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Identifying common wild animal invaders

December 10th, 2014

Identifying common wild animal invaders

wildlife101While they might seem cute and cuddly scampering about in the great outdoors, wildlife presents a unique set of dangers if they try to make their homes inside ours. It can be very unnerving to discover wildlife in your home because one raccoon is a lot bigger than one ant, and animals can be more aggressive if they are frightened or feel threatened while trapped in an unfamiliar environment.

While many common pest-proofing techniques will keep out wildlife pests as well as insect pests, you should take several additional precautions to be sure your home is not attractive to wildlife. Opossums and raccoons can be attracted to garbage, so keeping trash in sealed bags and disposing of it regularly will reduce the chance that pests raid your garage or garbage cans. And cutting back tree limbs from the roofline is a good step to discourage squirrels from getting access to the attic.

Even when following steps to prevent wildlife, it is important to look for signs of a possible intrusion. These pests tend to be more of an issue in fall and winter as the animals search for a place to stay warm over the winter. Gnaw marks on wires, insulation, or walls, feces in the attic or garage and scurrying sounds in the walls can all be indicators of a wildlife pest infestation. Here is a guide to some of the most common critters that bother homeowners:

Bats

Bat

  • Appearance: Bats have hairy bodies and can vary in color from tan to black. They have four appendages. The front two are used as wings and all four are used for crawling. Different species are different sizes but the average adult bat is 2 3/16” to 7 ½” (5.5cm – 18.8 cm) in length with a wingspan anywhere from 6-15” (15.2cm – 38 cm).
  • Region: Bats occur throughout the U.S. except in colder regions where tree growth is limited.
  • Habitat: Where bats prefer to roost depends on the species, but all enjoy dark, secluded and protected areas that can include attics, churches, tree cavities or caves.
  • Threats: Having bats in a structure can pose several serious health threats to humans. Bats are known carriers of rabies in the U.S. and can infect other animals and humans. It is important to seek medical attention if you’ve had any unprotected contact with a bat. Bat droppings can also cause disease such as histoplasmosis, and bat mites and bat bugs may become common in a home with an infestation.
  • Unique fact: In many states, bats are protected mammals. Check with animal control or your local wildlife service for any regulations before bat-proofing your home.

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