How To Repel Animals in the Garden


You're not the only one who enjoys juicy tomatoes, sweet corn and the other fresh vegetables in your backyard garden. Wildlife critters like rats, mice and rabbits can also find your veggies irresistible. Instead of resorting to lethal measures such as poisons and traps, repel animals using various earth-friendly techniques and garden maintenance strategies.

Step 1

Clear away empty pots, stands of dense vegetation and grass, scrap lumber and debris that's in and around your garden plot. Such places tend to attract animals like rats and mice who use it as habitats or strategic hiding areas while they're scavenging for food. Maintaining a wide, open space around your garden will deter such critters.

Step 2

Treat your plants with a homemade repellent spray. Boil a couple heads of garlic for 10 minutes in a quart of water. Pour the garlic-infused water into a bottle and add 2 tbsp. of liquid dish soap. Spray your garden vegetables. The soap kills and deters insect pests, while the garlic smell repels both rabbits and deer, according to Care2.

Step 3

Scatter animal repellent pellets on the perimeter of your garden. Such pellets can be obtained from some nurseries, general retailers and hunting shops. The pellets are typically made of the urine of bobcats or similar large predators, and scare away animals by tricking them into thinking they are in danger.

Step 4

Hang strips of foil, CDs or other flashy objects from your garden shrubs or in the trees surrounding your garden. The flashing movement deters birds. Setting up a fake owl, available at many nurseries, can also repel other birds. If you go that route, move the fake owl's location often or else the birds will get used to it and will no longer be afraid.

Step 5

Turn on an ultrasonic animal repellent device. These gadgets emit a piercing noise that's imperceptible to humans but cause animals much distress. The devices can be purchased from many general retailers and garden stores and should be setup according to their labeled guidelines, since the range of efficacy varies widely by brand.

Tips and Warnings

  • Fallen, spoiled vegetables like overripe tomatoes can attract animal pests. Clean up your garden to avoid tempting the creatures.

Things You'll Need

  • Garlic
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Animal repellent pellets
  • Shiny objects (e.g. CDs or foil strips)
  • Ultrasonic animal repellent device


  • "Wildlife in the Garden, Expanded Edition: How to Live in Harmony with Deer, Raccoons, Rabbits, Crows, and Other Pesky Creatures"; Gene Logsdon; 1999
  • "Wildlife Pest Control Around Gardens And Homes"; Terrell P. Salmon; 2006
  • Care2: Garlic Spray
Keywords: repel garden animals, deter garden animals, scare away animals

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.