Animal Shelter

Shelter Manager Valerie Robinson


Nuisance Wildlife

Because of the climate, Louisiana is home to many different species of wildlife. Most people in this area will at some point come across some of the most popular neighborhood critters, such as raccoons and opossums. The following information will help you learn some of the best ways to keep your home and property critter free.

Preventing Conflict With Nuisance Wildlife

As residents of South Louisiana’s incredible natural habitat, we must learn to live with the wildlife around us. Because humans are gradually encroaching on many natural animal habitats, displaced wildlife often have nowhere else to go, so they venture into residential habitats. Preventing the conflict from occurring can be fairly simple and inexpensive.

Ways To Wildlife-Proof Your Home

Listed below are a few simple and inexpensive fixes that can be made to the average house to minimize conflicts with wild animals.

  • Repair any openings in your home where animals can gain entry. Even dime-sized holes are access points.
  • Screen open windows.
  • Cap your chimney.
  • Close the open spaces of a raised home with cement blocks or lattice.
  • Use artificial owls, hawks, or snakes to discourage small birds and squirrels in fruit trees.
  • Sprinkle cayenne pepper around gardens/flower beds to keep wildlife from digging them up.
  • Secure your trash can with a tight lid or bungee cord.
  • Prevent toppled trash cans by placing the cans in an anchored rack or tying them to a fence.
  • Remove all cat and dog food outside after mealtime but before dark every day.
  • Clean up spilled birdseed under and around bird feeders.
  • Wrap plastic/metal guards around tree trunks about 5 to 6 feet high to limit access to trees and roof tops.
  • Trim back tree limbs several feet from roof tops.
  • Lock all pet doors at night to keep animals out of the kitchen or garage.
  • Spray fox scent to deter raccoons away from your property.
  • Lay a wire mesh flat around the edges of a pond with some extending into the water to deter wildlife from eating the fish. Most animals won’t stand on it because the wire is unstable.

Humane Solutions to Common Wildlife Problems diagram describes few other ways to minimize conflicts with wild animals around your house.


Encouraging an Animal to Leave Your Attic

The animal living in your attic chose the space because it is a dark, warm, and quiet place to spend the day or raise a family. Follow these three steps to encourage the animal to find a new home.

You will need:

  • clear ammonia
  • empty cans or containers
  • rags to act as wicks
  • a bright light
  • a portable radio

Step 1: Make the attic smell unpleasant.

Soak a rag in ammonia and place it in a container. Pour extra ammonia in the container and place it in the attic. Use enough ammonia that the aroma is unpleasant but not so strong that it will kill the animal.

Step 2: Make the attic bright.

Hang a portable light in the attic using a high wattage bulb. Leave the light on 24 hours a day. The bright light will make the animal feel insecure because potential predators can see it and cause it harm. It also makes it hard for the animal to sleep, so the animal will search for a darker and safer location.

Step 3: Invade the attic with loud human voices.

Place a radio in the attic tuned to a talk radio station. Raise the volume so that the sound reaches the entire attic. Wild animals do not want to be around people, and by providing constant human voices, you make the attic a scary place. Note: Don’t play music. Only the sounds of talking will scare the animals.

You have now eliminated every reason the wild animal chose your attic. It is now a smelly, bright, and noisy place. The animal must find a new home.

If it is a mother with young babies, it isn’t easy to create a new nest in one night. Give the mother 3 to 4 days to move all her babies. Once all the animals have left, secure all entry points to prevent a new animal from moving in.

Myths About Nuisance Wildlife

Myth: It's okay to hand feed or tame a wild animal.
Fact: You should never attempt to hand feed or tame a wild animal. Wildlife that have no fear of people never survive for very long.

Myth: Removing nuisance wildlife will solve the problem for good.
Fact: Trapping and removing nuisance wildlife, such as opossums or raccoons, will only temporarily solve a problem. Another opossum or raccoon will move in to fill the niche.

Myth: It is best to relocate wildlife into the woods.
Fact: Relocating wildlife in the woods or the wild is not always in the best interest of the animal. Forcing the animal into other animals' territories means it has to compete with the resident animal for a nesting area and food. In many cases, it is the newcomer that loses and dies from infected bite wounds or starvation.

Myth: It is unusual for wildlife to come out during the day and if they do, they likely have rabies.
Fact: At certain times of the year, there may be an increased appearance of opossums and raccoons, including during daylight hours. This behavior generally occurs because the animals are having their young and become much more active during the day and night as they search for food. After the babies have left the nests or dens, the level of animal activity returns to normal.

Myth: A drooling opossum has rabies.
Fact: Most opossums drool. This is not a sign of rabies. In general, opossums present a far lower health risk to humans than dogs and cats, as they have a natural high level of immunity to most diseases.

Wildlife Removal

Healthy Nuisance Wildlife Removal

The removal of healthy nuisance wildlife is typically handled by the residents themselves, or by professional, private wildlife trappers.

Local wildlife trappers:

  • Jeff Lecompte: (985) 637-5615
  • Mike Hotard: (504) 352-1097

**Note: TPAS is not recommending any trapper listed, but merely providing the information as a public convenience.

Anyone interested in becoming a licensed wildlife trapper can find information at

Citizen Trapping/Relocating

View the LDWLF guidance and laws regarding citizen trapping and relocating before purchasing/setting a trap and/or relocating wildlife.

Sick/Injured/Orphaned Wildlife Removal

Well-meaning people often attempt to rescue small animals they think are abandoned. However, many of these animals are taken from completely normal situations. You can find information about orphaned/injured wildlife on the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries website.

For sick/injured/orphaned wildlife, contact a wildlife rehabilitator.

Local wildlife rehabilitators:

  • Laurie Laughlin: (985) 381-2618
  • Kaden Benoit: (985) 232-0566
  • Audubon Zoo: (504) 212-5367
  • LSU School of Veterinary Medicine: (225) 578-9600

**Note: TPAS is not recommending any rehabilitators listed, but merely providing the information as a public convenience.

Anyone interested in becoming a licensed wildlife rehabilitator can find information at

Found a baby bird and don’t know what you should do? Find more information in the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Baby Bird guide on what you should do.

Found a baby mammal and don’t know what you should do? Find more information in the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Baby Mammal guide on what you should do.

Emergency Wildlife Removal Response

If a rehabilitator is not available to assist with sick/injured/orphaned wildlife or wildlife in the primary living space of a residence (not the attic, garage, etc.), close all doors in the area to confine the animal, then contact Terrebonne Parish Animal Control at (985) 873-6709.

For more information, please call (985) 873-6709 or send an e-mail to

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