On more than one occasion, I’m sure you’ve heard the term urban, so what does it mean? The definition of urban says “relating to, or characteristic of a city or town” So now I want to present an idea to you, the readers. One that you may be unfamiliar with. Urban Wildlife. Maybe you’ve heard this term before, maybe you haven’t. But I’m here to talk a little about what urban wildlife is, and how it affects you. Urban wildlife can be found anywhere that supports human life. Just in case you aren’t sure what some good examples are, raccoons, rats, pigeons, mice, and squirrels could all be considered urban wildlife. Think about how often you’ve seen raccoons digging through the dumpster in a back alley, or a squirrel snitching some food off of the ground in front of a trendy food truck. Many people wouldn’t consider this wildlife, in fact, to many people they are simply vermin. You even see animals like deer attempting to cross a busy road, so now I’ve got you thinking, what has this got to do with me? Well, pal, I’ve got news for you, you play a major part in this whole urban wildlife mess.
An increase in the number of wildlife encounters you have could come from a number of factors. A few of those reasons could be habitat loss, noise or light pollution, pollution, or invasive species. This could mean you run into more less than friendly faces while you’re out and about during the day. Fortunately, there are ways you can help minimize the damage this might cause. You can start by locking all of your outdoor garbage cans. This might not seem like a large thing, but having a source for food could draw more unwanted pests. You should also regularly dispose of fallen fruit, use spill-proof birdfeeders, and keep your pets indoors at night. This will do a lot to protect your property. Remember, most of these animals have adapted to be able to handle human encounters, so don’t be afraid to call for extra back up from trained professionals if things get out of hand.
People always assume that the sight of a rat means filth. They couldn’t be more wrong. Some of the most common things that people have problems with when it comes to rats are as follows: They don’t like the look of the tail, they carry diseases, they are aggressive and mean, or they are dirty animals. Although rats can be harmful in certain situations, they are often friendly, shy creatures who are just trying to fit in.
For people who find themselves repulsed by a rats tail, they are there for more than just looks. A rats tail is actually an evolutionary trait that assists in balance. It also works as a personal cooling system, allowing heat out, or constricting to preserve body heat when it gets cold.
Another common misconception is that rats carry deadly diseases. Of course, everyone always mentions the bubonic plague when speaking ill of rats. When in reality, the rats weren’t the cause of the bubonic plague. It was actually a breed of fleas who began the outbreak, they rode on the fur of the rats, and due to the unhygienic times, the disease spread rapidly. Luckily, because we have come so far as a society, we have become a lot more hygienic. Therefore, our chances of contracting that kind of disease are not as likely.
So when people find themselves saying that rats are disgusting, filthy creatures. It’s not that they’re awful people who don’t know what they’re talking about, they’re just uneducated. Of course, rats are still wild animals and deserve respect. So remember that even though they most likely will leave you alone, they still have a fight or flight reaction much like ours. It’s up to us to be smart about how we react with wild animals to make the world a better place for all of us.
The Throne, the Oval Office, the Porcelain Potty. Known by many names, the Toilet. For many people it’s a place of refuge. Somewhere to hide from your kids, read a good magazine, and enjoy regular bowel movements. It’s always been a place for me to do what I need to do and not be bothered. It’s a safe place. Somewhere I knew I wouldn’t be disturbed. Alas, how the times change. It was one of those days, those days when you’re walking on air, nothing can get you down! I had just gotten a promotion at work, I had gotten a free taco for lunch, and the girl of my dreams had just accepted my invitation to go get some dinner later. I was planning on stopping at home to freshen up before heading out to go pick her up.
I waltzed into the bathroom with thoughts of the first date with my dream girl floating through my head. I kicked off my shoes and began to shimmy out of my khaki trousers. I was just about to sit down when I heard the most terrifying noise. *SKREECH SKREECH* I jumped up alarmed, and whirled around to find my worst fears. For sitting in my pristine toilet bowl was none other than a large, black, hairy rat! I screamed and ran out of the bathroom. I wasn’t going to be needing it anymore (if you know what I mean). I bee- lined it to my phone and punched in the number for the pest control company I had relied on in the past.
My heroes in shining overalls were there within the hour to take care of my misfortune. They explained to me that the rat had probably swam up my sewer system and right into my toilet bowl. They assured me that they would take care of the rat and that they’d be here in a jiffy if I ever found one again. It took me quite a while to come to terms with what had happened. I had nightmares for weeks on end about that FILTHY rat. Lucky for me, the worst was over. I Hoped…
My momma always told me to beware of the people. After all, to them we were considered vermin. We lived in their walls, floors, and underneath their homes. Most of the time they don’t notice us until it’s too late. People use the term “multiply like bunnies” but, they should use the term “multiply like rats”. The average size of a rat litter is between six and thirteen. And each momma rat can have a litter a month! Where there’s one, there’s more. But I’m not here to talk about our incredible reproduction skills. I’m here to tell you a story from my grandrats time. A time before PETA and any rats rights activists.
When my grandrat was young, he and his friends used to have competitions to see who could get the closest to humans without getting killed. He lost many of his best friends to this game. In fact, that’s how he lost his best rat friend. But, no matter how often his friends got caught, or how many of his pals lost their lives, they kept playing. My grandrat and his friends would migrate all over the country looking for new victims to play their dangerous game on. One man in particular was named Sam Oldman. He was notoriously ruthless towards rats. The legend was that when he caught and killed a rat he would cut their tails off and use them to make designer handbags for women. Here’s the catch, no rat that ventured into his house came out alive. This made it the ultimate challenge for my grandrat and his friends.
The day that they designated to venture into Mr. Oldman’s house was none other than Friday the thirteenth in October. It’s really the worst possible day don’t you think? Like the most unlucky day of the year. Of course just to make it all better, the weather was stereotypically bad, like stereotypical horror movie bad. The moon was full and the sun had just set. So it really was the worst possible scenario any rat could imagine. My grandrat and his friends found a loose window and were able to wiggle their way in from there. When they entered the house. What they found was worse than any horror movie scene any rat could dream of. What happened in that house will never be known. The happenings that night were so horrific it caused my grandrat to go mute. My grandrat is the only one who made it out of that house alive that night. But even he didn’t get out in one piece, because in Sam Oldman’s house, my grand rat lost his tail.
I think rats are good for a lot of things, like as chefs in a restaurant in Paris or as dinner for Shrek and Donkey; okay basically, they are only good in movies. What I don’t think rats are good for, are party guests so imagine my dismay when I found out I have rats under my deck DURING a party that I was throwing! I WAS NOT VERY AMUSED THAT’S FOR SURE. I’m not even necessarily that upset about the rats being there, I mean it’s a rental property it’s not even my problem to pay for. What I was (and am) upset about, is that I had to find out while sitting in the hot-tub with who could have been the love of my life.
It was like something straight out of the movies man, I can’t believe my (bad) luck. Picture this: I’m in the hot-tub gazing into the blue eyes of the cutest girl on campus, my buddies and the rest of the girls all went inside to give me some alone time to finally make my move. As I lean in for what I’m sure would’ve been the most amazing, fireworks kind of a kiss, she screams and shoots to the other side of the tub. Since it couldn’t have been my breath she was screaming at, I turn around just in time to watch a rat run down the hot-tub steps and under the deck. When my friend Darren looked at me and said the obvious “dude, I think you have rats under your deck”, everyone left as fast as they could, and I could’ve punched him.
Two days later, I haven’t heard from her, and she’s not responding to my texts. My dreams were shattered by Ratatouille! She’s going to remember me as the guy with rats in his deck – that sounds like a disease! I don’t want to be that guy! My landlord is calling around trying to find a company to get rid of them, but I’m so angry I could probably tear up the deck and go full Rambo on them. Hopefully it will get taken care of, and I can be the guy that got rid of the rats under the deck and gets a second chance. I guess we’ll see.
Listen, my sister has a rat running through the walls of her house. It’s invincible; we, can’t, kill it. She actually thinks it’s a squirrel solely based on the fact that she has squirrels in her yard, but I’ve watched it run into the hole behind the refrigerator, I’ve seen the hairless tail whip around as ran for the water heater. I know what it is, but I can’t figure out how to kill it. This thing is attacking her from the walls of her home, and I’m as useless as an ice cube in a snow storm.
This thing has to be monstrous, because it’s causing severe damage. Last week we found one of my nephews onesies pulled behind the couch; anywhere that may have had spit-up, leftover food, or anything other than just fabric was eaten completely through, leaving it in tatters. The bottom inside of the pantry door is covered in claw and teeth marks, woodchips everywhere, and rat droppings hiding in every corner. If you stay through the night, you’ll hear it around 3 in the morning, chewing on anything he can get his grimy little claws on. Not only will you catch snippets of the rat running through the walls, but you can hear it under the floors and in the ceilings. It has a maze of tunnels mapped through every inch of the house, it has chewed holes through the walls to get inside, and it’s not stopping. Just yesterday I heard it behind the fridge, so I pulled it away from the wall and discovered it had chewed through much of the wiring. I can’t believe how much has happened in only 2 weeks of its being here.
I want to help my sister, I’ve tried everything. I’ve set traps and baits only to find the springs released with nothing inside, and boxes of poison emptied to no avail. Every day it comes back and taunts me, daring me to try to kill it another way, but I have nothing left (short of shooting holes in my sisters walls). I know she called me to help, but I think I’m out of my league here, we need some professional help. Before we know it, it will have chewed through the foundation and leave us to watch the house collapse before moving on to torment another family. This rat in the walls, or squirrel, or whatever it is needs to be gone.
We’ve tried everything to get rid of the raccoons in the attic, but at this point it seems impossible. They’ve been there for what, a couple of months now? I can’t pinpoint an exact time because we actually didn’t know they were there until a month or so ago, which is when we first saw the mother raccoon go into the attic. Before that, we just heard the occasional bumps and creaks that we gave the old house credit for. We would have been none the wiser if our neighbor’s cat hadn’t gotten into a tiff with the raccoon, leaving us to investigate the commotion and catch the raccoon crawling through a gap in the soffit.
After that we listened carefully to the sounds from above the ceiling, and it became fairly clear to us that there was more than just one raccoon in the attic, she had babies, so we started to do our research. Anything we could think of we looked up: how to get rid of raccoons in the attic, trapping raccoons, the most effective raccoon removal methods; all of it. After we made a list of possible solutions, we started to check them off one at a time. We turned the lights on in the attic, we started playing loud music during the day when we were gone, we set traps outside where we thought we might catch the mother, and we even put ammonia soaked rags up there with a fan to blow the smell around. We took every step possible, and we thought it had worked.
Not long after we had started harassing the raccoons, I saw the mother leave the attic with what looked like a baby in her mouth. We were ecstatic! After we celebrated for a minute, my husband went out and sealed off the gap we saw her entering and exiting through. We went to bed happy that night, thinking all was well. Of course, happy endings are for fairy tales and the next night the raccoon came back, tore the soffit open again, and has been hiding out there for the last 4 days (she hasn’t left once). We can’t hear any babies anymore, but we don’t know what she’s doing up there and we have nothing left to try. Please, we need some serious help to get rid of the raccoon in our attic, I can’t keep doing this.
Around this time last year, we had rats in the walls. I look back on the whole situation and I’m kind of surprised that I didn’t realize it beforehand. I would find little black pellets both inside my house and on the deck near some gaps in the siding. Obviously I’m not completely oblivious, I recognized the pellets and feces and assumed it was a small mouse problem so I set out some mouse traps here and there, but never had any success so I assumed the feces I had found was old and that my cat had already killed the culprits.
That was until one night I was enjoying old NCIS reruns, and my TV stopped working. I tried turning it off and on, and plugging and unplugging it but still nothing; no sound, no static, no anything. I wasn’t exactly sure what to do so I Googled possible problems. I came up with a blown fuse, faulty cord or plug, or even a failed power supply; I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with that information so I called my neighbor and asked if he’d come take a look. He came and checked everything he could and said he wasn’t sure why it wouldn’t work, everything seemed perfectly fine and nothing else was down. I had to wait out the night in radio silence until the cable company could come in the morning.
When they did, I was genuinely surprised at what they had found! It wasn’t a problem with any of the actual electrical sources, but something had chewed through the cable in the wall that fed to the back of the TV. After that I called in a Wildlife Technician and they were able to identify my problem: there were rats in the walls. It took a month or so to get them all trapped and all of the mess they left behind cleaned up, but I was very happy with the outcome. Now I can sit and watch my shows without any worry of rats chewing up my wires.
I’ve been a mailman for about thirty years now, and boy let me tell you about some of the things you see. And it’s not just the people, either! I’ve seen my fair share of home drama, yelling, throwing lamps, and storm outs; but it’s the encounters with animals that I’ll never forget. At this point I’m surprised they don’t train you in animal control as well as package identification! Beyond dogs and cats, I’ve seen raccoons, bats, mice, and a load of other wild animals.
The most common ones (for me at least) are the snakes, especially during the hotter months. They’ll lay themselves out on sidewalks, driveways, and even porches. When I was a Boy Scout I learned to identify most of the snakes in my area, so I can always tell whether or not they’re poisonous, but the people inside the house aren’t as capable. Once, when I was delivering a package that needed a signature, a big ol’ bull snake was out sunning himself on the porch. Well when the young miss from the house opened the door and got a look at him, she screamed so loud I just about dropped the package, then she fell unconscious right in front of me!
Another time, I was trying to deliver quite a large package but no one was answering the door so I opened the screen to leave a note with the date and time I came and a bat flew down and hit me square in the head! I guess it had been sleeping between the screen door and the front door and I had woken it up with my door bell ringing. I even got sprayed by a skunk once! I was walking down the steps after dropping off some mail and out of nowhere (but actually from under the stairs), a skunk sprayed everywhere. I guess I had spooked it from stomping around, who knows? All I know is after all of these years, I definitely consider myself a well-rounded expert on both mail delivery, and wildlife.
I have so many wildlife problems, I don’t know where to start. The most recent is the skunk problem, which started around two weeks ago. Surprisingly that one is the least problematic, I mean yeah it stinks (literally), but it causes less damage than the others. But, no matter what it still stinks so I need to have it taken care of. I think they’re burrowing underneath my porch, and I don’t even know how many there actually are whether it’s one or five or more! It really doesn’t matter how many, because I need them to vacate the premises ASAP.
The next wildlife problem is the raccoons; this one is the second most costly issue. A mother and her four babies have decided that the overhang of my deck is the best place to shack up. Not only is it inconvenient and probably hazardous, but it can be scary, too. When you walk out the backdoor onto the deck, the mother goes crazy above you; she’ll hiss and scratch and the babies will mew, it’s very aggravating. This is also a more recent issue, the raccoons started just before the skunk, but my biggest problem started WAY before that.
Woodpeckers. Not that bad? Try again. Woodpecker holes aren’t just used by woodpeckers. Apparently smaller birds, rats, squirrels, and even bats will use the woodpecker holes as homes; and I have seen all of the animals I just mentioned inside of at least one woodpecker hole on my house. This has been happening for months, and no matter what DIY method I find on the internet to get the woodpecker to go away, it just keeps right on pecking. I am so over it, all of it. I’m sick of the skunks, the raccoons, the birds – I’m sick of the whole lot of them. SOMEONE HELP ME!!!