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Common Nuisance Animals in the Winter

The increasingly cold temperatures of the winter weather causes many different types of wild animals to begin looking indoors for shelter and some may even end up within homes. It is important to do some simple pest proofing during the fall to protect a home from animal intrusions but certain troublesome species in the winter may warrant some extra precaution. Homeowners should constantly look out for signs of animal intrusions such as gnaw marks, feces, and scratching noises and make their homes less attractive to animals by keeping garbage sealed and trimming trees and bushes away from the house.

If an intrusive animal is found within a home or building, it is best to contact a wildlife control professional to handle the situation. The following are nuisance species to watch out for this winter and some ways to prevent them from intruding.

Bats are one potential nuisance species that are found in all regions of the United States. Adult bats have dark hairy bodies that range in size from 2 1/8 to 7 ½ inches in length with a possible wingspan of up to 15 inches. Most species find dark, secluded areas to roost such as caves which make indoor areas such as attics and eaves very attractive to them. A bat infestation is a major problem because their droppings can cause property damage and they can spread diseases such as rabies and histoplasmosis to humans. Homeowners should contact wildlife control specialists to handle bat infestations because they are a protected species.

Opossums are another animal that can be a nuisance to homeowners in the winter. These marsupials can grow to over 40 inches in length and are generally found near swamps, in the woods, or in open fields where they inhabit abandoned burrows and tree cavities. Opossums get into homes through the attic or garage and they may also build nests under decks or porches. Homeowners can keep opossums out by sealing off the areas under their deck or porch and ensuring that there are no entry points in their garage, attic, or basement.

Raccoons can also cause problems during the winter as they are one of the most troublesome animals to deal with. They build their dens in secluded spaces such as hollow trees, burrows, and rock crevices and sometimes within a garage or attic. They are often attracted onto a property by food or garbage and once inside; they can cause extensive property damage and spread diseases such as rabies to humans. Homeowners can help prevent attracting raccoons by keeping their garbage secure but because of their difficult nature, an experienced professional should be contacted to handle a raccoon infestation.

The final nuisance animal to watch out for in the winter is the tree squirrel. These squirrels can be found throughout the U.S. and may differ slightly in color and size depending on the species. They typically build nests in trees and when the temperature drops, they look to basements and attics for warmth. Squirrels have the potential to cause extensive property damage by chewing on electrical wires, phone lines, and drywall. Homeowners can help keep squirrels out by sealing off entry points to their basement and attic but should contact a wildlife professional if they are discovered inside.

As the winter season approaches, be sure to look out for these common nuisance animals in your home or property. If an intrusive animal is discovered, contact a professional wildlife expert who is trained to properly and safely remove it.