Wildlife in Residential California: A Guide to Common Species

raccoon in a tree

Here in California, we are blessed with an abundance of wildlife. But as humans continue to expand into the territories of California wildlife, we start to encounter them more. Some animals are great to observe up close while others are beautiful but dangerous. As homeowners, we have to be aware that we are sharing this land with animals that were here before us. Finding a harmonious balance to live together is great, but it is important to know about the most common wildlife in California. 

Common Wildlife Found in California

Here is a list of some of the common types of wildlife you will encounter in California: 


Raccoons are notorious for eating just about anything. They dine on fruit, berries, eggs, poultry, vegetables, fish, insects, rodents, carrion, pet food, and of course – garbage. In an urban setting, raccoons make their dens in hollow trees, drain pipes, under decks, brush piles, and attics. Raccoons are known carriers of:

  • Rabies
  • Canine distemper
  • Encephalitis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Roundworms 
  • Mange 

Raccoons are also hosts to fleas, ticks, lice, and mites which are known transmitters of disease. Be sure to keep lids on your trash cans and make sure there are no points of entry into your attic. 


Opossums are unique because they are the only marsupials in North America. Opossums are omnivores which means they eat just about anything including fruits, vegetables, nuts, meat, eggs, insects, carrion, pet food, and garbage. They are found all over the country from woodlands to urban settings. In urban areas, they make their homes in attics, garages, chimneys, woodpiles, chicken coops, under houses or decks, or any sheltered area. They can become a problem when they move into homes where they can cause offensive odors and damage by chewing up insulation and electrical wires. They may also attack curious pets or expose them to diseases. 


Skunks are another animal that prefers to hunt at night. They feed on insects, small rodents, carrion, poultry, eggs, nestling birds, fruit, pet food, and garbage. Skunks will make their homes in pretty much any place they can fit including wood piles, animal burrows, culverts, under houses, decks, and sheds. It’s when they make their dens near our homes that they become a problem. Since these animals are nocturnal and shy, we rarely encounter them but we do encounter their pungent odor which they release in self-defense. These odors can become a nuisance when it occurs nightly or worse, your pet gets sprayed. If you are having a problem with skunks you should hire a professional to remove them safely.  

What Happens To The Wildlife in California Wildfire

Wildfires in California have become more prevalent in recent years costing billions of dollars in damage. But humans aren’t the only ones who lose their homes during a fire. Many animals will flee during a wildfire event but many animals like reptiles and amphibians will shelter in burrows or under rocks. Many animals are not able to escape due to man-made impediments like walls and fences. 

During a fire, food sources are destroyed and water is contaminated, leaving animals with no choice but to move to a new location. When large numbers of animals move into a new place they can drastically alter the ecosystem. Territorial disputes and limited resources can put additional stress on wildlife. 

How To Prevent Wildlife From Coming In My Backyard

As more people move to California and encroach upon animals’ home ranges, encounters are expected to increase. If you live in an area with abundant wildlife activity and are in the presence of animals like raccoons and possums, here are some things you can do to keep them away from your home and yard: 

  • Don't Feed Them: By feeding wildlife in your yards, such as deer, raccoons, or other animals, you will also attract mountain lions, which prey upon them.
  • Trim Back Brush: Remove dense and low-lying plants and branches that can provide hiding places for animals. 
  • Install Outdoor Lighting: Motion sensor lights can keep some animals away. 

Call The Wildlife Control Experts in Redding

We all love enjoying California wildlife from a distance. But sometimes animals get a little too close for comfort and become a threat to us and themselves. If you are having concerns with local wildlife on your Redding property, then call the professionals at Big Time Pest Control. With wildlife control, we can bait, trap, and remove animals in a safe and humane way. We can even help you protect your home so wild animals stay away from your property. Contact our experts today! 

Get a Free Estimate

Contact Info
What services are you interested in?
By submitting this form, you are agreeing to the privacy policy.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.