Friday, January 30, 2009

Prevention of Larger Animals Entering Homes This Season

As we approach into colder weather, wild animals may move closer to or into our homes. They are ultimately in search of warmth and may invade under homes or in attics. It is always easier to prevent invasion than to remove them. This makes EXCLUSION the key to the prevention of wildlife invaders. Exclusion is the best way to prevent entry. Remember that rats and mice can fit through holes as small as ¼ inch in diameter, so be sure to seal all areas where sunlight can be seen. Exclusion can be accomplished by using steel mesh in the attic to close off possible entry points. The steel mesh can be stapled or nailed around whirly birds, vents and other openings in the attic. Weep holes and cracks and crevices can be sealed using steel wool. If the outside brick is light colored, then non-rust copper steel can be used. Both steel wool and steel mesh can be found at hardware stores. Trees should also be trimmed away from structures. When tree limbs are touching houses, it becomes a perfect bridge for the animals to enter homes.
Also proper sanitation is important to prevent animals from approaching homes. All food containers should be cleaned and properly contained in closed bins, in order to avoid animals entering garbage or recycle containers. Bird seed and other food items should be stored in a sealed container. Clothes, blankets and fleece should also be stored in sealed container, in order to avoid rats and other animals nesting in the materials.
If wild animals are living in or near your home, you must first figure out what animal it is before control should be taken. Mice and rats can be trapped using sticky or snap traps. These traps should be placed perpendicular to the wall, in areas where you see droppings, gnawing, urine stains, or scratch marks.
Call the city or wildlife department if larger animals are believed to be living in homes/structures. Most departments will donate a live cage trap for a period of time and most cities will pick up the trapped animals when they are caged.

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