Attracting Small Mammals

Chipmunk: William Greenawalt

The best wildlife gardens provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife including small mammals. Small mammals such as squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, opossums, and foxes play an important role in the garden ecosystem.

Ways to Attract Small Mammals

  • Create brush shelters out of logs and branches to create a shelter for a variety of small mammals and other species.
  • Leave dead trees, also called snags, in place. Snags provide small mammals and other animal species with a cover, a place to raise young, as well as attract food sources such as insects, fungi, and lichens.
  • Provide a water source for small mammals to drink and clean themselves. A small water dish, bird bath, or small pond will all benefit small mammals.

Benefits of Small Mammals in your Habitat Garden

  • The presence of small mammal is an indicator of a healthy ecosystem
  • A balanced and healthy ecosystem keeps insect populations under control.
  • Small mammals provide food for larger predators such as hawks, owls, and foxes
    • If predators are showing up in your garden it means you have a successful habitat garden!
    • Don’t think of predators as bad. Predation is natural, predators need to eat and raise their young too!
    • Predators also keep populations of smaller animals balanced.
  • Small mammals are fun to watch and have around!

Nuisance Wildlife
Some small mammals can become a nuisance in the garden. It’s okay to try to deter certain kinds of wildlife. Keep in mind, however, that the majority of wildlife conflicts can be solved with simple changes on our part, such as:

  • Never feed mammals
  • Store trash and pet food outdoors
  • Don’t put trash out until morning
  • Add predator guards to bird boxes and feeders
  • Be sure to critter-proof your house (seal attics, basements and crawlspaces, put screens in windows, etc.)

Does your garden have all the elements to become a Certified Wildlife Habitat®? Certify today! 



Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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