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So You Think You Can Trap?

People are always wanting to do their own wildlife removal; they don’t see why they should pay someone else for it and they don’t understand all the work that actually goes into it.  We constantly get calls with people prying for information on how to really do it themselves, which is great.  We aren’t anti-DIY, but we are pro-safety and a lot of times the safest and most reasonable thing, is to let us handle whatever wildlife problem they’ve got.  We aren’t money hungry people – I mean obviously we want to be paid for our work, but if something genuinely isn’t a bid deal we will help you deal with it yourself, but if it is then you can expect us to try and do the work ourselves.

For example, last fall we had a man call us with a raccoon problem, and I have to let you know that raccoons are some of the animals that people most often want to deal with themselves, but are the ones we recommend you just pay a professional to take care of for you.  Mother raccoons can be one of the most aggressive and dangerous animals that we handle regularly because they are most often the ones that move into people’s chimneys and attics, they want someplace safe to have their babies.  When people who don’t know what they’re doing mess with that, they can cause serious injury to both the animals and sometimes themselves.  If you were to throw a mother raccoon out without knowing how to remove the babies (or that there were babies at all), the mother could come back and rip into the house another way, or the babies could starve to death in the home.  Not to mention when trying to remove a mother raccoon without the proper tools, she could do some serious damage to a person.

Even our trained professionals, people that have been working with wildlife for years, have difficulties at times.  Not last week we had a technician doing raccoon removal from a chimney, and when he put the repellent down the chimney the raccoon went nuclear and shot up the flume to attack him.  Luckily, he was experienced and knew how to properly handle the situation to avoid any harm to himself and the mother raccoon, but it’s not likely that any regular homeowner could do the same thing.  Let me put it this way, you wouldn’t see LeBron having a hard time during a game and sub yourself in, you would let the professional handle the situation and trust he and his team know what is best.

Ghost Busted

There’s an animal in our attic, I’m not sure what it is but I know that it’s big and it has babies up there with it.  It must have only gotten up there in the last two weeks because that’s when my husband and I left for vacation – aka that’s when Tyler put his golf clubs through the floor and probably opened up space for an animal to get inside.  He was trying to get a suitcase (playing with his driver)  when he caught one of the beams with a golf club, staggered backwards, and put the butt of his club through the thin wall separating the outside world from our unfinished attic.  I assume that’s where the animal tore an even larger hole through the wall and got in.

The problem is (besides the fact that there’s an animal in the attic) that we were leaving for a 10 day trip to Mexico to celebrate our anniversary and left our house in the hands of the neighbors 16 year-old son.  He’s the one that called us about 2 days after we left, terrified by the ghost haunting our attic.  I brushed him off and told him the house wasn’t haunted it’s just old so it creaks and that he shouldn’t worry.  But 3 days after that he called again, in hysterics that there was, in fact, someone in the attic.  He went up there to investigate the sounds and was met by horrible screeching and howling, which is when he sprinted from the house and nearly called the cops.  Basically, I had to find someone else to water my plants and I spent the rest of my vacation restless to get home and solve the problem.

Now that I think about it, it’s very likely that the animal in the attic is a raccoon.  If she just had babies she would have been very defensive when Xander climbed into the attic hollering at the disturbed spirit that “needed to go into the light”.  But, that leaves me with another problem.  I have no idea how to handle a raccoon problem, especially if babies are involved.  I need someone with a little more experience, preferably a trapper and NOT an exorcist.

A Mound of Problems

I have a major rock chuck problem in the field behind my house, and it’s starting to creep up into my back lawn.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there were gophers or ground squirrels too, but I know that the rock chuck is for sure because we’ve caught him on the security camera on three separate occasions, running through the yard.  There are also large holes dotting the perimeter of our property, and scattered throughout the field.  The smaller holes I would attribute to a smaller rodent like gophers or ground squirrels, which is still a problem that I’d like to have solved since there’s nothing quite as irksome as working for years to have beautiful landscaping only to have it ruined by overrated rats.

I know that to an outsider of our situation, taking care of the rock chucks in a field might seem unnecessary or even extreme, but I’m not going to let this situation escalate any further out of my control than it already is.  Last month, our best horse had to be put down because of a broken leg.  Can you guess how she broke it? If you guessed that she was running and got her foot caught in a large rock chuck hole then you would be the winner.  My concern for this rock chuck problem was already heightened because of that, but when last week my daughter sprained her ankle from tripping in one of the holes I drew the line.  I will not have my children, animals, or anyone else for that matter, put at risk by something that I could get a handle on if I put the time in.

The issue is that I’m not a good enough shot to wipe the rock chucks out myself, my husband isn’t home early enough to try, and neither of us have any of the necessary licensing to be able to use conobear traps (kill traps).  And besides that, I wouldn’t want to set a trap that powerful up in my field with my horses running around; there’s been enough damage as it is.  I’m looking for other solutions and someone with the proper paperwork to act on those solutions.  I just need to solve this rock chuck problem, and hopefully the gopher/ground squirrel problems, as soon as possible.

Got Skunks?

We have skunks under our house, do you know how to take care of that? If you said no, then we’re on the same page and this can be like a little AA meeting: Hi, I’m Amber and I have a skunk problem.  But, then again, if you said yes we are not on the same page; you are chapters ahead of me; please help.  My husband is in the Air Force so he’s currently stationed in Turkey for the next two months, or I’m sure he would know how to deal with this.  He’s been doing his best to coach me over skype, but I’m just not a woman that was made to deal with this sort of thing.  You give me a set of numbers and I’m all over it, you give me a puzzle I LOVE it; but you give me anything that matters in real time, I’m stumped.  I’m school smart, not street smart; I don’t like it but I can admit to it.

Okay, I’m off track: the skunk.  So a couple of weeks, or maybe even a month, ago a skunk sprayed somewhere off behind my yard and I didn’t think much of it, except I was a little upset that I would have to smell skunk for the next few weeks. But then, Friday night when I got home (it was a little late), I saw something run around the back corner of my house and that night the skunk smell was a little bit more potent than it had been since the skunk first sprayed.  I called my husband the next morning and he told me to check around the house and see if anything looked out of place.  I did a lap of the perimeter and noticed a fairly sized hole tucked right into the corner where the deck meets the outer wall of the house.  I’ll admit, I panicked a little bit at the thought of a skunk living under my house, but Jess (sorry, that’s my husband – Jesse) told me to wait until it was dark outside and then I could probably fill the hole and not have any problems with it.

When you don’t know much about what you’re doing, you just follow directions so that night around 10, I took some fertilizer I had in the shed and poured it into the hole until I felt like it was good and filled.  Sunday morning I woke up feeling very proud of myself and went to check my good work, except it wasn’t nearly as good as I thought it was.  In fact, it was so NOT good that I buried the skunk under the house, and he or she (I don’t discriminate) dug their way up and out, which meant I still had a problem.  That night I could definitely tell something was back under the house, so I called Jesse in the morning and told him what happened. He wants me to trap it but let’s be honest, if I couldn’t work dirt I won’t be able to work a trap.  I know he doesn’t want me to call someone for help, but I don’t want to do this myself and I can’t realistically wait for Jesse to come home and do it.  I need help!

A Thief in the Night

You would not believe the day I had yesterday, first I had to fire my best Sales Lead because he was skimming on the sales profits, and then I get home to find a raccoon had killed one of my chickens, kidnapped another, and scared the others eggless.  At first I didn’t even think that it was possible they could have been taken out of the cage, considering it is completely wired off – even on top.  Not to mention my yard its self is fenced off from the neighbors and the street to keep my dogs in and, I had hoped, other predators out.

With everything happening at work, I got home fairly late, around 10 o’clock.  All I wanted to do was eat ANYTHING that wasn’t fast food (it was a long day), take a hot shower, and get some sleep.  It was around 11 when I was just getting out of the shower and I heard squawking, barking, and a whole lot of movement.  I ran outside to see a raccoon climb out of the chicken pen with a squirming hen in hand and a dead one right behind.  I was a little stunned as I watched it run across the yard and climb into one of my trees where he proceeded to kill the other chicken.  Honestly, at that point I didn’t feel like I could do anything so I just watched as he ran down the tree, up the fence, and off into the night.

I’m (mostly) at peace with what happened last night, I don’t feel like there was anything I could have done to stop it; but I’m not okay with that raccoon thinking he can come into my yard at any time for some free dinner so I need to take some more preventative steps so my chickens and dogs are safe in the future.  I’m not sure if this is something I would set out traps for?  I’m going to call a local wildlife company and get their opinion on whether or not I should try and catch the specific raccoon or if I should just redo my chicken coop for added security and get bigger dogs.  I’m kidding about the dogs, but I really do need to do something and I need to do it before that raccoon comes back.

Cinderella’s Little Homewreckers

We’ve got a serious mouse problem in our kitchen, and no matter what we do we can’t seem to catch all of them.  It’s been happening for the last four or five months and is driving me bipity-bopity bonkers.  It started out small, where we would just see little black mouse turds here and there on the kitchen floor so we set out a couple traps to see what would happen.  We only caught one, but we figured the problem was solved, since it seemed so small in the first place, but we were wrong.  It only escalated from there.

Even though immediately following the capture of the first mouse things died down, not long after they picked up rapidly.  Before we knew it, there were piles of mouse droppings all over the kitchen and even inside the pantry and washroom.  Then after that, the mice started to chew through bags and boxes inside of the pantry, meaning in the time-span of this mouse problem, quite a bit of our food storage could have been contaminated.  I have two young children, and I won’t even risk feeding them something that could harbor sickness from these rodents.

After we first discovered them in the pantry, we bought 20 more traps and set them up all over the house (but mostly in the kitchen).  We’ve caught 12 mice now, but are still seeing signs of activity.  At this point, this mouse problem is the biggest stressor in my life and so this is my cry for help.  I know my husband wants to fight this battle himself, but I can’t deal with it anymore, I’m calling in the special ops!  Professionals are coming in tomorrow and bringing the arsenal with them, it’s still possible for me to live happily ever after – mouse free!

Squirrels Gone Wild

The squirrels in my backyard are nutty – if you can ignore the stupid pun I just made and finish this story, you’ll see I’m being serious. About a month ago, three squirrels showed up in my backyard out of nowhere.  At first I wasn’t necessarily worried about it considering they are squirrels and they do live outside and my backyard is indeed, outside.  Why would anyone be scared of three, harmless squirrels? Well, it turns out that geese are not the only demon possessed animals in the world.  Squirrels also land in the category of unpredictably evil beasts that you can never trust.

Why am I so passionate about my vehement hatred for these squirrels? Let me just tell you.  THEY ARE VICIOUS!  They moved in to the overhang of my porch, and when I try to go outside, they hiss and basically run down the wall at my face.  So far they haven’t actually attacked me, but its close enough!  They will also bite and scratch through my screen door; in one month I’ve already had to replace it, and I don’t doubt I’ll have to do it again soon!  Considering that it is spring time, I’m very worried that they’re going to multiply and then I won’t just have adult squirrels in my backyard, but their baby demon spawn as well.

Basically, I need a solution that’s more environmentally friendly than my .22 because I’m getting closer and closer to that point every day.  I’m especially worried because in two weeks my nephews are coming to stay with me while their parents are out of town and I don’t want them to go home telling stories about the psychotic squirrels in my backyard.  I just want this problem solved ASAP.  If I can’t find someone else to take care of them for me, I’m just going to have to do it myself.  The only crazy animal allowed on my property is me!

Living with a Litterbug

I’ve got a major mouse problem, it’s not an Australia in the summer kind of major, but for a small 3 bedroom townhouse – it’s major. I have never had a problem with mice before, I mean yeah one here and there over my entire lifetime, but never 5 in one week. I’m trying to get rid of them on my own but every time I set a trap I catch a new one, and then when I turn around another is running across the floor into the wall. I think my house might be infested and I can’t deal with that alone! I need help from someone who knows what they’re doing and doesn’t cry every time they have to pick them up. I’m a vegetarian, so killing animals is not my thing, but I have to do what I have to do I guess.
I wish I could say that I had no clue why this was happening, but I know EXACTLY who to blame for this disaster that I’m currently living in. I’m a junior in college and I rent this townhouse with two other girls – actually, it’s currently just one other girl. The girl that USED to sleep in the room next to mine was evicted two weeks ago because she was practically a hoarder and was destroying the room. The owners told me and my roommate that if we’d be willing to clean up what she left behind and get the room back in order, we could have a month or two rent free – depending on the size of the mess. Well, guess where we found the mouse problem. DING DING DING! There are four holes in the walls in the room, and that’s where we are catching every single mouse.
So far, we haven’t seen any outside of the one bedroom, but with the crazy amount that we’ve been catching, I’m afraid our mouse problem is getting out of hand. Everyone is collectively trying to get rid of these things and looking for help. I’m not going to lie, having someone else kill the mice for me isn’t my only motive in looking for a professional (though it is a big one). I’m also hoping that maybe, I can get another month off of rent if I can solve this problem for good. And I mean, obviously I can’t keep living in a house with a mouse infestation, so I’m hoping that they’ll clear out so I can keep living here. Finding good housing in college is hard enough.

Chim-chiminey

There are raccoons in my chimney – or, at least according to my chimney sweep there are.  I know it seems a little out of date – and very Marry Poppins – to have a chimney sweep, but it’s been very useful for me to have someone maintaining my chimney flus for me.  And not to mention that he’s the reason that I’ve discovered the raccoons in the first place.  It’s a yearly cleaning service, so I know for a fact they weren’t here last year!

We’ve been hearing soft scratching sounds on the side of our house for maybe a month or so, but since we have trees surrounding our house that’s what we credited for the noises.  When the chimney sweep came, he first noticed that there was some kind of animal scat littered across the roof, in quite alarming amounts.  That’s what first clued him in on the raccoons in the chimney, it was too much poop to be a one time thing so he shone a light down the flu before he got started.  I guess, two big shining eyes met him, and he went inside to the fireplace to see if he could get a peek through the damper at what was living inside.  When he cracked it open, he was greeted by soft mews from distressed babies, and the hisses and growls from the mother raccoon.

I’ve been on a work trip while all of this was happening, but he’s been doing our service for years now and I trust him greatly.  Not to mention that I’ve heard sounds on the side of the house and the roof as well before I left.  I’m sure that if I went home and checked everything he said would check out.  That being said, I need to get some help.  Not only do I need the raccoons out of my chimney, but I still need to finish having my chimney cleaned.  Anything would help!

What the Hole?

I discovered rock chucks under my house this morning, so a big happy birthday to me! It has been quite the day, I woke up to a delicious pancake breakfast from my sweet daughters with strawberries and orange juice!  My boss told me I could come in to work later, and my husband had dinner reservations for that evening; it really seemed like my 35th birthday was going to be my best birthday yet.  Except that when I went to get into my car for work, I went out the side door and as I stepped off the concrete pad, my foot went into a hole my very fresh, very hot coffee went all over me.

One trip to the ER later, I’m home with a sprained ankle, first-degree burns on my hand and wrist, and no idea where the hole outside my door came from.  But, since my kids are at school and my husband left for work I’ve had plenty of time to look it up.  I found an article that talked about woodchucks and skunks, but since I’ve never smelled any kind of skunk spray I focused on the woodchucks, which are small gopher-like creatures.  They definitely don’t seem like they could make a hole the size of the one I fell into so I kept digging, and there it was: yellow-bellied marmots, also known as rock chucks, and it looks like one (or possible more) of these rock chucks is under my house.

I’m a lot of things, but a wildlife removal specialist is not one of them, and contrary to what my husband might tell you, he’s not that great of a shot so it seems like I’m going to have to hire someone to come trap this thing.  Having it dig around down there is definitely not a good thing, I read that if their tunnels get extensive enough, they could cause foundational damage or undermine driveways and sidewalks!  How crazy is that!  If falling into a hole was what it had to take to get this rock chuck out from under my house is what it took to stop it before major damage, then I guess it’s not that awful.  Besides, I got the day off, and it’s still my birthday.