Although we like to think of our homes as “our space” and the outdoors as “where the wildlife goes,” all too often, animals don’t feel quite the same way. A rarely used attic is a cozy spot for a bat, while your chimney may look appealing to nesting birds.
Here are a few common animal squatters, and how you can keep them out of your house and in the wilderness where they belong.
Bats are a pest of particular concern to homeowners because they have the potential to carry the lethal rabies virus. Bats are notorious for finding tiny gaps in homes to slip through—a crack as small as half in inch in between a mortar joint can be enough to allow these flying mammals into your house. Identify possible entry points into your house by ensuring screens fit tightly in windows and any holes around the outside of your home have been plugged up with weatherproof strips or foam insulation. We also recommend switching over to yellow lights outside—these are less likely to attract the insects bats like to eat. If you suspect you already have bats in residence, it’s possible to install a one-way door system over their entry point so that bats can leave—but not come back.
Not only birds, but limber animals like racoons can climb into your home through the chimney. This tends to happen when the chimney cap, which normally would prevent such an entry, has been broken or has fallen away. Make sure the cap is tightly in place and double check your chimney flue with a flashlight.
You’ve heard about millennials living in their parents’ basements, but what about racoons? Even in fairly urban areas, racoons have proven surprisingly resilient. After all, that’s where the trash is. Racoons will search for dens, and rarely used, dark basements and crawl spaces often prove too tempting to resist. If you suspect you have racoons, first check to see whether there are any young. In this case, you should definitely call a wildlife professional. If you’re sure only adult racoons are present, one way you can encourage them to leave their rent-free situation is to humanely scare them into leaving. Loud noises, bright lights and bad smells can all discourage habitation (think: a bowl of cider vinegar, a battery-operated ratio, lights left on). Then make sure to seal off all possible entries once they’ve left—we recommend sealing holes with heavy materials that can’t be gnawed away, such as wire mesh. Racoon removal can be a stressful situation for all parties involved.
Have you run into issues with wildlife pests in your home? Contact the experts at Baystate Wildlife for help with the removal process. They can help you determine the best and most humane way to keep furry intruders out.