Active ingredient   The chemical compound that affects an organism’s behavior or biology.

Agent   An organism or entity (bacterium, virus, fungus) that causes disease.

Anticoagulant   A toxicant that kills an animal by interfering with clotting of the blood (warfarin, diphacinone).

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   The maximum number of individuals of a given population that an environment can sustain without long-term impacts to the environment.

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 by snapping the spine with a blow to the back of the neck.

Box trap   A trap made of solid material (often plastic or metal) that captures an animal entirely within the trap.

Cable-restraint   A trap consisting of a woven-wire cable that, when tightened around the neck or body of an animal, physically restrains it.

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 eats primarily 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.

Copulation   The act of sexual intercourse.

Cracker   See “shell cracker.”

Damper   The metal plate that controls the size of the opening between a fireplace and chimney to regulate air intake.

Decapitation   A form of euthanasia in which the head is cut quickly 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.

Droppings   See “feces” and “scat.”

Ectoparasite   A parasite that lives outside the body of its host.

Edge   The zone between two or more adjacent habitats.

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.

Euthanasia   A humane method of killing that provides as painless a death as possible by causing rapid unconsciousness and rapid death.

Exclusion   Techniques and products that prevent wildlife from entering 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 a spring, air, or other gas as a propellant. Includes shotguns, rifles, hand guns, and air rifles.

Foothold trap   Refers to a variety of traps that restrain an animal by holding the foot. They may be used as live or lethal traps.

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.

Game species   Wildlife that may be hunted, trapped, or fished in appropriate seasons.

Gestation   The length of a pregnancy or the amount of time between conception and birth.

General use pesticide (GUP)   A relatively low-risk chemical that is regulated by the EPA whose use does not require a license and is sold over-the-counter.

Habitat   An area that provides an animal its home and its food, water, and shelter.

Herbivore   An animal that eats primarily vegetation.

Hibernaculum   Site where snakes hibernate during the winter.

Home range   The area in which an animal lives, hunts, 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.

Hunting   Pursuing, shooting, killing, or capturing wildlife.

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 resolving conflicts between humans and wildlife while reducing risks to people and wildlife without long-term harm to the environment.

Lethal blow   A blow to the head of a captured animal which 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.

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.

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 the clotting of 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.

Noseburn   The loss of skin on the nose of an animal, typically through the constant pushing of the 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   A rule established by a local or municipal government.

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).

Positive set placement   Positioning a trap in front of a hole such that only animals exiting the hole are caught.

Predator   An animal that obtains nourishment by killing and eating other animals.

Propane cannon   A mechanical device that makes a loud explosion to repel birds by igniting a small amount of propane.

Prophylaxis   To try to prevent something from happening. Usually a treatment, such as a vaccine, that protects someone from disease.

Pyrotechnics   Frightening devices that use explosive charges similar to fireworks, such as screamers, bangers, and shell crackers.

Regulation   A rule created by an agency that interprets and applies a law or statute.

Relocation   Moving an animal from the site of capture and releasing it within its home range.

Repellents   Chemicals used to cause animals to avoid a given location due to pain, fear, touch, and conditioned aversion.

Reservoir   Organisms that sustain disease agents, but are not negatively affected.

Restricted use pesticide (RUP)   A relatively high-risk chemical that is regulated by the EPA, the use of which requires a certification or license.

Scat   See “feces.”

Scavenger   An animal that obtains its nourishment by eating dead and decaying animals.

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 board on the top of a foundation wall that connects to a house wall.

Smoke shelf   The flat area inside a chimney behind the damper.

Social carrying capacity (SCC)   The number of animals that a person or community will tolerate in a given area.

Soffit   The framed-in and covered section of a building beneath the eaves.

Species-specific trap   A trap designed to reduce capture of non-targets.

Statute   A law created by an act of the state legislature or US congress.

Stun   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.”

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.

Translocation   Movement of an animal from a site of capture and release to 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 Control Operator (WCO)   A professional who handles wildlife complaints for clients.

Wildlife damage management (WDM)   The process of dealing with vertebrates that cause damage, threaten health and safety, and cause a nuisance.

Zoonose    A disease originating from wildlife that can be transmitted to humans, also referred to as a zoonotic disease.