In the view of the public outrage over the senseless killing of Cecil the lion, it’s important to remember that lions and other exotic animals are not the only ones suffering from human cruelty. There are hundreds of squirrels, raccoons, opossums and other critters that die every year from the hands of impatient homeowners, irresponsible wildlife control companies, and just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. As a Maryland wildlife remover, Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control strives to resolve animal/human conflicts peacefully. And we do our best to educate our customers about the animals we are bound to coexist with and what to do if they become a problem.
Before getting angry at a raccoon that invaded your attic, remember that technically you have invaded the raccoon’s forest first. A raccoon has no personal vendetta against you and simply took an opportunity to seek shelter in your unused attic space. Don’t hold it against the animal—it was just following its instincts. No matter how upset you are, take a deep breath and let it go. Killing the animal won’t make the hole in your roof disappear, but it can make matters worse.
Wait it Out
Most animals don’t stay in one spot for a long time. In fact, in the majority of cases a wildlife critter invades your home or property looking for a safe place to deliver and rear their young. What takes 18 human years, takes a skunk or a raccoon just a few months. Once the young are big and independent enough, the family often moves. If you have a fox or some other animal living under your porch or shed and not disturbing anyone or doing much damage, leave them alone.
Don’t Use Poisons or Snares
There are many ways to capture a nuisance animal, and snares is one of the most painful ones. In fact, most states, including several Maryland counties, outlaw snares. Even if you are trapping with a permit, snares, body-gripping and leghold traps are not allowed to be placed within 150 yards of a human residence. Never use a snare to capture a nuisance animal in or near your home. Poisons, although legal, are also one of the worst ways to solve a conflict with wildlife. Not only do poisons cause a slow and painful death, but they can also put other, non-target animals and people at risk, which includes your pets and your children.
Hire a Humane Maryland Wildlife Control Company
Sometimes, you may need help getting rid of a nuisance animal, in which case it’s best to call your local Maryland wildlife control company. Some homeowners think they can live-capture and evict the animal on their own, but they soon realize it’s either too much to handle or not worth their time. There are many things we, as professionals, know from experience that an average homeowner wouldn’t. This helps us not only remove your nuisance animal, but also solve your problem long-term. However, it’s crucial that you hire a wildlife removal company that is both knowledgeable and humane in their methods. Here are a few question you can ask them to determine this:
- How do you plan to capture this animal?
- What will happen to the animal after you capture it?
- Will the babies be reunited with their mother?
- Are you licensed and insured?
A professional and responsible wildlife remover has relationships with the wildlife rehabilitation centers in the area, where they hand over animals that need special care. Want to know how Mid Atlantic can help you get rid of your nuisance animal in a humane way? Give us a call today!
Our Annapolis raccoon removal technicians received a call last week about roof damage and attic noise in an Annapolis home located on Carrollton Rd. Upon inspection, we found a mother raccoon that had been living in the attic for quite some time, judging by the damage. She damaged fascia boards in several places and ripped up parts of the attic insulation. You can see the extent of the damage above.
We captured the nuisance raccoon in a live trap, cleaned up the attic and repaired the damage. Thankfully, the damage wasn’t too serious—trust us, we’ve seen worse—and was covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy. Keep in mind that not all insurance policies cover raccoon damage, which is good coverage to have in Maryland where raccoons are abundant. Check with your provider to determine what’s covered under your policy.
How Raccoons Get Into Your Attic
As you can see from the above photos, raccoons don’t have to wait till a hole opens up—they can make one on their own. Many older homes in Anne Arundel County have rotten soffits and fascia boards that a raccoon can easily break with its strong arms. This is one of the reasons to not delay repairs if you see the edges of your roof starting to crumble away. Another way raccoons gain access to your home is through unscreened or weak gable vents. As a part of wildlife-proofing a home, we always install durable vent covers that withstand both the weather and any unwanted visitors.
How Does Raccoon Damage Go Unnoticed?
How can you not notice a hole in your fascia board? Easily! Most homeowners don’t inspect the exteriors of their homes very often, not to mention the roof and the attic. Also, in summer, we tend to leave for vacations, which means leaving your home for a week or two with minimal or no supervision. This creates numerous opportunities for a crafty animal such as a raccoon to enter your home unnoticed. Always inspect your home when you return from a vacation to make sure there were no wildlife intrusions in your absence.
I Think I Have a Raccoon in My Attic
If you suspect you might have a raccoon problem, first of all stay calm and act fast. The sooner you get help, the less damage and cleanup you’ll have to deal with later. Whatever you do, don’t go to the attic and try to confront a raccoon with a broom or any other household item. Raccoons can carry rabies and can also be aggressive when approached, especially if they are protecting their young. The best thing to do is leave the raccoon alone and call our Anne Arundel wildlife control experts. We are trained in finding and capturing raccoons with minimal stress and harm to both you and the animal. Contact us today for raccoon removal in Maryland.
When you saw a baby animal all alone, it probably crossed your mind that it could be lost or orphaned. And with the best intentions, you picked it up, wrapped in a towel and brought it over to your local wildlife rescue center. Our friends at the Wildlife Rescue, Inc., a Baltimore County non-profit wildlife rescue, say that this is how animals get “kidnapped” and separated from their parents. They sent us this video that explains under which circumstances you should or should not rescue a fawn. https://youtu.be/ZoLaF4oawKs
General Wildlife Rescue Tips
Here is some advice that applies not only to fawns, but to any kind of Maryland wildlife you may encounter:
- Leave the animal alone unless it appears to be in distress or is in an unsafe location. In most cases, the baby animal’s parents are nearby but scared to come out because of your presence.
- If you have an opportunity, move back to a safe distance and watch whether the parent animal returns.
- If the parent doesn’t return after 2-3 hours, call an animal rescue center for advice. Some baby animals are more independent than others, and it will depend on the species whether the absence of parents should be considered alarming or not.
- If an animal appears injured or you are sure it’s lost, put on gloves, wrap the animal in a towel and place it in a cardboard box with holes or an animal carrier, then take it to your local wildlife rescue center.
- Don’t give an injured or animal food or water, especially milk.
- Don’t keep an orphaned animal as a pet.
Visit the Wildlife Rescue, Inc.’s website for more information and rescue tips. If you encounter a full-grown animal on your property, don’t attempt to handle it yourself. There is always a risk of rabies and other diseases when you handle wildlife. If it’s a nuisance animal, contact Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control right away and we’ll ensure its humane removal and rehabilitation.
When it comes to removing bats from your attic, one of the worst parts is probably cleaning up bat guano. Our Maryland bat removal technicians have done this on numerous occasions and know all about this unpleasant process. If you are getting rid of bats, be sure to hire a wildlife control company that also takes care of the attic cleanup. Otherwise, here are some steps and precautions you would need to take, as well as a general overview of what you are up against.
What is Bat Guano?
Guano is the formal name for bat droppings, as well as the excrement of a few bird species. If bats are roosting in your attic, they will be using it as a bathroom as well. Flying requires a lot of energy, so bats eat large numbers of insects. A single bat can relieve itself 20-30 times a day and produce several times its own weight in guano in just one week. Now imagine if you have 20-50 bats in your attic—that’s a lot of guano! Summer is when bats are most active and when their droppings start accumulating fast. An Interesting Fact: bats don’t poop upside down. Although they prefer to hang upside down, bats quickly switch to an upright position and briefly hang on their wings and thumbs to relieve themselves.
Damage Caused by Bat Guano
Some Maryland bat species may keep using your attic as their year-round roost. And the longer it takes you to detect the problem, the bigger the pile of guano you’ll have to clean up later. Bat droppings is what makes sharing your home with bats undesirable and sometimes even dangerous. Bats are beneficial to have around and play an important role in the ecosystem, but their droppings can lead to a variety of problems and health risks, including but not limited to:
- Guano in the walls can make an entire house smell bad.
- Bats infected with histoplasmosis may transfer this fungal infection to humans through guano.
- Guano may attract other pests such as cockroaches.
- Bat droppings are corrosive and may damage drywall, wood, metal and your attic insulation.
- Excessive amounts of guano can cause the ceiling to collapse.
Before You Clean
Before cleaning bat guano, make sure that all bats are gone from the attic. At Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control, we remove bats through bat exclusion, which is a harmless, yet effective method. If there are bats left in the attic, cleaning their mess won’t only be counterproductive, but may also expose you to the risk of rabies. Among other precautions, you need to get proper gear and cleaning supplies. We recommend:
- A disposable full-body biohazard suit
- A face mask with a HEPA air filter
- Rubber gloves and plastic shoe covers
- Eye protection
- Plenty of light sources (a head light can be handy)
- A powerful disinfectant
- A commercial vacuum cleaner
- An enzyme-based cleaner
Removing Bat Droppings
If you are dealing with large amounts of bat droppings, we recommend hiring a professional to remove them. Piles of bat guano in a stuffy, confined place such as an attic can harbor dangerous histoplasmosis spores that may become airborne when disturbed. Plus, large piles can simply be heavy and require significant physical strength to haul out of the attic. Now, for smaller attic cleanup jobs, follow these steps:
- Vacuum up any loose droppings.
- Remove and dispose of any urine-soaked insulation.
- Scrub and disinfect surfaces that came in contact with guano.
- For compacted piles, spray them with an enzyme cleaner before touching, then put in a plastic bag.
- Check your local regulations about whether it’s permitted to place bat droppings into regular trash.
- Remove and dispose of your disposable protective gear; remove the respirator last.
But to save yourself the trouble (and to get rid of the bats at the same time), you are always welcome to give our bat removal specialists a call or contact us online. We are based in Edgewater, MD and serve Maryland, Southern Pennsylvania and parts of Washington, DC.
Have you heard about the recent snake infestation in a home near Annapolis? The couple who purchased the property in December had to abandon it a few months later when they realized the home was infested with black rat snakes. Apparently, the snakes have been living and reproducing inside walls and ceiling for years, claiming the house as their own. Although the above scenario is extreme, in general it’s not unusual for a snake to wander into a home by accident or on purpose. In summer, snakes may follow prey, such as mice, inside your home. And as the temperatures drop, snakes will be looking for a warm place to overwinter. If you want to avoid an unpleasant encounter with a snake inside your home on in your yard, follow these tips from our Maryland snake removal experts.
Install Door Thresholds and Weather Stripping
One of the easiest ways for a snake to get into your home is underneath a door. And if your doors, especially those in the basement, leave a gap underneath, that’s an open invitation to all sorts of critters. Use a combination of door thresholds and weather stripping to eliminate any gaps underneath your doors. If your home is old, consider replacing dated doors with something more secure and better fitting.
Repair Foundation Cracks
Inspect your basement inside and out to identify any cracks that are ¼ inch in diameter or larger. They don’t have to be see-through, but large enough for a snake to fit in. If you find evidence of a wall leak, track it to its origin and patch the crack that’s causing it. In addition to the foundation cracks, check insulation around window and door frames, as well as any pipes and wires going through the walls.
Install Vent Screens
Your home has more vents than you realize. The attic has a vent to help the home breathe. Plumbing vents typically exit on the roof and help provide adequate pressure. Even some appliances such as your drier require vents in order to properly operate. If these vents aren’t screened, a snake can get in and eventually find its way into your living quarters. Some homeowners also like to open up doors and windows in spring and summer for a fresh breeze. Be careful doing this if you don’t have screens installed on your doors and windows–a snake can easily climb in when you are not looking.
Clean Your Yard
Snakes are not seeking contact with humans. Quite the opposite—they do their best to stay out of sight and out of mind. They prefer to hide in tall grass and den in piles of wood or backyard clutter. The more snake-friendly your yard is, the more likely the snakes are to stick around in summer and seek winter shelter in your home. Keep your yard neat and free of clutter if you want to discourage snakes from living nearby.
Eliminate the Snake’s Prey
Snakes gravitate toward properties that provide ample food. This could be small rodents like mice and chipmunks, bird eggs in the spring, frogs and chicken eggs. If you know your lot offers a steady supply of any of the above, consider if and how you could eliminate these critters. It may be difficult and unproductive to try to get rid of frogs if you have a pond. However, you can address your mouse problem and see if it makes a difference.
If your property is already fully fenced in, consider adding an extra layer of snake-proof fencing. It can be made of plastic, steel mesh or fabric mesh, and is often installed at an angle to prevent the snakes from climbing. Snakes don’t dig, so if they can’t fit under or climb over, they won’t be able to get on your property. If the whole-property fence sounds unreasonable, consider creating a fenced area for your garden or your children’s playground. This will ensure your family members can enjoy their favorite outdoor activities without worrying about snakes. And if you keep finding snakes in your home or yard, give Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control a call and we’ll be there as soon as possible to remove the unwelcome critters. Our trained techs will help you understand how the snake got in and what else you can do to keep this from happening in the future.