Wildlife in the City

A deer in the wild

Sioux Falls is a beautiful city with many trees, parks and water resources. The natural aspects that make it a great place for us to live also makes it appealing to wildlife. While some residents love watching birds in their feeders or squirrels chasing each other through trees, some wildlife can become a nuisance or even a danger to city residents. It is important that residents do their part to prevent unwanted wildlife encounters.

Wildlife, even those cute squirrels or rabbits, should never be handled unless you wear gloves. They do bite and carry fleas or diseases that can be transferred to you and your pets.

Be a Good Neighbor

What happens on your property can affect your neighbor. If you have bird feeders out then you are attracting wildlife to your neighbor's yard as well.

Injured Wildlife

Unfortunately living in a city can be dangerous for wildlife. Animals get hit by cars and attacked by family pets.

If you see an injured animal, do not approach it. A hurt or sick animal can be dangerous. Call Animal Control to handle the situation. If your pet attacks or is attacked by wildlife, call Animal Control and your Vet for sound advice on what to do next.

To avoid your pet interacting with wildlife, keep your pets indoors or supervise them when they are outside. Dogs can be kept in a secured kennel with a covered top to reduce their interactions with wildlife.

Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies. The main cause of pets getting rabies in the United States is through interactions with wildlife. Rabies vaccination is required by law for all adult pets that live in Sioux Falls.

Wildlife is built to survive

Baby Wildlife


Baby wildlife comes with the territory in Sioux Falls. Although our natural instinct may be to grab the animal and rush it to safety, that can have dire consequences.

All animals can carry disease and many baby animals have teeth right away. It is best to never have direct contact with any wildlife.

A lot of times mom is nearby, even if you don't see her. Many adult animals spend their day gathering food for their family. Chances are if you haven't seen mom around, it is because she is avoiding the nest because she senses danger, which might be you.

Occasionally young animals are orphaned and Animal Control will get involved. However, the BEST chance of survival for these babies is their natural habitat and their own mother.


Protecting Property

Wildlife in our area can provide a lot of entertainment. But when left to their own devices, wild animals can wreak havoc on yards and gardens and even pose a danger to you and your pets.

Wild animals are in your yard for two reasons; food and shelter. If you have a garden area or fruit trees, it is important to keep them cleaned up. Make sure spoiled vegetables are disposed of properly. Fencing can help protect a small area but make sure it is installed well. Bury chicken wire into the ground at least six inches and secure a top to prevent climbing animals.

Make sure to seal up openings under garages or decks where animals may want to take shelter. Fence under decks and porches to prevent animals from getting underneath. If you suspect an animal is already living in an area, wait until dark to secure the holes to ensure the animal is out.

If you have a problem area that wildlife will not leave alone, consider trying a repellent. Hardware stores offer a selection of items and there are also some home-made options on line. Just make sure these are non-poisonous to keep you and your pets safe.

Be Less Attractive!

Everyone loves free food - especially wildlife! You may have feeders out for the birds, but bird food attracts more than just birds. If you want to reduce the furry creatures in your yard, put the bird feeders away for a while.

Make sure all garbage and waste is cleaned up from your yard. Trim trees and bushes up high enough that animals can't hide under them and build their home. Secure all garbage cans and outdoor pet food containers. Don't leave food for your pets outside. Wildlife such as opossums, raccoons and coyotes will get used to the free buffet and will return to feed again.

Remember that it is illegal to feed deer in the City of Sioux Falls. Geese and ducks cannot be fed in any City park or along the bike trails. Feeding wild animals congregates them in one area which leads to the spread of disease and an increase in complaints from the public.

Be scary!

Wild animals are scared of human scents and sounds. Use lights, noise, perfume, ammonia, hot pepper flakes, the hose or other deterrents to keep wildlife away.