As suburban sprawl encroaches on wildlife habitat animals have fewer places to nest and forage, so they are forced into houses seeking food, water, shelter, and warmth in the wintertime. The most common intruders most home owners will be faced with are rats and mice.
Many other animals, from pigeons to snakes, will “move in to” your house if given the chance. These animals can seriously damage buildings and may carry disease which can be far worse than the unpleasantness of noise and odors particularly of a dead animal in the wall.
For most home owners evicting anything more than mice, calls for professional help. Pest and animal control experts will safely remove the offending animal, and discuss with the homeowner what points of entry need to be sealed up. Safe handling of cornered or trapped animals is very important.
One of the most vicious animals when trapped, is the squirrel.
Professionals know how to protect themselves from such dangers as bites, rabies, and snake venom. Professionals also know the legal issues that can catch a home owner unaware, such as endangered-species protections and prohibitions against transporting live wildlife, or shooting an annoying woodpecker.
Never approach a wild animal, even if it appears passive. It is much easier to discourage animals that make only rare forays into houses, than those that like to live in houses. Snakes coming in, in need of a rough stone to help slough off its skin, a woodpecker working on a knot hole in cedar siding, or a raccoon squeezing through a screen in search of food.
Home owners can limit access by keeping firewood away from exterior walls, making sure that decks built close to the ground have heavy screening buried twelve inches into the ground. Any gaps in foundations should be sealed up. Equally crucial is eliminating the reason most creatures come indoors, looking for food. Snakes will follow rodents into basements and crawl spaces. Skunks, opossums, and raccoons are lured by garbage, dog food and bird seed; skunks and woodpeckers by insects.
Get rid of the food source and the visits end.