Don’t Get Fooled by a Raccoon’s Cute Appearance

Don’t Get Fooled by a Raccoon’s Cute Appearance

For people who don’t see a lot of wildlife where they live, every encounter is special. That’s why you let a raccoon drag a huge bag of pet food underneath your porch, just so that you can film everything and observe the animal. Many of us find raccoons cute due to their fluffy appearance, wobbly walk and inquisitive behavior. Believe it or not, pet racoons are a thing in some states. (But be aware that pet raccoons in Maryland are illegal.) Raccoons even have their own Instagram accounts these days—and close to 20K followers prove that people really do take interest in these troublemakers.

How can you say “No” to this face?

Here is an interesting fact. There is a popular children’s book called Rascal: A Memoir of a Better Era. It was written by an American author Sterling North about the adventures he had with his pet raccoon named Rascal. The book was popular in the U.S. and Disney even made a movie based on it. But when the adventures of North and Rascal made it to Japan, the book’s popularity exploded. Every child was reading it and watching the animated series that followed. And every Japanese kid wanted a pet raccoon…. This book established a demand for pet raccoons in Japan, and soon hundreds of animals were imported from other countries (raccoons are not indigenous to Japan). But raccoons don’t make very good pets. For starters, they are nocturnal, which is problematic since a child’s and raccoon’s schedules are literally polar opposites. For this and other reasons, many pet raccoons were released into the wild by their owners, where they’ve adapted to survive and flourish. To this day, raccoons in Japan are a huge nuisance, as they damage crops, rummage through trash and even disturb ancient temples.

Why Raccoons Are Dangerous

Raccoons in Maryland have been troubling residents much longer than their Japanese counterparts. If you have dealt with pest raccoons in the past, you know what they are capable of. Here are a few reasons why you should always be alert when you see a raccoon, no matter how cute and harmless it appears.

Damage to Your Home

A raccoon can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home, landscaping or crops. Thanks to their strong front paws, inherent curiosity and opportunistic behavior, racoons can get into most man-made structures. Some of the damage they cause is from how they gain entry, and the rest is from what they do once inside—mainly rip up anything they can find to build a nest, as well as defecate all over the place. Call your Maryland raccoon removal specialists as soon as you start suspecting that a raccoon is living in your attic, shed or under your porch.

Raccoon Roundworm

Raccoon roundworm is a parasite found in raccoon feces. Relatively harmless to the raccoon itself, this roundworm can wreak havoc in a human body, in severe cases leading to permanent blindness and developmental delays in children. As long as there is a raccoon living and defecating in close proximity to your home, you may be at risk. Dogs may bring the roundworm eggs into your home, exposing your family to this parasite.

Rabies

Rabies is not uncommon in raccoons. And since an encounter with a raccoon is highly probable in Maryland, it’s possible for humans (and our pets) to contract rabies from a diseased raccoon. It’s important to be able to identify a rabid raccoon to take appropriate measures fast. Such a raccoon may appear lethargic, disoriented or quite the opposite—aggressive and agile. Do not approach a rabid raccoon and don’t tend to an animal who appears to be hurt by a rabid raccoon. Contact a Maryland wildlife removal company right away to professionally handle the issue. Having trouble with raccoons in your home, yard or commercial property? Give us a call or contact online for a fast, humane and effective solution.

How to Recognize Squirrel Damage

How to Recognize Squirrel Damage

There are many different critters in Maryland that can potentially invade your home. A squirrel is one of them. Small and fast, squirrels are often difficult to detect when they make a nest in your attic or chimney. Besides, if you live in a rural area, you are probably used to squirrels running around and collecting nuts. You wouldn’t think twice about a squirrel sitting on your roof, yet it could be the first sign of trouble. Our Maryland squirrel removal technicians have seen enough homes damaged by squirrels to know to take these little furry critters seriously. To help you discover and identify a squirrel problem fast, here are the types of squirrel damage you should keep your eye out for.

How Do Squirrels Damage Homes?

Squirrels are notorious for chewing. They have very large front teeth that keep growing and need to be kept in check by ongoing gnawing. That’s why squirrels will chew on almost anything, even if it’s not edible. They also use their teeth to make entry holes if they need to get somewhere, as well as to open nuts. Here are some of the places around your home and backyard where you might see squirrels’ gnaw marks and other types of damage.

Holes Along the Roof Line

Squirrels can easily rip off asphalt shingles or chew holes through fascia boards and even PVC pipes. Basically, anything that’s not metal they can damage with their teeth. If they want to get into your attic, they will first look for an existing hole or a gap they could widen. If your plumbing vents weren’t properly sealed on the outside, that’s a great opportunity for squirrels.

Chewed-up Siding

If you have wooden siding or a wooden shed, squirrels could chew it just for the joy of chewing. If that’s happening to you, you could hang a feeder with hard-coated nuts. It’s not a guaranteed solution, but squirrels may switch to nuts instead of eating at your home. If you want squirrels gone for good, the only reliable and humane method is to contact your local Maryland squirrel removal company.

Chewed-up Trees

Squirrels will gnaw on tree bark if there is nothing better to gnaw on. They may remove bark from one portion of a tree, leaving an unsightly raw tree surface. If you have fruit or nut trees that you keep for either their fruits or aesthetics, gnawing squirrels can be a big problem. In severe cases, squirrels may cause the tree to dry out and die by removing bark from its trunk.

Dug-up Flower Bulbs

As for the flower bulbs, at least squirrels actually eat them and don’t just dig them up for fun. They especially favor tulips and crocus bulbs. It can be extremely frustrating to try to maintain neat flower beds with squirrels around. Even if they decide not to eat your plants, they are also known to dig up mulched beds to bury their nuts.

Damaged Deck and Deck Furniture

As you’ve probably noticed by now, squirrels will chew on anything wooden. So if you have a wooden deck, wooden deck furniture or even wooden deck parts like railings, squirrels may consider it an invitation to gnaw. They will also chew on wooden window casings and rip open mesh screens.

Damaged Wiring and Hoses

Damaged wiring is one of the most serious types of damage a squirrel can cause. Chewed-up wires can (and did in many cases) cause house fires. That’s why squirrels nesting in your attic can be a real threat to your safety. Besides your home’s wiring, squirrels can also chew on decorative patio lights, Christmas lights, wiring under the hood of your car and rubber irrigation tubing and hoses, causing hundreds of dollars in damage.

How do I Get Rid of Squirrels?

In some cases, squirrels may even chew on some softer metals, such as aluminum. Squirrels can be very determined, especially when you close off the holes they used to use for entry. That’s why it’s important to trap and relocate the squirrels rather than simply patching the holes. Large populations of squirrels that were allowed to roam freely for a long time are especially difficult to eradicate, but our Maryland squirrel removal professionals are not afraid of the challenge. Call us or contact us online to get professional help in removing pesky squirrels from your property.

Roof and Attic Damage Caused By Raccoons

Roof and Attic Damage Caused By Raccoons

Homeowners on Walnutwood Lane in Germantown, Maryland, never heard any noise coming from the attic or saw any raccoons on their property, so they were surprised when they found out raccoons were living in the attic. The homeowners immediately called our Maryland raccoon removal specialists to inspect the attic and roof for raccoon damage. Our wildlife control technician took several photos of the damage including the photo below.

Raccoon feces and urine were found throughout the attic, covering every square foot of the rolled-in insulation. Raccoon urine had saturated the insulation in several areas so bad that the sheet rock ceiling underneath started to show stain marks in the bedroom below the attic. Overall, the damage directly and indirectly caused by raccoons in this house included:

  • Roofing shingles that were ripped off at the back corner of the roof.
  • A 4×4” hole in the back corner of the roof (this is how the animal gained entry in to the attic).
  • Water damage and wood rot on the back wall where the rain was coming in through the hole in the roof.
  • Ripped-off insulation around the heating and cooling duct work in the attic.
  • Flattened and urine-soaked rolled-in attic insulation.
  • Stained ceiling in one of the bedrooms.

We should point out, however, that raccoon damage in this Germantown home was more extreme than most of the homes we inspect. Raccoons have had the free rein for a while before homeowners noticed the signs of trouble. Because extensive repairs were necessary, our technician advised the homeowners to contact their insurance company. Most homeowners insurance policies cover the cost of damage caused by raccoons, including damaged attic insulation. However, homeowners insurance companies do not cover the cost for raccoon trapping and raccoon removal. Our technician set humane live-capture traps to trap and remove the raccoons that were living in the attic and installed a one-way door over the hole that the raccoon ripped open in the roof. After the raccoons were removed, the technician cleaned out the damaged attic insulation and installed new insulation. He also repaired the damage to the roof and replaced the rotted wood in the back wall.

Do You Have Raccoons in Your Attic?

If you hear noises coming from the attic in the evening or during the night, then you may have a raccoon infestation. The sooner you have invasive wildlife removed from your home, the less damage will occur. Not every homeowner can hear critters in the attic, and sometimes it’s impossible to see the holes that nuisance wildlife rips open in the roof. This is why it’s important to look in the attic once or twice a year to make sure it hasn’t become home to intrusive wildlife. If you suspect that a critter is living in your attic, contact our Maryland wildlife removal experts right away to get your attic inspected and the wildlife removed.

Is This How Squirrels Are Getting Into Your Attic?

Is This How Squirrels Are Getting Into Your Attic?

The homeowners of this Silver Spring, Maryland, home heard noises coming from the attic and suspected that it may be squirrels. The homeowners contacted our Silver Spring squirrel removal professionals to inspect the attic and roof to determine what the problem may be. The technician confirmed that the homeowners’ suspicions were correct and squirrels were living in the attic. The technician discovered that the squirrels chewed a hole in the fascia board above the gutter.

Our technician set humane live-capture traps to remove the squirrels. If the squirrels are not trapped, they will continue to chew new holes around the roof top. The technician also installed a one-way door over the point of entry, which allows the squirrels to exit but not re-enter the attic. The one-way door ensures that the squirrels will be evicted from the attic for good.

The Importance of Eave Drip Edge

The squirrels were able to chew this hole because there was no eave drip edge installed in this Silver Spring home. Eave drip edge (also know as eave strip) is a metal strip designed to cover the carpenter’s gap between the roof deck and the fascia board. A drip strip is necessary because:

  • It stops squirrels and other wildlife from chewing through that area.
  • It prevents birds, bats and other pests from entering the attic.
  • It stops rain water from rolling off the edge of the roof and down the side of the fascia board, which causes moisture damage and wood rot.

After the squirrels were trapped and removed, the technician installed 25’ of eave drip edge fabricated from aluminum. If you are hearing noises coming from the attic during the early morning hours and early evening hours, then you may have a gray squirrel problem. The sooner you contact a licensed Maryland wildlife removal professional the less damage will be done. Call Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control today for fast and humane squirrel removal in Maryland.

5 Questions to Ask Your Maryland Wildlife Removal Company

5 Questions to Ask Your Maryland Wildlife Removal Company

If you are in a rush to get a raccoon out of your attic or a squirrel out of your chimney, you probably just call the first number you can find on Google and let a Maryland wildlife removal expert come in and take care of the nuisance wildlife. But if you have a non-pressing wildlife problem that can wait, or an ongoing issue that may need constant attention, it’s worth it to spend some time to interview the company you plan on working with. Here are just a few questions you can ask to determine whether a particular wildlife removal company is a good fit for your needs.

Do you practice humane wildlife removal?

There are many ways to get rid of nuisance wildlife, and not all of them are equally humane. The most humane method of removing wildlife from you property is live-trapping and relocating the animal far away from your home. The inhumane methods include poison and traps that either kill the animal instantly or injure it and leave it to suffer. At Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control, we practice humane wildlife removal whenever possible. We understand that when animals are being evicted from what they consider their home, they are just as stressed as you are. We do our best to make wildlife removal as smooth and low-stress as possible for both parties.

What do you do to prevent future infestations?

It’s one thing to have that scary opossum gone, but what about preventing other wildlife from taking his place? It’s crucial that your wildlife removal company takes measures to prevent future infestations. These measures may include sealing the entrance holes used by the animal, installing screens on vents and advising you on what you can do to deter the animal. If these preventive steps are not taken, you will face the same problem very soon. It’s good for the pest control company, since they get a repeat customer, but a reputable Maryland wildlife remover would never intentionally put you at risk of future infestations. If all your company does is remove the animal, look for a more comprehensive service.

Will you clean up the mess?

Most homeowners don’t know what’s going on in their attics or underneath their decks. All they know is that there are some odd noises and there is definitely an animal living there. Once the animal is removed, you are left to deal with the aftermath, which may consist of torn-up insulation, damaged drywall or pounds of animal excrement. Not only is this an unpleasant mess to clean up, but it can also be dangerous for your health, since animal feces, especially those of raccoons and bats, may contain parasites, mold spores and other dangerous micro-organisms. A full-service wildlife removal company will offer to clean up the nesting site and repair the damage after the animal is removed.

Are you properly licensed and insured?

A you might know, city and county authorities only deal with stray cats and dogs. If there is a snake, a raccoon or some other wildlife on your property, you will need to call a professional wildlife removal company. Maryland wildlife removal companies should be licensed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). If you live in Virginia, Pennsylvania or Washington, DC, make sure your pest control company holds appropriate state licenses. And since wildlife removal can be dangerous, it doesn’t hurt to check whether your company has insurance. The last thing you want is someone getting bit by a rabid raccoon on your personal property and you stuck paying the medical bills.

How big are you?

If your wildlife removal “company” is a one-man operation, forget about getting fast response to your questions or emergency calls. You should hire an established company that has sufficient resources to deliver on their promises. Live-trapping of wildlife can be a time-consuming task: you have to inspect, set up traps, check them frequently and follow up to make sure all animal intruders are gone. If you have any questions along the way, you should be able to talk to a live person when you call. Look for a company that has a website and makes it easy for customers to get in touch. Give Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control a call or contact us online and we’ll be happy to answer these and any other questions you might have.