Deciphering the Mysteries of Natural Animal Repellents
For all wild animals, staying safe is life’s number one priority. Should you become lunch nothing else matters.
Many natural animal repellents work because of this basic survival instinct. When in doubt or when something is unfamiliar, animals move on, fast.
What’s that? Smells like a coyote. I’m outta here!
For prey animals, the scent of a predator – fox, coyote or similar hunter – elicits a primal flight reaction. Rabbits, deer, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, mice and other small mammals react to these smells with an immediate desire to be elsewhere. Some scent-based natural animal repellents even work on domestic cats and dogs.
Odors that people don’t mind or may even enjoy can be offensive to animals’ noses. Spicy and medicinal oils like citronella, clove, cinnamon, garlic and citrus fall into this category. Other scents that are barely detectable for human noses – like dried blood – are also effective animal deterrents.
Bitter, hot and similarly unpleasant tastes encourage animals to forage elsewhere. Even not-so-bright brains react to a mouthful of super-hot pepper sauce. Castor oil, paprika and mustard oil are examples of unpalatable flavors used in natural animal repellents.
Itchy, abrasive and jagged textures prompt avoidance. Several slug and snail repellants work on this principal as sharp, granular substances are painful for soft bodied creature to glide across. Diatomaceous earth, the ground up shells of marine algae (diatoms), is a product that relies on this approach.
Small animals scour the skies as they munch, on the alert for winged danger. Owls and hawks are the main concern and these birds have distinctive silhouettes. Devices that mimic the recognizable shapes of raptors prompt fear reactions. These deterrents work best if repositioned regularly so they don’t become familiar and therefore less scary.
When animals are starving, as in the dead of winter, they may be forced to eat almost anything. During the gardening season, however, the munching marauders are just looking for tasty snack options.
Make these critters feel unwelcome with natural repellents that are safe, effective and non-toxic.