How to keep the coyotes (or other, less scary critters) at bay.

It's what we get for moving farther from the city into what used to be forest and farmland: critters, creatures, coyotes. And that can be plenty unnerving. (I almost hit a buck and doe crossing busy Fairmount Boulevard in Cleveland Heights.)

But what if it's not Bambi you spot, but the Big Bad Wolf (probably a coyote) or some other predator skulking on your property, and you fear for the safety of your pooch, Vince?

Danielle Flowers, of Critter Control in Valley View, recommends picking up jars of pee. Well, predator urine to be exact, available at any home-and-garden center. (You may see it marked as fox or coyote urine.) Placing bottles around your property will help turn away the beasts.

Do not feed wildlife. Large amounts of wild birdseed will not just attract birds -- it will also draw rabbits, squirrels, mice and gophers, which attract coyotes and other predatory animals, according to The Fund for Animals. Feed birds with small amounts at a time. Don't leave table scraps. Secure your trash cans and keep them inaccessible.

Keep your small pets inside, allowing them out only under supervision. Don't just leash them in the yard, giving them no chance to escape a predator, says Flowers. "That's like leaving a lamb in the lion's den."

-- EB

Remove a bat from your house.

Shut all doors to confine the bat in as small an area as possible. Open all windows or doors leading outside. Leave the lights on. The bat should get its bearings within 10 to 15 minutes, find the open window or door and fly away.

If the bat comes to rest on a curtain or wall, put on work gloves and place a large open container over it. The bat's probably tired and disoriented. Slide a piece of cardboard under the container and take it outside, leaving the bat on a ledge or against a tree, releasing it above the ground so it has a chance to get its bearings and fly away.

Keep deer from destroying your landscaping.

The easy solution is a fence (at least 8 feet tall). If a fence isn't practical, there are other remedies.

Chris Murray, of Beachwood's Galis Florist and Garden Center, recommends Liquid Fence, Deer-Off or Ropel Liquid, which you can get at your home-and-garden center. He also suggests the organic repellent Green Screen -- small bags of blood meal you hang around the garden.

Home remedies include mixing a foul concoction of rotten eggs, garlic and hot pepper sauce, and spraying it on your plants. Or try a bar of strongly scented deodorant soap (such as Irish Spring). Drill a hole through the middle of the bar, run some twine through it and hang it on low branches of vulnerable trees and bushes. It's cheap and biodegradable.


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