Salem Police Department

Proud to be accredited by MPAC.

95 Margin Street, Salem, MA 01970 •  Request for Police 978-744-1212 •  Business 978-744-0171 •  In an Emergency, ALWAYS DIAL 911

Safely Dealing with Wildlife Animals

Coyotes, Foxes, Raccoons, Skunks and Other Wild Animals


Salem has seen a marked increase in the population of wildlife animals such as coyotes, foxes and other animals in areas of the city. There is a fine balance when living with wild animals. As nature and mankind merge, both are faced with new and sometimes frightening challenges. One might think the solution is to capture and move the wild animal. But capturing a wild animal and releasing it in another area is prohibited by Massachusetts law. Rabies in raccoons is spreading throughout the eastern United States. Moving animals from one area to another may spread this or other diseases to new areas. We hope the information and resources shown here will help you when dealing with wildlife animals.

Living With Wildlife in Your Neighborhood

Here in Massachusetts there are many kinds of wildlife that thrive by living near people. Most of these are relatively common animals such as skunks, raccoons, gray fox, red fox, coyotes, wild turkey, black bear, fishers and more...

These animals are often attracted to human dominated landscapes because they are highly adaptable, opportunistic feeders that are energy efficient. By highly adaptable we mean that they can easily adjust to changes in their environment. Opportunistic feeders are animals that are generalists, eating a variety of plant and animal material including food often left out by people. These animals are energy efficient in that when given the choice between a meal that has to be chased or one that is easily found in a backyard, they will always pick the easy meal. Everything these animals do is related to food availability.

Preventing Conflicts--Keep Wild Things Wild!

Here are some simple rules for living with the wildlife that is found or attracted to areas near people. These tips explain how to live with and enjoy wildlife responsibly. Our behavior as people affects the behavior of wildlife.

Don't Feed The Wildlife!

Direct feeding can alter an animal's normal behavior. Problems occur when animals become habituated (used to people) through a prolonged period of direct and/or indirect feeding.

Keep Trash And Garbage Around Your Yard Contained And Picked Up

Do not put your trash out for pick up the next day unless it is in a sealed container that wildlife cannot get into as many wildlife species are most active at night.

Keep Compost In A Container

It allows the material to vent but keeps wildlife from getting into it.

Do Not Feed Pets Outdoors

The pet food attracts wildlife right to your door.

Restrain or Secure Your Pets

Although free roaming pets are more likely to be killed by automobiles than by wild animals, there are wildlife predators like coyotes, foxes or fishers that view cats as potential prey and dogs as competition for mates and food resources. For the safety of your pets, keep them restrained at all times.

Remove Bird Feeders

Especially if wildlife is seen around the feeders. The seed in birdfeeders can attract many small and medium sized mammals (squirrels, chipmunks, mice) these, in turn attract animals that prey on squirrels, chipmunks, and mice. If possible, try to find a birdfeeder that does not allow seed to spill.

Close Off Crawl Spaces Under Porches, Decks And Sheds

Wildlife will use these areas as dens for resting and raising their young.

Do Protect Livestock And Produce

Wildlife predators will prey upon livestock. There are techniques for protecting livestock from predation. Fencing can be useful in keeping wildlife out of certain areas. It is a good idea to clear fallen fruit from around fruit trees in the fall.

Don't Approach Or Try To Touch Wildlife

Wildlife which becomes habituated may approach other humans expecting food or attention. This is not safe for the animals or for people. Don't provoke an encounter by moving too close to a wild animal or by restricting its free movement.

Do Educate Your Neighbors

Share this information with your neighbors since your good efforts could be futile if neighbors are purposely or unintentionally providing food or shelter for wildlife.

Links and Printable Materials

Division of Fisheries & Wildlife Website

Wildlife Fliers & Links

Animal Control Contact Information

Salem Police Department 95 Margin Street, Salem, MA 01970 •  Request for Police 978-744-1212 •  Business 978-744-0171 •  In an Emergency, ALWAYS DIAL 911