Most of us love nature in the abstract, but when it comes too close to home—in the form of pesky rabbits, raccoons, squirrels and other critters—we aren’t above cursing poor Mother Nature.
As development expands into once-untouched areas, it’s happening more often.
“[A]s more property development encroaches upon natural habitats,” notes Realtor Magazine, “people are increasingly sharing their neighborhood with all manner of species, from bats to bears…The risks increase during colder weather when animals tend to seek indoor shelter, making residential walls, ceilings, basements, and attics especially appealing, when they can find or chew their way toward an entry point.”
What’s a homeowner to do? Realtor offers these species-specific tips:
Squirrels: While relatively small, squirrels can cause major damage, often chewing through a home’s framing to make entry holes and damaging wires and insulation. If you have a squirrel problem, hire a professional to remove the troublemakers. Then prevent future issues by sealing entry passages and cutting down tree limbs within 8-10 feet of your roof, so that squirrels can’t easily leap onto your house.
Rodents: To spot a rodent problem, look for “droppings, particularly near where food is stored; gnaw marks, tracks, or rub marks; and strange noises in walls, especially at night and in attics where the dark makes for a welcome environment for them to build nests,” notes Realtor. Address the issue quickly, as rodents breed prolifically, some giving birth to as many as a dozen offspring every three weeks. A licensed pest control expert can discern how rodents are getting into your home, find multiple entry points and effectively seal them off.
Alternatively, homeowners can tackle the problem themselves with economical d-Con or Tomcat mouse bait, which is similar to poison used by professionals. Applying it pre-emptively in places that attract mice as the nights cool and they look for an indoor winter home may curb the influx of new residents in your home before they settle in.
Raccoons: Raccoons, which are nocturnal, are often detected by the noise they make at night. They typically enter homes through attics and can cause significant damage once inside. They are also common carriers of rabies. To shut them out, be sure damaged screens, especially at attic vents, are repaired, chimney caps are installed and any loose mortar or weather stripping is replaced. Also, secure garbage cans and always keep pet food, which attracts raccoons, inside the house.
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