tight covers to keep raccoons out of them. Put only enough food for your pet dog or cat to eat at one time. To keep raccoons out of the garden, put up a fence that has two electric wires. One wire should be ten centimeters off the ground. The second wire should be twenty centimeters off the ground.

This VOA Special English AGRICULTURE REPORT was written by Bob Bowen.

Voice of America Special English