Terms Used in Wildlife Damage Management

Active ingredient   The chemical compound that affects an organism’s behavior or biology.
Acute toxicant   A chemical that can cause severe illness or death with one feeding.
Aesthetically acceptable death   No bleeding, moving, or distress associated with death.
Agent   A person who acts on behalf of another, usually paid or compensated for his or her services; OR an organism or entity that causes disease (bacterium, virus, fungus).
American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)   A professional group that distributes information on veterinary medicine and policies about the care of domestic, companion, farm, and zoo animals.
Animal handling   The treatment of wildlife while under the direct control of a person.
Animals slaughtered for food   Livestock (e.g., cattle, sheep, and pigs).
Anticoagulant  A toxicant that kills an animal by interfering with clotting of the blood (warfarin, diphacinone).
Avicide   A pesticide used to control birds.
Bait   Food-based materials that animals find attractive to eat.
Baited set   A trap set with food or lures to attract a target animal into the set.
Banger (bird bombs)   An explosive cartridge that makes a loud bang to repel birds.
Barbiturate   A group of drugs that sedate and can kill animals.
Best management practice (BMP)   An effective method for solving a human-wildlife conflict that also minimizes risks to the environment and human health and well-being.
Biological Carrying Capacity (BCC)   The maximum number of individuals of a given population that an environment can sustain. The population level at which the environment is damaged is the ecological carrying capacity and is a much lower density than BCC.
Biological control   The use of living organisms (disease agents and parasites) or natural processes (e.g., fertility control) to manage wildlife damage.
Bird bomb   See “Banger.”
Bird spikes   Mechanical devices with sharp projections intended to repel birds from landing on surfaces such as building ledges.
Blind set   A trap placed without bait in an area where a target animal is likely to travel.
Body-gripping trap   Any trap designed to catch and subsequently kill an animal with a blow to the back of the neck through snapping the spine.
Box trap   A trap made of solid material (often plastic or metal) that captures an animal entirely within the trap.
Cable-restraint   A trap similar to a snare but used in a manner so that the captured animal will not die.
Cage trap   A trap made from wire mesh that captures an animal entirely within the trap.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) chamber   An enclosed space into which CO2 gas is added at a controlled rate to euthanize an animal.
Carnivore   An animal that primarily eats meat.
Catch pole (snare pole)   A device with an adjustable loop of cable used to capture and restrain an animal.
Cervical dislocation   A form of euthanasia in which the cervical vertebrae are separated and spinal cord disrupted.
Chronic toxicant   A chemical that requires multiple feedings before causing severe illness or death.
Companion animals   Animals that are pets (e.g., cats, dogs, ferrets, etc.).
Cone guard   A sheet of metal that protects birdfeeders and nest boxes on poles from climbing predators.
Copulation   The act of sexual intercourse.
Cracker   See “Shell cracker.”
Cultural carrying capacity (CCC)   The number of animals that a human or human community will tolerate in a given area. Also called social carrying capacity.
Damper   The metal plate that controls the size of the opening between a fireplace and chimney.
Decapitation   A form of euthanasia in which the head is quickly cut from the body, primarily used for birds that are too large for cervical dislocation and sometimes for snakes.
Depredation permit   A permit issued by state and federal government wildlife agencies that allows the use of approved wildlife control techniques on protected wildlife or game species.
Direct capture   The technique of obtaining control of an animal without the use of traps.
Diurnal   Active during daylight hours.
Distress   Pain or suffering. Distress implies external and usually temporary physical or mental strain and stress.
Droppings   See “Feces” and “Scat.”
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)   The federal agency responsible for licensing individuals that use controlled animal drugs such as barbiturates.
Ectoparasite   A parasite that lives outside the body of its host.
Edge   The zone between 2 or more adjacent habitats.
Effigy   A dummy or representation of a person or animal (scarecrow) intended to frighten or repel pest birds.
Endoparasite   A parasite that lives inside the body of its host.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)    A federal agency that establishes and enforces rules to protect the environment. It also regulates pesticide labels, registration, and certification.
Ethics   A system of moral principles that guides a person’s decisions and actions.
Euthanasia   A humane method of killing that provides as painless a death as possible by causing rapid unconsciousness and rapid death. A “good death” that occurs with a minimum of pain and distress.
Euthanize   To humanely kill a living thing.
Exclusion   Techniques and products that prevent wildlife from entering an area.
Exclusion Barrier   A device that keeps a pest out of an area.
Exsanguination   A form of euthanasia, known as “bleeding out,” that entails the cutting of major blood vessels to rapidly drain blood from an animal.
Feces   Solid waste eliminated through the digestive system of an animal.
Feral   An individual of a domesticated species that lives and behaves as a wild animal.
Firearm   A device that fires a projectile, using an explosive charge, force of spring, air, or other gas as a propellant. Includes shotguns, rifles, hand guns, and air rifles.
Flashing – A thin, flat sheet of metal.
Foothold trap   Refers to a variety of traps that restrain animals by holding the foot. They may be used for live capture or as part of a lethal trap set.
Fossorial   An animal that burrows underground.
Frightening device   Typically a non-chemical tool designed to cause animals to avoid areas through the use of fear.
Fumigant   A toxicant that is inhaled by a target species. Fumigants are often used to eradicate animals that live in burrows.
Fur production animals   Animals raised in captivity (e.g., minks) to produce fur.
Furbearers   Free-ranging wild animals (ex. raccoons) whose fur is used for clothing.
Game species   Wildlife that may be hunted, trapped, or fished in appropriate seasons.
Gestation   The length of a pregnancy or the amount of time it takes from conception until birth.
General Use Pesticides (GUP)   Relatively low-risk chemicals that are regulated by the EPA whose use does not require a license and are sold over-the-counter.
Habitat   An area that provides an animal its home and its food, water, and shelter.
Habitat modification   Changing the habitat of an animal to limit its access to food, water, or shelter. This will sometimes cause an animal to lose interest in a particular site.
Hardware cloth. A heavy, finely woven metal mesh; galvanized screen.
Herbivore   An animal that primarily eats vegetation.
Hibernaculum   Site where snakes hibernate during the winter.
Home range   The area in which an animal lives, eats, and breeds throughout its life.
Host   An organism that sustains a parasite or a disease agent and is negatively affected.
Humane   A practice or product that causes no unnecessary pain or stress for an animal. Compassionate, empathetic, or considerate treatment of animals
Hunting   Pursuing, shooting, killing, or capturing wildlife.
Hypoxemia   A condition that blocks the blood’s ability to take up oxygen.
Hypoxia   A condition that occurs when body tissues lack oxygen.
Incendiary   Something that can be activated by flame; causing or capable of causing fire.
Integrated pest management (IPM)   An environmentally responsible approach to pest management that involves the timely use of a variety of cost-effective methods to reduce damage to a tolerable level.
Integrated wildlife damage management (IWDM)   A strategy for solving conflicts between humans and wildlife while reducing risks to people and wildlife without long-term harm to the environment.
Lethal   Causing death.
Lethal blow   A blow to the head of a captured animal that is used to render unconsciousness and a humane death.
Live trap   A trap that is designed to capture an animal without killing it.
Louver   A framed ventilation opening that is covered with horizontal slats, usually located in an attic wall.
Lure   Typically an odorous liquid used to attract animals to a trap set.
Mal-occurrence   A negative event that happens unexpectedly through no fault of the NWCO.
Microtine   A family of small mammals belonging to the subfamily Microtinae that includes lemmings, voles, and muskrats.
Migration   The movement of animals from one area to another and back.
Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)   The federal law that protects all species of birds that migrate and are not feral, exotic, or state resident game species.
Mistake   Sloppy work, carelessness, or insufficient knowledge that results in a negative event.
Nestling   A young bird that is in the nest under the care of its parents or other adults.
Niche   The role that an animal plays in its environment.
Nocturnal   Active during the night.
Non-anticoagulant   A toxicant that kills animals by means other than interfering with clotting of the blood.
Non-game species   Wildlife that are protected and not hunted, trapped, or harvested in any way.
Non-target animal   An individual or species that is not sought after in a wildlife control process.
Nose-burn   The loss of skin on the nose of an animal, typically through the constant pushing of its snout through the wire of a cage trap.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)   A federal agency that provides rules for worker safety, investigates complaints, and enforces compliance.
Omnivore   An animal that eats plant, animal, and other materials.
Opportunist   An animal that is adaptive and takes advantage of many things in its environment for food, water, and shelter.
Ordinance   Rule established by local or municipal governments.
Parasite   An organism that feeds on another organism (the host) and is detrimental to the host.
Pesticide   Any substance designed to prevent, destroy, repel, or mitigate any pest.
Porcupine wire   See “Bird spikes.”
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)  Gear worn to protect people from pesticides, contaminants, and mechanical injury (boots, gloves, goggles, respirators).
Pre-bait   A nontoxic food used to train an animal to feed on a certain food in a certain location.
Pre-baiting   The placement of food to condition birds or mammals to eat a specific bait at a particular location.
Predation   The capturing of prey as a means of feeding and maintaining life.
Predator   An animal that obtains nourishment by killing and eating other animals.
Professionalism   throughout a NWCOs working life, the NWCO improves his or her knowledge, skills, wisdom, and conduct.
Propane cannon   A mechanical device that makes a loud explosion by igniting a small amount of propane to repel birds.
Prophylaxis   To try to prevent something from happening. Usually, a treatment that protects someone from disease, such as a vaccine.
Pyrotechnics   Frightening devices that use explosive charges similar to fireworks, such as screamers, bangers, and shell crackers.
Regulation   Rules created by agencies that interpret and apply statutes.
Relocation   Moving an animal from the site of capture and releasing it at another location within its home range.
Repellents   Chemicals used to cause animals to avoid a given location. They can be oral, olfactory, or tactile.
Reservoir   Organisms that sustain disease agents, but are not negatively affected.
Restricted Use Pesticides (RUP)   Designated so by the EPA, these pesticides have the potential to cause harm to people or the environment unless used with extreme care. RUPs are limited to use by certified pesticide applicators or to people under the supervision of a certified applicator.
Rodenticide   A pesticide used to control rodents.
Scat   See “Feces.”
Scavenger   An animal that obtains its nourishment by eating dead and decaying animals.
Scheduled drugs   Animal drugs regulated by the DEA. Only licensed veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and some government agency personnel working under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian may possess and administer scheduled drugs.
Screamer   A pyrotechnic device that makes a long, drawn out whistle to repel birds.
Set   The location and positioning of a trap, bait, and lure (if any) to capture an animal.
Shell cracker (cracker)   A pyrotechnic device propelled from a shotgun that explodes to repel birds.
Sill plate   The structure on the top of a foundation wall that connects to a house wall.
Smoke shelf   The flat area inside a chimney behind the damper.
Snare   A trap consisting of a woven wire cable that when tightened around the neck of an animal causes death.
Social carrying capacity (SCC)   The number of animals that a human or human community will tolerate in a given area. Also called Cultural carrying capacity.
Soffit   The framed in and covered section of a building beneath the eaves.
Species-specific trap   A trap designed to reduce non-target captures.
Statute   A law created by an act of the state legislature or US congress.
Stunning   Delivery of a “blow to the head” of a captured animal to render it unconscious so another killing method can be used safely. Stunning may be intended as the primary killing method, in which case it is usually referred to as a “lethal blow.”
Suffering   A highly unpleasant emotional or physical response. Suffering implies conscious endurance of pain or distress.
Taking/take   Pursuing, shooting, hunting, killing, capturing, trapping, snaring, and netting wildlife and all lesser acts such as disturbing, harrying, or worrying; or placing, setting, drawing, or using any net or other device commonly used to take any such animal.
Target animal   The specific individual or species that is sought after in a wildlife control process.
Territory   An exclusive area that often is vigorously defended by an animal for a certain time.
Toxic bait   An edible substance containing a pesticide used to frighten or control pests.
Toxicant   A lethal substance such as the active ingredient in a pesticide.
Tragus   In bats, the appendage at the base of the ear, useful in identifying different species.
Translocation   Movement of an animal from a site of capture and release in a location outside its home range.
Trapping   Taking, killing, and capturing wildlife with traps, deadfalls, and other devices commonly used to take wildlife.
Vaccination   Introduction of a disease agent (typically a modified virus) to stimulate an immunological response and produce antibodies that will help to ward off illness caused by the disease agent. 
Vector   An organism that carries and transmits a disease agent to an animal.
Weaning   The period when a mammal transitions from feeding on its mother’s milk to consuming solid food.
Wildlife   Wild, free-ranging populations of animals.
Wildlife Damage Management (WDM)   The process of dealing with vertebrates that cause damage, threaten health and safety, and cause a nuisance.
Zoonotic   Diseases originating from wildlife that can be transmitted to humans.