About New Jersey Wildlife

In New Jersey, we share space with a number of commonly seen animals—squirrels, deer, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, opossums, woodchucks, turtles, snakes, hawks, owls, geese, and songbirds—as well as other, sometimes more obscure animals such as flying squirrels, bats, foxes, coyotes, black bears, and beavers.

Many people enjoy seeing these animals in their yards and parks, but sometimes they get a little too close for comfort (such as when they take up residence inside a home). There are ways for humans and animals to coexist peacefully.

Put Wildlife to Work For You

Did you know that the insects you use pesticides to eliminate are actually savored by many of our local wildlife? For example, aphids are favorites of songbirds and grubs are like snacks to skunks. And, amazingly, a single bat can consume more than 3,000 mosquitoes each night. Put wildlife to work for you!

Please try to avoid using herbicides or pesticides on your lawn or in your garden. Not only can these products be dangerous to you, your children, and your pets, but they can also poison wildlife or interfere with their reproduction. Pesticides affect more than just the creatures they are intended to target. The insects that pesticides target are eaten by birds, which in turn are eaten by larger birds and some mammals. Consider using organic fertilizers such as compost, ground leaf litter, and seaweed. These alternatives are not only safer for humans, pets, and wildlife but are also better for the environment.

Give Wildlife a Helping Hand

Here are some other ways to make your yard "wildlife-friendly":

  • Feed the birds. Put up bird feeders and bird baths and plant trees and shrubs that produce food for the birds throughout the year.
  • Keep feeders and bird baths clean. Clean bird feeders regularly (every few weeks) with a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. Clean bird baths more often (about twice a week) using the same solution mix. This helps prevent birds who visit your yard from passing contagious diseases to each other.
  • Keep your cats inside. Cats that are permitted to roam freely outside do affect the songbird population. We receive many, many animals at the Center who have been caught by cats. Unfortunately, more than 80 percent of them die as a result of their injuries. If at all possible, please keep your cats indoors. In addition to preventing injury to wildlife, indoor cats are also spared the perils of outdoor living, such as possible poisoning, car impact, and altercations with other animals.
  • Time tree pruning carefully. Most tree-nesting animal species begin building their nests and having young in early spring. If you need to prune or remove trees in your yard, try to schedule this work for late summer or autumn to make sure young animals have left their nests.
  • Discard plastics and other dangerous items carefully. Animals can injure themselves when they get caught in fishing line, balloons, and even in the plastic rings that hold beverage six-packs together. Be sure to destroy these items with scissors and dispose of them carefully.