Resources and information is outlined on this page about the most common animals found within the City.
Avoid skunks on your property by:
Keeping food and garbage off your decks
Securing garbage in animal proof containers
Securely covering your composter
Avoid adding meat, fat or dairy products to your composter
Keeping pet food tightly contained (preferably indoors)
Who to call
If a skunk that you think is living on City property or you notice a skunk that has been hit by a car, call Parks at 403.948.8400
If you notice an injured or orphaned skunk, call the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation at 403.946.2361 to ensure the animal you have found is truly orphaned. Many animals are mistaken for orphans, and as a result are needlessly separated from their parents.
For nuisance skunks on private property, you may be able to deter the skunk by trying some of the tips below. If a skunk has taken up residence in your yard, contact a Pest Control Service.
Did you know?
Skunks are non-aggressive
It takes time to regenerate their spray and they will only use it if they’re feeling extremely threatened
They give lots of warning signs, like stamping their feet, bluff charging etc.
They’re helpful with pest control (eat mice, insects, wasps etc.)
They are just looking for food and shelter – if you don’t provide that, you probably won’t have a skunk problem
Remove skunk deterrents
Keep food and garbage off your decks
Secure garbage in animal proof containers (garbage can with lid)
Don’t take your organics cart out until collection day
Keep pet food tightly contained (preferably indoors)
What should you do if you see a skunk in your backyard
Keep your dog on-leash
Supervise your dog if you let it out at night
Skunk proof your backyard
Remove attractants from your yard
Put chicken wire along window wells and lattice on the bottom of deck
Relocations are not usually effective because it just makes room for another skunk to move in
Skunks have very small territories
Removing attractants is more effective than removing the skunk
Often fatal to relocated animal
What should you do if you get sprayed?
Use a mix of dish soap, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda
Use ‘skunk-off’ shampoo for dogs
The Richardson Ground Squirrelalso known as a 'gopher' are very common in Airdrie. The City has a zero tolerance level for gophers on sports fields as they create tripping hazards. The Parks department regularly monitors them for gopher activity.
Sports fields take priority for the gopher control program followed by other general parks spaces.
Other small rodents
Northern Pocket Gophers
Northern Pocket Gophers may leave small mounds of loam in your yard with no visible entrance to a burrow system. Quite often you can find the entrance to the burrow system using a probe. Trapping is the most effective method of controlling these critters.
Voles or field mice are a compact, stocky rodent with short legs and short tail and may be 14 to 19cm, quite often with grey fur. Voles eat a variety of plants, mostly grasses as well as eating the bark around the base of smaller trees. Voles can be found in all areas of the city, but are most commonly found in areas bordering open spaces and fields.
Voles leave trail systems throughout homeowners lawns and gardens, which are noticeable in the spring time when the snow has melted. Large population fluctuations are characteristic of voles. After a winter with a large snow accumulation, there is often a higher vole population in the spring.
Because the meadow vole is native to the area and plays an important role in the ecology as a primary food source for raptors and carnivorous mammals, the Parks department does not conduct vole control. However, Parks does mow where natural areas with tall grass border residential fence lines to keep the grass down and help prevent voles from entering residential yards.
Residents can help prevent vole damage in their yard by:
Eliminating yard waste such as leaves, grass clipping piles, wood piles.
Keeping your grass maintained and mowed.
Keeping bird feed off the ground as this may attract voles.
Keep a two metre area around the trunk of trees clear of other plants that create cover for vole.
Do not pile snow on young trees or shrubs.
Wrap the trunk of small trees with ¼” wire mesh. This must be dug into the ground and extend higher than the expected snow line.
To control voles and clean up vole damage:
Voles often retreat back into taller grasses when the snow melts in the spring. However, if you have voles living in your back yard, trapping may be effective for controlling a small population. Use a mouse snap trap set perpendicular to the runway, a few inches away from the burrow entrance.
Rake and then fertilize affected grass and it will quite often rejuvenate in the spring.
Local hardware stores may supply products for control. Follow all label instructions when choosing to use pest control products.
When cleaning up droppings or handling any rodent, it is important to wear personal protection such as gloves and a dust mask.
Feral domestic rabbits
Feral domestic rabbits are house-pet breeds or descendants of house-pet breeds that have populated on their own. They are not jackrabbits native to Airdrie.
If you’ve seen feral domestic rabbits in your neighbourhood, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with details about location, number of rabbits and how often you’ve seen them.
Feral domestic rabbits breed every 31 days and produce six to eight rabbits per litter. The native population only breeds one to two times a year, and produce approximately four rabbits per litter. This means a feral domestic rabbit could produce approximately 70 to 80 rabbits a year, in comparison to the native jackrabbit, who produces approximately eight rabbits per year. A high rabbit population creates a wildlife attractant for animals such as coyotes.
An infestation of feral domestic rabbits can also ruin property and cause damage and death to mature trees. Feral domestic rabbits that are not given proper care can carry and spread disease.
Coyotes look like a cross between a fox and a small Collie or German Shepherd and weigh between 9 and 14 kilograms
Monitoring coyote activity
The City of Airdrie continues to monitor the coyote activity within City limits.
Permanent signage was erected regarding coyote activity in certain areas, however, from time to time, sandwich board signs may be placed if there are concerns. Although tracks have been sighted, so far there have not been any reported encounters or concerns of aggressive coyotes. The City will notify residents with additional signage, social media posts and website updates if necessary.
A reminder to residents to please keep garbage contained in bins and pet food indoors.
The Parks department asks that sightings be reported to the City by emailing: email@example.com or by phone at 403.948.8400. These reports help with monitoring, mapping and determining the best areas to use control methods when necessary.
Who should you call regarding coyotes?
If the coyote(s) is ACTIVELY attacking a person or pet, call 9-1-1
For non-emergency situations and to report coyote encounters please contact the Parks Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 403.948.8400
If you encounter a coyote, make the experience unpleasant for the animal by making it feel unwelcome in your neighbourhood. Even if you are not concerned about problems with coyotes, they should not learn that neighbourhoods are safe places to feed and rest.
If you encounter an aggressive coyote:
Respond to their presence aggressively by making yourself appear large; wave your arms overhead or throw objects, such as sticks or rocks toward the coyote
Shout in a deep voice and maintain eye contact
If the coyote approaches, back away slowly and move toward buildings or human activity
Do not turn away or run as this may encourage the coyote to chase you
Dog repellents and bear spray products can be effective in deterring coyotes
Avoid attracting coyotes to your neighbourhood:
Do not feed coyotes
Bring in pet food dishes or feed pets inside
Dispose of garbage and compost materials in containers that have secure lids, or keep them in the garage or a shed
Only take your garbage out on collection day
Keep a clean backyard. Remove seeds, fallen fruits, dog feces and other attractants.
Protect your pets:
Don’t allow your cat to roam
Supervise your pets when they are outside especially when it’s dark
Pick up dog feces and be aware that dog urine may also attract coyotes
If your dog is in heat, keep it inside or away from areas where they may encounter coyotes
Always walk your dog on leash
If you spot a coyote, pick up your small dog. Ensure your large dog is leashed and under your control. Back away slowly and leave the area immediately
According to Alberta Fish and Wildlife relocating beavers is usually ineffective because beavers are very territorial and will kill colonies that encroach on their territory. Additionally transporting animals could spread disease, like whirling disease. Introducing a beaver could also impact adjacent properties.