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Humane Backyard

Decorating Do's and Don'ts

Kind News magazine, Dec 2016/Jan 2017

  • Keep the safety of wildlife in mind when hanging outdoor lights and decorations. Photo: UrosPoteko/iStock photo

Whether it's to celebrate holidays or just to brighten a long winter night, many folks string up outdoor lights at this time of year. Although they're beautiful to look at, lights and other decorations can be a hazard to wildlife. It might not happen to Rudolph, but other deer and animals can get tangled in strings of lights. Folllow these safety tips when hanging outdoor decorations:

  • Avoid stringing lights across open areas where animals may run into them. Tie strips of fabric along the strings of lights. That way, animals can see where the wire is and avoid it.
  • Use short strands of lights instead of one long string. It's easier for an animal to free himself from a short string of lights rather than one long one.
  • If you see an animal tangled in lights or other objects, call your local animal control agency, state wildlife office or a wildlife rehabilitator.

Window snow

Get snipping and create some paper snowflakes! Paper snowflakes are a nice decoration and they can help keep birds from flying into windows. Place your snowflakes about 4 inches apart on windows.


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