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NUISANCE WILDLIFE

Although wildlife is something that most people would not like to harm in general, when they come in or around someone's home or business, it is then time to do something about it. Because federal, state, and local laws generally govern what you can do to these animals, I will not be discussing methods of trapping and or exterminating here. What I will be concentrating on is:
  1. Identification
  2. Exclusion / Prevention
If you want to information about birds, check out Pestdude's BIRDS site.

IDENTIFICATION

Bats

Bats are flying mammals that can range in size from 2 inches to 7 1/2 inches from nose to tail, with wingspans ranging from 6 to 15 inches. Their color is tan to black and usually has very large ears. Bats are nocturnal (active at night) and usually inhabit dark, secluded spaces. In structures, this usually means attics. Their medical concerns revolve around rabies and histomplasmosis. Although very, very few bats have rabies, most medical associations and health departments follow the rule of thumb that if a bat is loose in a house, everyone should get rabies vaccinations. Histomplasmosis, which is more common, is associated with a fungus that grows within large amounts of droppings and becomes airborne when the dropping, and the fungal spores, become old and dry.

Bats are actually very beneficial animals. They consume large amount of insects (up to 100 mosquitoes an hour). Therefore, most states recognize that killing bats is wrong, and may in fact be illegal for some people to actually kill them. See Pestdude's WILDLIFE MANAGMENT site to see what you can do about bats.

Tree Squirrels

These animals vary from 6 to 15 inches and a tail length of 4 to 14 inches. Their colors can be white, grayish, yellowish, reddish, or brownish with the belly pale or dark. The head and body are covered with short thick fur and the tail is bushy.

Tree squirrels frequently enter structures through attics and can become destructive once they are in the building. They can destroy wiring and nest in or around stored items. See Pestdude's WILDLIFE MANAGMENT site to see what you can do about squirrels.

Deer Mice

Head and body length range from 2 3/4 to 4 inches, tail length about 2 to 5 inches, and weight about 3/8 to 1 1/4 oz. They are bicolored, pale grayish buff to deep reddish brown above and white below. The tail is always sharply bicolored, longer than half the length of the head and body combined, and covered with short fur. The deer mouse is found in the west from Mexico to the southern Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada. In the east, it is found from the Hudson Bay to Pennsylvania and south to the southern Appalachian mountains, central Arkansas, and central Texas.

These mice are normally outdoor pests but can enter, and stay, in rural, summer homes, outbuildings, and sheds. They also will enter homes during the fall looking for warmer places to overwinter. They are of a medical concern because they are carriers of the hantavirus. See Pestdude's WILDLIFE MANAGMENT site to see what you can do about deer mice.

Moles

Eastern moles, the most common, are 5 to 8 inches long with short, velvety fur that is usually gray to silvery gray. The eyes and ears are small and are usually concealed by the fur. They have pointed snouts, greatly enlarged rounded front feet with stout claws, and a short, nearly naked tail.

Moles are destructive to lawns, gardens, nurseries, parks, golf courses, and cemeteries. Their burrowing activities produce mounds and ridges that disfigure lawns and can cause damage to plants. See Pestdude's WILDLIFE MANAGMENT site to see what you can do about moles.

Raccoons

Adult raccoons vary in size from 24 to 46 inches and weigh between 12 and 25 pounds. They are easily recognizable by the dark band across their face giving a mask appearance, and their finger like claws on the feet. They normally live in rock crevices and burrows. However, they sometimes will raid garbage cans, tear up lawns, or use structures as their den locations, including attics, chimneys, porches, and crawl spaces. See Pestdude's WILDLIFE MANAGMENT site to see what you can do about raccoons.

Skunks

Two common species, the striped skunk and the spotted skunk, can cause trouble to homeowners and business owners alike. The striped skunk is about the size of a large domestic cat and the spotted skunk is half that size. They are usually active from early evening through the night. Dens are usually below ground but can be in any small openings such as stone walls, junk cars, hollow trees, etc. Two internal glands, located at the base of the tail, can produce a thick, volatile, oily liquid that contains odorous sulfurous compounds that the skunk can voluntarily spray at a threatening animal.

Skunks can dig under foundations and make a den under homes or in other buildings. Sod lawn damage by skunks often has the sod rolled back. See Pestdude's WILDLIFE MANAGMENT site to see what you can do about skunks.

Groundhogs

Also known as woodchucks, these animals are stocky, weighing between 4 and 14 pounds, and has short powerful legs, small ears, and a short brushy tail. Their fur is long, coarse and grizzled. They are grayish brown in color.

The groundhog burrow system is located 2 to 4 feet below the ground and may extend 15 to 25 feet. A mound of fresh earth around the opening characterizes the main entrance to the burrow. See Pestdude's WILDLIFE MANAGMENT site to see what you can do about groundhogs.

See also: HOW TO CHOOSE A PEST MANAGEMENT PROFESSIONAL

If you have any questions, please ask Pestdude!