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  • Lake County Educational Article of the Month - What to do about a cage-shy wild Lake County animal

What to do about a cage-shy wild Lake County animal

You have a home invader, a furry Lake County critter of the wild sort and, though it may be cute in an off-putting possibly rabid or disease-ridden kind of way, it's probably also an unwelcome guest. By this time, you've probably already animal proofed your home (i.e. put up mesh, steel, or lattice around the foundation of your house, cleaned it inside and out so there is no food laying around, set the trash out at the last possible minute) and set out traps with the right bait.

Sometimes, an Illinois animal is what we call “cage-shy” meaning you can put the right bait out, but the animal is smart, well-adapted, and not fooled easily by unfamiliar things in its territory. Such an animal is also likely to adapt to whatever countermeasures you've taken to ensure it is no longer a resident in or near your home, so it is perhaps more important to be able to trap and remove these animals than others.

A cage-shy animal is an Illinois animal that has adapted to avoid the unfamiliar and, is thus, a creature of habit. For this reason, if you are set on catching the creature (humane traps only) it is important to put the trap along the animal's trail and to do so at a time when you know the animal will not be nearby. If the creature sees you putting the trap out, it will likely be more terrified of the contraption, so do some research on the creature. Is it nocturnal? When is it most likely to be away from the site of the trap?

Further research should also include what kind of bait to use. If you are wondering about bait, you can check out our article on baiting animals here.

Another good strategy is to place the trap in an area that is comfortable for the Lake County animal. If an animal is in the baking heat and looking for water, it is less likely to explore a trap in the sun than one in the shade, for instance. Beware of placing traps illegally, using illegal methods of trapping, or of trapping the wrong critters.

If you've managed to trap the wrong critter, release it and do some research on the Illinois animal's habits. This may help you to understand where to better place your trap. For instance, if you are trying to catch a raccoon and have accidentally trapped a skunk, you can't exactly place the trap during the day instead since both are nocturnal. Understanding that skunks are much smaller and far less wily than raccoons, however, may lead you to the conclusion that placing the trap up high—even off the ground—with a tasty bait, will allow the raccoons to reach the trap, but not the skunks. As Sun Tzu wrote, “Know thy enemy.”

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