What Are the Different Types of Animal Repellents?

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  • Written By: Cindy Quarters
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2019
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Humans and animals have a long association, sometimes to their mutual benefit, and sometimes not. Many times animals can become a problem, and while there are various ways to deal with troublesome animals, the use of animal repellents is typically effective and does not necessarily require that a person be physically present for the repellent to work. Some of the different types of animal repellents are chemical sprays, ultrasonic devices, visual items, and exclusionary devices.

Chemical sprays that act as animal repellents come in two basic types. The first type has an odor that the animal doesn’t like, causing it to make an effort to avoid the area that has been sprayed. Typically sold for both indoor and outdoor use, it can be used to keep pets off of furniture, dogs away from bushes, or cats out of the garden. Some products sold to repel animals such as squirrels or deer may smell like a predator’s urine and cause the pest to leave the area to avoid being killed by the predator it thinks is there.


The other main category of animal repellents is used in emergency situations, such as to chase off an attacking dog or other threatening animal. This type of repellent is usually a pepper spray that is blasted directly into the animal’s face in order to stop it from chasing or attacking someone, and will cause the animal to stop long enough for the person to get away. A homemade version of this can be made from an ammonia solution put into a squirt bottle or water pistol, but it must be sprayed into the animal’s eyes to be effective.

Ultrasonic devices are sold that promise to create a high-pitched noise that will drive mice and insects out of a home. Some devices claim to use the household wiring as part of the system, while others depend entirely on the device itself to create the offending sounds. These animal repellents seem to have mixed reviews as to whether they work or not.

Humans have long used visual animal repellents in their gardens and fields in the form of scarecrows, stuffed human figures that are intended to trick the animals, especially birds, into thinking that a person is present. Plastic birds and flashing mirrors are also used to frighten away birds, rabbits, and deer, along with fluttering ribbons and spinning windmills. The light and motion seems to have more of an effect on animals than do the stationary objects.

Exclusionary devices work as animal repellents by physically blocking the animals’ access to an area, forcing them to go elsewhere. A common example of this is bird spikes, which are rows of sharp spikes that are placed on building ledges, the tops of large signs, and windowsills. When the birds try to rest they can’t find a comfortable place, so they end up leaving the area completely to seek a more suitable environment.


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