There’s nothing like the great outdoors to provide a welcome refuge from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. A camping trip with your family is an excellent way to relax, unwind and bond with nature. However, an unwanted late night visit to your tent from a skunk, raccoon or other nuisance animal can quickly ruin your trip.
Preparing for an Animal Invasion
If sharing your tent or sleeping bag with a wild animal isn’t your idea of a good time in the wilderness, you’ll need to take some steps to keep the wildlife away. Knowing which items to bring along can make the difference between a fun-filled family excursion and one that will live in your memory for all the wrong reasons. It can also be helpful to do a bit of research before your trip to learn about the types of animals you’re likely to encounter at your destination.
Essential Items for Your Campsite
Essential items that can deter wild animals and protect your family include:
Locking cooler — Animals aren’t stopping by your site to sing around the campfire or toast marshmallows — they’re in search of a hearty meal. To avoid attracting animals, store all your food in a locking cooler and wrap it with rope for extra protection. Hang the cooler outside at an elevation of at least seven feet. Another option is to place the cooler in the trunk of your car if it’s not too far away. And never keep food inside your tent!
Fabric softener sheets — Many animals hate the fragrant odor of those fabric softener sheets you toss into the dryer, and they can also disguise the smell of food. Bring along a few boxes and the place the sheets everywhere — in your tent, cooler, backpacks and sleeping bags.
Flashlight — A sudden burst of light from a flashlight can spook an animal you discover lurking around your campsite at night.
Heavy duty garbage bags — If your camping area doesn’t provide a means of disposing your trash, you may have to resort to placing it in garbage bags. Use the heaviest bags you can find, and double-bag for additional protection. As with your food cooler, hang the bags high off the ground or place them in the trunk of your vehicle. Avoid burning the trash in your campfire.
Liquid or granular repellents — As an animal control professional, I’ve found that Critter Ridder® repellents from Havahart® are an excellent choice for keeping animals away from your campsite, and preventing raccoons from getting into your trash. These repellents are made with natural ingredients that won’t harm you, your family or the surrounding environment. They’re also easy to apply, and one application can last as long as 30 days for those extended outdoor adventures.
Have Fun in the Great Outdoors!
By taking a few simple precautions, you can keep nuisance animals out of your campsite and in their natural environment where they belong. It’s a whole lot better than sharing your sleeping bag with a skunk!