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Posts Tagged ‘animal damage’

Chicago Area Experiences Problems as Wildlife Flourishes in Less-Than-Wild Places

Posted by animalcontrol on February 19, 2010

The following Illinois Department of Natural Resources article is from 2004, yet I expect that the situation has not changed very much.  For wildlife removal from your home or property, please call United Wildlife at 1-888-488-1415.

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. — Conservation programs that succeeded in restoring white-tailed deer, Canada geese, beavers, and other animals are facing a new challenge as wildlife flourish in places that are less than wild.

In a survey of homeowners from 10 of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, 61 percent reported problems with wildlife during the past year. If their experiences are typical, damage in the United States’ largest cities approaches $3.8 billion annually despite an outlay of $1.9 billion to prevent it.

Chicago’s metro area fits this profile. Dr. Craig Miller, a human dimensions specialist formerly with the Illinois Natural History Survey, found as part of a survey he conducted that 58 percent of homeowners in five Northeastern Illinois counties had experienced wildlife problems in the past year. Canada geese, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, and skunks topped the list of culprits.

Problems serviced by animal control agencies and businesses licensed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources have more than doubled in the past decade according to Bob Bluett, wildlife diversity program manager for the agency. Last year, animal control professionals in the Chicago metro area responded to more than 65,000 service calls and captured more than 60,000 animals.

Raccoons topped the list. “They’re abundant and resourceful when it comes to finding a way into peoples’ homes,” says Bluett.

He estimates that the state’s raccoon population more than doubled between the early 1980s and mid-1990s. Bluett noted, “Hunting and trapping kept them in check when fur coats were popular during the late 1970s. Numbers boomed when the market went bust about a decade later.” Markets in Russia and Asia have picked up some of the slack in recent years, with a corresponding drop of about 25 percent since Illinois’ raccoon population peaked in 1996.

Raccoons are more common in the Chicago metro area than any other part of the state. Landscape changes have helped increase raccoon numbers, because years ago, green spaces, fields and woods separated towns. Trappers and hunters harvested raccoons in those wild in-between spots and kept raccoons in check. “Today, many cities run together. Those in-between wild spaces are strip malls and fast food restaurants,” says Bluett. “It is difficult to hunt and trap raccoons in ways that reduce urban populations.” Also, state laws require them to obtain permission from both landowners and people living nearby before hunting or trapping wildlife. This can be difficult to obtain.

Some trappers have parlayed their skills into lucrative animal removal businesses that operate under a different set of restrictions than their counterparts. “This activity is highly regulated, just like traditional hunting and trapping. The main difference is that we’ve built in accountability to the client and made some adjustments for working in residential areas,” says Bluett.

Studies by Dr. Stan Gehrt, an Ohio State University research biologist, show that suburban raccoons have few worries except dodging traffic. “Food and shelter are so plentiful that many survive bouts with diseases,” says Gehrt.

A study by Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation of suburban Dundee found that few raccoons captured by wildlife control specialists and released in area forest preserves decided to stay there. “Most left within two to three weeks and some were recaptured in nearby homes,” says Bluett. Gehrt’s studies confirm that raccoons raised in forest preserves tend to stay there. Those raised in attics and chimneys seem to prefer residential areas.

State laws were changed in 1999 to limit relocation of raccoons. Bluett noted, “Studies supported our concerns about making one person’s solution another person’s problem. They also suggested transporting animals could help spread diseases that can infect people, pets and other wildlife. Besides that, where do you go with 17,000 raccoons in one of the country’s most urban landscapes?”

Fewer than 10 percent of raccoons captured by wildlife control specialists are released — either on the same property or after being transported to a licensed veterinarian with a permit to rehabilitate wildlife. The rest are killed using methods allowed by state law.

Bluett notes that removing raccoons is not a viable solution unless food sources are eliminated and entry points are sealed to keep others from moving in.

DNR advises homeowners:

  • Do not encourage raccoons by feeding them
  • Keep pet food and watering dishes indoors, especially at night
  • Keep trash containers in your garage until pick-up day. Containers stored outside should be made of metal or durable plastic and kept upright in a frame; secure lids with elastic shock cords available at most hardware stores
  • Use bird feeders equipped with gravity-operated treadles to prevent access by squirrels and raccoons. Do not allow spillage to accumulate. If necessary, switch to niger (thistle), safflower, or other bird foods less attractive to mammals
  • Install commercial chimney caps before animals move in
  • Install hardware cloth (½ x ½-inch mesh) inside attic vent and fan openings
  • Repair broken, weak, or rotted areas on your roof, soffit and fascia
  • Trim tree branches that provide squirrels and raccoons easy access to your roof
  • Before hiring an animal control specialist, verify they have a valid permit issued by DNR

For more information on raccoons or controlling nuisance wildlife in Illinois, contact Illinois DNR at 217-782-6384. Learn more about raccoons by visiting the Fur Hunting and Trapping in Illinois website at dnr.state.il.us/orc/wildlife.

The brochures “Keeping Wildlife Out of Your Home” and “Nuisance Raccoons in Urban Settings” are available from the DNR Clearinghouse at dnr.clearing@illinois.gov.

Information on nuisance wildlife control also is available at the Center for Wildlife Damage Management at http://www.wildlifedamage.unl.edu/. Landowners should check state regulations before proceeding; some methods recommended by the Center for Wildlife Management, while legal in some states, are not legal in Illinois.

Posted in Animal Control, Animal Removal, raccoon control, skunk control, squirrel control, Wildlife Control, Wildlife Removal | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Beaver Damage

Posted by animalcontrol on August 6, 2009

F Minus
This comic by F-minus is a great illustration of the anger people feel over beaver damage and the lengths they will go to try to solve the problem.  I don’t know of anyone who has actually chained themselves to a tree, but waiting up all night isn’t unusual.  Actually, it is pretty easy to wait up all night when you are so worried about the beaver damage you will find in the morning that you CAN NOT sleep. 

And, since the “chain yourself to a tree” thing was practically invented by environmentalists, this comic illustrates a very real dilemma faced by many people who encounter beaver problems and beaver damage on their property. Do you save the trees?  Do you save the beavers?  What about when the animals’ activity floods your home?  Washes out bridges?  How far do you go?  

I can’t answer the question for each one of you, but I can tell you this.  I wouldn’t let a human vandal chop down my trees and shred the bushes.  Why would I let an animal vandal do the same thing?  Beaver damage can cost thousands of dollars and damage the habitat of other living things.  Who takes care of the birds that no longer have trees to nest in?  What about the trees themselves?  

It is OK to address beaver damage and work to get rid of the beavers.  You don’t have to let them destroy things, nor do you have to sacrifice yourself in the process.  Hire a professional beaver trapper who will get rid of the beavers on your property and prevent further beaver damage from destroying what you have worked to create, not to mention your peace of mind.

Nationwide Beaver Trapping Services: 1-888-488-1415

Posted in Animal Control, Beaver Control, Professional Trapping, Rodent Problems, Wildlife Control | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Bat Extermination in Denver, Colorado

Posted by animalcontrol on August 3, 2009

exclusion

How do you get rid of bats without exterminating them? Through venting and exclusion.

People in the Denver, Colorado area request bat extermination or attempt do-it-yourself bat extermination usually because of an irrational fear—too many horror movies will get people to worrying about bats and what they might do.  

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am not sharing my home with these animals either, but not because I am afraid they will suck my blood or turn into vampires. I don’t want to share my home with bats because I don’t want to live with the smell (old, sweaty gerbils) or guano or bat bugs or histoplasmosis or anything else that comes along with them. 

So, how do you get rid of bats without exterminating them?  There is a great option available:  venting and exclusion.  The animals are trained out of the attic or wherever they are living and then not allowed to return.  The colony will find a new roost, often within 24-hours, and then the clean-up can begin.  Depending on how long the animals have lived in your home or business, it can take a few hours or several days.  Generally, it is best to act as soon as possible when you learn you are sharing your home with any wild animal.

It sounds pretty easy here, but getting rid of bats isn’t easy.  It takes special equipment and knowledge, as well as a healthy respect for the animals and a tolerance for high places.  It might sound easier and cheaper to go for do-it-yourself bat extermination and just spray a bunch of poison into your attic and hope for the best, but that is when the real life horror movie will begin.  Sick and dying animals will invade your home trying to flee.  They become disoriented and confused.  

If you try a different method and the usual exits are blocked while they are inside they will scatter throughout the building trying to find an exit.  If they are blocked out while their young are inside they will show great determination trying to get back to them. 

Either way, if you are successful in your attempt at bat extermination, you will have an attic full of rotting bat corpses. Is that really an improvement over what you had in the first place?  

Avoid all this and don’t try bat extermination.  Hire a wildlife removal professional who will leave the animals alive and free to keeping doing what they do best and you will be left in peace to go watch a movie—maybe you should make it a romantic comedy this time?!

Nationwide Bat Removal: 1-888-488-1415

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Armadillos Design Golf Course in Dallas, Texas

Posted by animalcontrol on July 8, 2009

armadillo

Armadillos move a lot of dirt, destroying golf courses and landscaping. Trapping armadillos is th most effective way to get rid of them.

I am a golf course superintendent in the Dallas, Texas area and I need to get rid of armadillos.  They are ruining my golf course.  I don’t mind a tricky course with sand traps and such, but these guys are creating craters!  Where they don’t belong!

Armadillos aren’t all that big, and they move slowly every time I see them, but, man, can they move a lot of dirt.  They dig huge holes in the course, turning over sod and scraping dirt away. 

A couple of years ago my friend had armadillos in her flower beds and she got really upset and wanted to get rid of the armadillos. I am afraid I wasn’t very kind.  I didn’t see then what the big deal was.  After all, it was just a little-old critter.  Why was she so wound up about it?

What a nuisance.  I am concerned that someone will fall in the holes they leave.  Each morning I drive around and find freshly turned dirt.  It is impossible to keep the course looking like it should.  Now I need to learn how to get rid of armadillos.

They don’t scare.  Nothing really seems to repel them—urine, peppers, noise makers.  I read somewhere that fencing is good, but I can’t fence an entire golf course.  Besides, I’m sure they are living around here somewhere and I would probably fence them in, forcing them to live on the course.

What to do?  There has got to be a way to get rid of the armadillos so I can get my course back into play.

Nationwide Armadillo Control Services: 1-888-488-1415

Posted in Animal Control, Armadillo Control, Wildlife Control, Wildlife Removal | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gopher Golf in California

Posted by animalcontrol on June 16, 2009

Gopher digging and eating can destroy a lawn, garden or golf course.

Gopher digging and eating can destroy a lawn, garden or golf course.

What is it about gophers and golf?  Ever since the movie Caddyshack, and maybe before, people love to make jokes about gophers and golf.  There is a Gopher Golf video game and Gopher Golf Club Head covers from a variety of manufacturers.  But people with gopher problems know it is no joke.

My buddy Donald in California has been living with gopher problems for years.  His yard backs up to a golf course, which you might think was ideal, but the golf course sends him gophers and doesn’t want to take responsibility for it.  He has a yard full of migrant gophers and all his attempts to get rid of gophers on his own have failed.  He has tried to trap them, poison them and gas them, with limited success. 

The problem has grown worse through the years and now his once beautiful lawn, along with the shrubs and flowers, is destroyed.  He planted some new flowers this spring thinking that he got rid of gophers last fall, but no… the next morning the plants were sucked half-way into a hole and the next day the plant was gone–devoured by an insatiable gopher. 

He told me he is ready to try gas bombs, but I told him that without professional knowledge that really wasn’t safe, especially the Molotov Cocktail version he was planning on.  He agreed that maybe it was time to try professional help to get rid of the gophers.  What did he have to lose?  Well, if he uses a professional, all he has to lose is gophers.  If he tries the homemade bomb approach he could lose a whole lot more than that!

Posted in Animal Control, Animal Removal, Gopher Control, Rodent Problems, Wildlife Control, Wildlife Removal | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Do it Yourself Skunk Control gone wrong near Denver, Colorado

Posted by animalcontrol on June 4, 2009

We remove dead animals from all kinds of locations.

We remove dead animals from all kinds of locations.

Years ago a female skunk made her home under what is now my parents’ home on a ranch in central Colorado.  The home is an old one and the result of numerous additions over nearly 100 years.  There is not much foundation under the house, so in order to access the pipes under the bathroom a tunnel had been dug to provide access through a very small crawl space.  

This mama skunk determined that the tunnel was a great place for a family and eventually had a litter of babies.  Having now six of these creatures living under the house created a smell that would have to be experienced to be believed.  But, what to do about it? 

My grandfather consulted a neighbor, Roy, who had a surefire, guaranteed solution.  He had the foolish idea to run a hose from the exhaust of the pickup into the tunnel under the bathroom.  He thought it would drive them out where they could be shot.  

(NOTE:  This is a BAD idea, very dangerous and could have killed the people in the house. Please never attempt this foolish technique at your home or your neighbor’s home.) 

The old ranch truck was backed up to the house and the hose positioned.  A shooter was ready and waiting.  The animals never appeared. They died under the house.  Live ones are bad but dead skunks are worse.  The smell of dead skunk made the home truly unlivable.  

My grandfather had to crawl to the very back of the crawl space and haul out all the dead skunks.  Every trip out from under the house he would drop a rotten carcass, vomit and crawl back under. The smell was so severe he became sick and remained weak and ill for a long time afterwards.  

After the whole experience was over and people had time to think about it everyone agreed that we were very lucky to have only dead skunks, and not people.  Too bad my grandfather didn’t know about wildlife control contractors.  Actually, they didn’t even exist then.  This was over 40 years ago and people had to fend for themselves.  We are lucky to have professional help available for nuisance animal problems today.

For Skunk Control or Removal of Dead Animals:  1-888-488-1415

Posted in Animal Removal, Dead Animal Removal, skunk control, Wildlife Removal | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Porcupine Mechanic in Salt Lake City, Utah

Posted by animalcontrol on May 19, 2009

eating

Porcupine quills are dangerous, and so are their teeth.

Last year I had a porcupine eating my car.  Don’t laugh, it wasn’t funny at all.  I replaced the gas and brake lines on my car while battling the creature, and who knows what might have happened if I hadn’t got professional help.

Anyway, here is the story.  I went out one morning to get in my car and noticed a dark spot under the car.  I checked it out and found it was brake fluid.  “How did that happen?” I asked myself.  I took it to the shop and got new lines.  The mechanics didn’t say anything was particularly strange about it.

About a week later I got in the car, and smelled gas.  I got out and took a look under the car and the gas line was leaking!  Now, that was really strange.  I hadn’t been driving on rough terrain or anything and couldn’t figure out what had happened.  Again, to the shop.  This time I specifically asked them to look at the line and let me know what was going on. 

The mechanic came out sort of shaking his head and showed me the line.  “I don’t know what to tell you, but this thing looks CHEWED.”  I looked at the line myself.  Sure enough, it looked for all the world like tooth marks.  But, what would eat a gas line?  “Well, we did find this on the inside of your right front tire.”  He held out a grey and black pin—no, not a pin, a porcupine quill! 

You have got to be kidding.  A porcupine is eating my car?  I went home and started to research porcupines.  They chew on all kinds on things.  I hadn’t noticed the animal because they usually work at night.  I decided to try to catch the animal in the act.  I stayed up all night on Friday and sure enough, in the middle of the night a big pincushion came waddling across my yard and went towards the car again. I ran outside and started towards the animal and then thought better of it.  Did I really want to get in an argument with a porcupine? 

Monday, I called the Pennsylvania Game Commission and they basically told me that porcupine removal was my problem.  The local dog catcher just laughed.  I would have to figure out how to get rid of porcupines on my own.  I did some research online and found out about Wildlife Control Operators.  These companies specialize in removing pest wild animals from people’s lives. 

I called them.  They couldn’t tell me why the animal had chosen my car, but they did know what to do about it. They came out and were able to quickly get rid of the porcupine. My car and I are very happy to live our own peaceful lives again.

Nationwide Porcupine Removal: 1-888-488-1415

Posted in Animal Control, Animal Removal, Porcupine Control | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »