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raccoon in st louis looking for winter shelter

Wildlife can be a pain all year round, but when fall comes, and the temperature begins to drop, animals start to see your home as a nice warm cave to spend the winter in. This can be a problem, for more reasons than you might think. Here is a quick list of reasons you don't need wild animals living in or under your home.

  1. Wild animals can be dangerous. Most animals you'll find around your home will generally leave you alone, but there are conditions that increase the chance of being attacked or bitten: if the animal is protecting its young, if the animal feels cornered or threatened, or if it has contracted rabies. Signs of rabies are: frothing at the mouth, disorientation, mood swings, lethargy, drunken movements, and paralysis in one or both legs. Never approach an animal that appears wounded. And, as much fun as it seems, don't feed wild animals, specifically: raccoons or opposums. All wildlife can be unpredictable. They are, after all, wild.

  2. Wild animals spread disease. Many animals-but especially rodents, raccoons, and bats--have the capacity to transmit diseases. Though they are not specifically vectors for disease, like birds or mosquitoes, they come in contact with nasty decaying things in their travels, and then bring that rot into your home, and into your food storage areas. The CDC lists the following diseases spread by wildlife: roundworm, brucellosis, giardiasis, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, herpesvirus simiae, histoplasmosis, tuberculosis, rabies, and tularemia.

  3. Wild animals damage property. Wood chewing rodents, like mice, rats, and woodchucks, do a tremendous amount of damage to homes and gardens. Wild animals break windows, tear up insulation, contaminate areas with their feces, and dig unsightly holes.

  4. Wild animals carry parasites. Most wildlife carry parasites in their fur, like ticks, mites, lice, and fleas. When inside your house, these parasites move to other areas.

  5. Wild animals get into things. One of the first signs that you have a wild animal living in or around your house is knocked over, or scattered trash. Wildlife also get in gardens and eat vegetables.

  6. Wild animals contaminate food. Some mammals, especially rodents, get into food storage areas, and taint food with the bacteria on their fur, and in their droppings and urine.

How do I keep wildlife away?

  1. Make sure all your trash is in sealed cans. It is sometime necessary to use a bungee cord to secure lids.

  2. Don't leave any food laying around. Pick up all barbeque leftovers. Refrain from putting pet food outside. And, if you must have a bird feeder, put it in a hard to reach spot.

  3. Use wire mesh or chicken wire to block off entry to areas under your deck, porch, patio, or garage.

  4. Keep windows locked, to prevent raccoons from getting in.

  5. Cut tree branches touching or bordering your home, so animals don't have access to your roof.

  6. Put wire mesh in downspouts, to prevent rodents from getting up.

  7. Be mindful that lattice and exterior pipes can give access to your roofline, and upper windows.

If you have a wild animal living on your property, contact a pest company to have it safely removed. A pest professional will also clean contaminated areas, seal your house from future infestation, and help you find exclusion methods specific to your situation. Contact Rottler today for more information on protecting your home from wildlife!

Tags: pest proofing  |  pest exclusion  |  wildlife removal  |  Missouri wildlife

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