The Township of East Brunswick is unable to provide services for healthy residential wildlife control. The capture of nuisance wildlife (i.e., healthy appearing raccoons not threatening humans, fox dens, wildlife in attics, groundhogs burrowing in yards, etc.) is a service required for Animal Control to provide. These problems can best be solved by contacting a private residential wildlife control company.
Many people encounter what appear to be sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife. The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife urges New Jersey residents to leave young wildlife undisturbed. Every year, especially during the spring and early summer, the lives of many young animals are disrupted. Well-intentioned people may attempt to 'save' these animals, and more often than not, the mother is nearby. For information on Animal Rescue, please read the article "How to Know When an Animal Needs to be Rescued."
Animal Control will only respond to sick or injured wildlife posing a public safety or health threat. If the wildlife is passing through or is located under your shed or porch without showing signs of injury, illness, or aggression, there is no need to call Animal Control.
If an animal is acting unusual, appears to be sick/injured, or is threatening you, please contact Animal Control immediately at 732-390-6960. If it is an emergency, contact the East Brunswick Police Department by dialing 9-1-1.
All West Nile Virus, Bird Flu, or Lyme Disease concerns should be directed to the Health Department of Middlesex County at 732-745-3100.
New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife
The Division of Fish and Wildlife is responsible for all wildlife in New Jersey. Management of both game and non-game species includes the common goals of protecting and managing habitats and wildlife populations and maintaining wildlife diversity.
Call the 24/7 toll-free DEP Action Line (877-WARN-DEP / 877-927-6337) to report fish kills, wildlife disease or toxicity events, bear property damage or problems, environmental complaints, violations, spills, discharges, venomous snakes, and emergencies.
For additional wildlife resources, visit the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife webpage.
Stray and free-roaming cats are a part of the everyday landscape in cities and towns nationwide. Some of the cats you see strolling about are owned pets. Others are strays that may have been left behind by an owner that moved or are lost pets. When these stray or lost pets reproduce their offspring may grow into adulthood, never having had human contact. These undomesticated offspring may act completely feral. Use care when approaching what appears to be a feral cat. Even a domesticated cat when cornered and reacting out of fear, may bite and scratch.
In New Jersey, cats are the third highest species of animal to encounter rabies. This is largely due to the number of stray unvaccinated cats that are found throughout New Jersey.
Feeding Stray Cats
Many people feed stray and free-roaming cats that they encounter in their neighborhood, in their yards, or at their workplaces. Often a strong bond is created between the feeder and the cat or group of cats. If this is the case, there are two very important issues that must be addressed:
- Are the cats creating a nuisance in the neighborhood or area?
- Has the feeder spayed or neutered those stray cats that are being fed?
These two elements are often intertwined. A few unaltered cats will reproduce at an alarming rate and then become a nuisance. For this reason, we strongly recommend not feeding stray cats. Please, don’t let the cats multiply and become a nuisance.
There are two species of foxes found in New Jersey:
- The Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
- The Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)
Both species are present throughout the state. Both are classified as game species and are valuable furbearers, and have both hunting and trapping seasons.
Management of Fox Problems
Problems associated with foxes include depredation on domestic animals, perceptions of danger to humans (healthy foxes pose virtually no danger to humans), and their potential to carry disease organisms. Foxes will prey on small livestock such as ducks, chickens, rabbits, and young lambs, but generally do not bother larger livestock. Cats may also be preyed on. Foxes often carry their prey to a secluded area or their den where it is eaten by the adults and young.
Livestock can be protected from foxes by secure pens, coops, or fencing. Most predation occurs at night so it is particularly important to provide protection at that time. Foxes will dig or squeeze under poorly maintained fences and may climb over small fences. Some electric fence designs can provide good protection. Outdoor dogs may also keep foxes away. Potential food sources, such as pet food, meat scraps on compost piles, and fruit below fruit trees should be eliminated. Dead livestock should be properly disposed.
Many of the methods used to protect livestock can also be used to protect pets. Pets are often easier to protect because they can be kept indoors at night and can be supervised while outdoors by their owners. Human presence is often a deterrent to foxes. Foxes that travel into residential yards should be harassed or scared with loud noises to prevent them from becoming habituated. During the spring, disturbing a den site physically or with unnatural odors (or a natural deterrent, such as coyote urine) may prompt foxes to move to an attractive den which may be farther from yards and houses.
Foxes, especially red foxes, commonly live in close association with human residences and communities. They frequently inhabit yards, parks, and golf courses, especially areas that adjoin suitable, undeveloped habitat. Healthy foxes pose virtually no danger to humans. Foxes can grow accustomed to human activity but are seldom aggressive toward people. Expanding housing development, particularly in historically rural areas, increases the chances of interactions between humans and foxes, as well as other wildlife.
Many homeowners do not realize that their lawn may be a more attractive habitat to foxes than surrounding mature forest. Eliminating healthy foxes is not warranted based solely on human safety concerns. People uncomfortable with the presence of foxes should remove attractants, exclude foxes with fencing and employ scaring techniques. In many cases, homeowner’s perceptions of problems are unfounded and in some cases, the mere presence of a fox is perceived as a problem.
Foxes can carry the organisms responsible for several contagious diseases such as mange, distemper and rabies. Animals that appear sick or that are acting abnormally should be avoided. The following symptoms may indicate the presence of rabies or other neurological diseases in mammals: unprovoked aggression, impaired movement, paralysis or lack of coordination, unusually friendly behavior and disorientation.
The coyote is a wild member of the dog family. This resourceful mammal has expanded its range significantly in the recent past, colonizing the entire Northeast and now found throughout New Jersey. The coyote was never introduced or stocked in New Jersey, but has firmly established itself in the East Brunswick area through its extremely adaptable nature.
Never feed a coyote. Deliberately feeding coyotes puts pets and other residents in the neighborhood at risk. Feeding pet cats and/or feral (wild) cats outdoors can attract coyotes. The coyotes feed on the pet food and also prey upon the cats. Put garbage in tightly closed containers that cannot be tipped over. Remove sources of water, especially in dry climates. Bring pets in at night. Put away bird feeders at night to avoid attracting rodents and other coyote prey. Provide secure enclosures for rabbits, poultry, and other farm animals. Pick up fallen fruit and cover compost piles. Although extremely rare, coyotes have been known to attack humans. Parents should monitor their children, even in familiar surroundings, such as backyards. Install motion-sensitive lighting around the house. Clear brush and dense weeds from around dwellings – this reduces protective cover for coyotes and makes the area less attractive to rodents and rabbits. Coyotes, as well as other predators, are attracted to areas where rodents are concentrated, like woodpiles. If coyotes are present, make sure they know they’re not welcome. Make loud noises, blast a canned air siren, throw rocks, or spray them with a garden hose.
Once a rare sight, these days it’s not uncommon to see a flock of wild turkeys in residential neighborhoods. Drawn into urban and suburban areas looking for food and mates, wild turkeys are loved by some but may be a nuisance or source of fear for others.
In suburban areas, turkeys not subject to hunting pressure may appear tame and may be more prone to inflict damage to golf courses, gardens, and lawns. Sometimes during the spring breeding season, turkeys in suburban areas are reported pecking at cars and chasing or otherwise intimidating people. Large, shiny objects such as cars or windows may prompt aggressive behavior by males during the breeding season.
5 Ways to Solve Wild Turkey Problems
1. Don’t feed wild turkeys
Most conflicts with turkeys occur in areas where they’re being fed by people. The first step towards resolving conflicts with turkeys is to eliminate sources of food such as direct handouts from people, unsecured garbage, and spilled bird seed. You may consider removing bird feeders (especially in the spring and summer) until the turkeys move on. Remember to also talk to your neighbors to ensure that they are not feeding turkeys either!
It’s easy to scare turkeys away by making noises, popping open an umbrella, throwing tennis balls, or dousing the turkey with water from a hose or squirt gun.
2. Scare away problem turkeys
Wild turkeys have a “pecking order” of dominance and may view people or pets who act fearful as underlings, chasing them or blocking the entrance to homes or cars. If a wild turkey (or a flock of turkeys) has invaded your yard, driveway, or neighborhood, it’s important that you establish your dominance by hazing the turkey(s). It’s easy to scare turkeys away by making noises (try waving your arms and yelling or blowing a whistle), popping open an umbrella, throwing tennis balls, or dousing the turkey with water from a hose or squirt gun. A leashed dog may also be effective in scaring a turkey away.
It’s important that all members of your family (including children and the elderly) exhibit their dominance over your neighborhood turkeys through hazing in order to have the desired effect. Although wild turkeys may look large and intimidating, they are usually timid and scare easily.
During mating season (February-May), male turkeys may venture into neighborhoods looking for females to mate with. They may respond aggressively to reflective surfaces (such as windows, automobile mirrors, or polished car doors), thinking that their reflection is an intruding male turkey. In this case, haze the turkey away and then temporarily cover the reflective surface if possible.
3. Encourage roosting turkeys to move elsewhere
Wild turkeys usually roost in trees, but in urban areas they are also known to roost on roofs or on decks. The good news is that wild turkeys are cautious birds that are pretty easy to scare away. To break up turkey roosts on decks or roofs, making loud noises or spraying them with a water hose is usually all that’s needed, although sometimes a follow-up treatment might be necessary. You may also use motion-activated devices (such as a Scarecrow Motion-Activated Sprinkler, which will scare turkeys away with a sharp burst of water) or anti-perching devices (such as Birdwire or another type of wire installation that limits or prevents perching on your roof).
4. Protect your garden from turkeys
Most of the crop and garden damage blamed on wild turkeys is actually caused by other animals (such as raccoons, groundhogs, foxes, deer, or squirrels). Still, you can keep wild turkeys from feasting on your garden or shrubs by using a motion-activated scare device (such as a Scarecrow Motion-Activated Sprinkler) or by protecting plants and vegetables with hardware cloth.
5. Watch out for turkeys on the road
Wild turkeys sometimes forage along the road, so watch for these feathered pedestrians crossing the road without checking for cars. And look carefully for stragglers as these birds travel in groups.
Black bears are the largest land mammal in New Jersey. They are an integral part of the state’s natural heritage and a vital component of healthy ecosystems.
Since the 1980s, the Garden State’s black bear population has been increasing and expanding its range both southward and eastward from the forested areas of northwestern New Jersey. Within the most densely populated state in the nation, black bears are thriving and there are now confirmed bear sightings in all 21 of New Jersey’s counties.
The DEP’s Fish and Wildlife personnel use an integrated approach in managing New Jersey’s black bear population, fostering coexistence between people and bears.
Avoid Attracting Bears
Black bears are attracted by odors from potential food sources created by people. Carefully controlling these sources of food and associated odors can help prevent black bears from being attracted to people’s property and teaching them to associate people with food.
Human garbage is attractive to black bears. When bears get into people’s garbage, they may be encouraged to return to the location because of the food reward. Bears that associate people with food may have to be trapped or destroyed. Be a good neighbor by following these tips.
- Use certified bear-resistant garbage containers and keep the container outdoors if you live in an area frequented by black bears. Certified bear-resistant trash containers have passed a formal testing procedure and are proven to keep bears out. Certified containers offer the best protection.
- If not using certified containers, store all garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids and place them within a secure location where bears are unlikely to see or smell them. For example, leave garbage containers in your basement until morning of garbage collection. Note: Occasionally, bears have tried to enter buildings in search of food, so use caution.
- Wash trash containers with a disinfectant solution at least once a week to eliminate odors. Examples of disinfectant solution include hot water and chlorine bleach or ammonia.
- Put out garbage on collection day, not the night before.
- Use certified bear-resistant community dumpsters in housing developments and gated communities.
- Store recycling containers in a secure building and only put them outdoors on the day of pick up. Empty recyclables, like beverage cans, bottles and food containers can attract bears.
- Garbage containers or dumpsters may be stored within BearResistant Dumpster Enclosures (BRDEs). These are fully enclosed structure consisting of four sides (i.e. solid panels or cyclone fencing,) eight feet high, and with a top of sufficient design (i.e. barbed wire or roof) constructed to prevent access by black bears.
For additional information on coexisting with bears, visit the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife website.