Last Updated: May 2016

Why do animals break in? It is very frustrating when wildlife enter our homes as they are messy, noisy and just plain annoying. Growing up we learn that urban wildlife are generally more scared of us than we are of them, but then why do they become unwanted house guests?
I believe that understanding why animals break in will help us solve this problem. If you check out our post How do animals get in you will find ways which will also help keep urban wildlife out.

2 main reasons for wildlife breaking into houses

  1. Adaptation
  2. Primal needs

1. Adaptation of urban wildlife

Raccoons, squirrels, skunks or opossums are constantly adapting better to urban life. As Toronto grows bigger wildlife have no choice but to adapt to the city, thus becoming less scared of humans. Many people feed raccoons or squirrels in their backyard or in the park, but this isn’t the best approach in dealing with wildlife in the city as they become less scared of us and they get confident approaching closer.

To help discourage wildlife from your property, do not feed them and when putting our your garbage, secure the bins. The new wildlife proof bins being introduced to Toronto should help this. If there are any wildlife animals in your yard, make large noises at them to leave. Inform your children to keep away from wildlife, especially when unsupervised, telling them not to feed them.

2. Primal Needs of urban wildlife

Raccoons, squirrels, skunks and other pests have basic needs that attract them to our homes. Their needs are similar to ours:

  • Shelter
  • Food
  • Heat
  • Nest

Animals are attracted to our homes as we have fulfilled these needs for ourselves, seeing it as a resource for themselves.


Raccoons, squirrels, opossums and skunks all look for dens not just during the cold weather but all year round. Raccoons, squirrels or any pest will take advantage of any weak parts on our homes. They will scratch or chew through wood or any small holes to gain entrance. To stop them gaining access to these areas it is advisable to cut away all tree branches near your home to reduce access and to assess you home several times a year to see if there are any holes or weak points that you should fix. I can’t advise wildlife proofing your home enough, a service SOS Wildlife Control Incorporated provide that is effective and is worth it. No matter how high a fence you put up to protect your property, many wildlife animals have very sharp claws and will burrow under it or find other means to counter-act it. Wildlife proofing includes putting a wire mesh under your fences or porch which restricts animals from digging down to go under. For more information on wildlife proofing please call us on 1800-981-0330


Wildlife are attracted to our homes because of fruit falling from trees, food in trashcans or in compost bins, BBQ leftovers and even pet bowls and bird feeders and more. It is important to clear out fallen fruit, have trashcans with tightly secure lids and take any precautions to ensure that food is inaccessible for wildlife. Soon we will have the new wildlife proof bins being released in Toronto in 2016. Lastly feed pets inside and don’t overflow bird feeders. Every little bit helps!


The heat escaping from holes in vents and open chimneys attract wildlife. It is important to check how efficient your home is, as it not only attracts critters but it is costing you money.

Below is a video of raccoons being chased by our team from the chimney flue. They are attracted to the heat.


Twice a year animals have babies but throughout the year wildlife keep an eye out for dens. However in baby season, Spring and Autumn, you will have a higher risk of finding wildlife in your homes as mothers are trying to find somewhere warm and dry to nest for a few weeks. If you do find baby animals in your home, do not touch them. Call SOS Wildlife Control Incorporated immediately as they need to be removed professionally and kept with their mother.

We will always have wildlife within our city environment, and we will have problems with these animals until we take preventative measures to keep them from homes. You can read our other posts on Toronto’s human – wildlife conflict and also Signs that wildlife are in your home already. Once the repairs are done and you begin a regular inspection of your home, we believe your wildlife problems will be over.