While gardening can be a very rewarding hobby and lifelong learning experience, a garden can be a dangerous place. There are many dangers lurking in the garden including animals and hidden dangers.
Some animals seem harmless but if provoked they can lead to human harm. Being aware of these dangers and knowing how to remove or avoid these dangers provides some security.
Pests in the Animal World
Many animals just happen upon the gardens and either use it for a food source or they are predators searching for unsuspecting prey.
Snakes help control a number of pests including but not limited to rabbits, moles and voles, caterpillars and some insects. But they can also pose a danger when they are mistreated and mishandled especially the venomous snakes.
Some snakes will immediately try to get away from any human encroachment. But a few will aggressively defend themselves and their territory.
There are snakes all around the world. They live in many environments including deserts. While the majority of snakes are smaller than six foot some can get very large such as the Anaconda in South America and the Reticulated Python in Africa.
Even the non-venomous snakes can pack a punch. Generally, reptiles such as the snake have bacteria build up in their mouths. When they bite a victim or enemy, the bacteria can get transferred to the bite area and can cause infections.
Most snakes avoid humans and will try to get away. Letting them get away is the best bet. Avoid snake contact. Most of the time, getting rid of snakes only invite trouble with their prey. Their prey end up being destructive pests such as rabbits, gophers and moles. But removal of these pests can deter snakes as well.
There are professional services that can safely remove any snakes and are usually labeled animal control services. Some specialize in just snakes especially in areas prone to snake habitats.
Mammals There are many mammals that can visit the garden. Rabbits, deer even raccoons have been known to visit the garden for the occasional meal.
The most common mammals that visit the garden are deer, rabbits, raccoons, groundhogs, moles and voles, skunks and opossums.
Deer can eat vegetation such as lettuce and peas and other common garden plants. They can become a nuisance to these plants devastating an area in little time.
Usually deer are very wary of humans and loud noises. But if in rut season, or mating season, some deer have been known to attack humans.
Rabbits aren’t usually much danger to humans only to the garden. As with any wild animal, they can be dangerous and harmful if they are handled improperly, are sick as with rabies or if cornered or with offspring, they might fight fiercely.
Raccoons eat just about anything including those yummy plants from the garden. Raccoons generally come out at night and look for easy meals. They mostly dig in the garden looking for earthworms and grubs. But this digging in the garden can harm your garden plants.
They generally won’t come around if there is a lot of noise, but some raccoons have become so used to city noise and human activity that it hardly seems to bother them. They will become fierce if they are cornered or have offspring.
Groundhogs love to eat the vegetation around the garden and will sometimes devastate a garden area as much as any animal could. They are generally timid creatures and very wary of human activity and noise. But again with any wild creature they can be fierce when fighting for their lives or the lives of their offspring.
o Moles and Voles
Moles and voles work underground destroying roots and soil beneath the garden. A cousin to the mole is the shrew. There is a shrew in North American that is considered a poisonous animal. It has a bite that can make a human sick but it is not generally fatal.
The skunk is recognizable by its smell. Like the raccoon, it digs in the garden for earthworms and grubs. It can be fierce when fighting. The spray can linger on the body for many days and it can temporarily blind anyone caught in the eyes.
These seemingly timid creature can occasionally show up in the garden. They too can dig up the garden and while this can be great for other pests it can lead to plant damage.
The opossums have a mouth full of about 50 teeth and can be fierce when confronted.
Some of these mammals while not inherently dangerous could become dangerous if bothered. Deterring these mammals is the best way to be rid of them. Putting a scarecrow in the garden or using pie pans tied up on a string set around the garden should provide enough deterrent for the most skittish of the mammals.
But sometimes traps and bait are necessary. Live traps are best to remove the creature safely and without harm to the natural environment.
Some areas have pest control groups that can come out and assess your garden area and needs. Then they can provide pest removal services.
While poisons are not recommended as some animals are protected by federal regulations, certain sprays and chemicals can be used to deter these unwanted menaces. Garlic sprays, pepper sprays and other smelly sprays help keep the distance between the pest and garden.