Vole Removal

vole removal
There I was, enjoying a sweet stalk of juicy cattail, when I heard the loudest rumble and crash, and this vole removed itself from the comfortable little den I’d made.  Popping my tiny head outside, I saw a huge scary thing eating up the ground in front of me.  I’d heard of this happening to other voles – it seems the humans enjoy digging deep into the ground to build their dens.  I’d never experienced it myself until now!

            Leaving everything behind me, I ran as fast as my little legs could carry me across the meadow where I’d burrowed my whole life.  I scurried around giant piles of stuff that man had scattered around, my heart beating so fast I thought I’d drop dead mid-flight.  I stopped to catch my breath and squeaked in fright as I noticed the hawk circling overhead.  I had to find shelter and I had to find it fast.  But, first, I had to wait until that hawk found somewhere else to hover.

            As soon as it veered away, I was off, streaking across the ground.  Where could I find soft, malleable ground, with lots of green things to eat and plenty of water?  When would I reach a safe place where I could tunnel around, chew on sweet tender roots, and burrow safely underground?  Why would those people want me, a beautiful vole removed?

            A large wooden something stood in my way, stretching along the meadow for as far as I could see.  Nothing for it, must burrow underneath and hope I could pop out somewhere on the other side.  Digging quickly, dirt flying, I soon made a hole just big enough for me.  Paws scrabbling, it wasn’t long before I came out the other side, and found . . . paradise.

            A quiet, huge expanse of green grass.  It was slightly damp under my sensitive paws, an excellent sign that there was plenty of water.  I stopped and looked around, ready for any danger.  Nothing, just unadulterated greenness.  Low lying plants gave me plenty of cover.  Joyously, I dug and dug, making new tunnels wherever I felt like it.  I found the roots of a young tree.  Nibble, nibble!  Flower bulbs.  Munch, munch!  Beautiful bark from the base of an older tree that I could rip off into little pieces.  One new tunnel led me directly to tender juicy carrots and roots of all kinds of new vegetables I’d never experienced before.  What more could a vole ask for?

            No humans around, except someone peeping out of a window.  They think I’m cute!  No vole removal going on here, obviously.  Here, take my picture!  I’ll nibble on this plant with my tiny little paws, whiskers twitching.  Aren’t I just adorable?

Swallow Removal

swallow removal
“Hey there, Lila, you call for swallow removal, yet?”  Emily asked her neighbor.

            “What do you mean?  Why would we want those pretty little birds removed?”  Lila was a pretty brunette who loved animals a little too much, in Emily’s opinion.  Emily liked her home pristine and cats, dogs, birds and turtles were just mess-makers in her opinion.  Lila, however, liked the company and noise of her animals, and obviously enjoyed watching wild creatures, too. 

            “What?  You don’t want to get rid of them?” Emily asked, incredulous. 

            “Why on earth would I do that?  I just love to watch little Miss Flighty build her nest.  She’s so pretty.”

            Inside, Emily groaned.  Lila had actually named the little bird, and it wasn’t even a clever name.  She probably had picked out names for all the babies in eggs that hadn’t even been laid yet. 

            “Well, I guess you don’t mind the mess she’s making on your front porch,” Emily said, as nicely as she could.  The little bird was building her mud nest, bit by bit, on the stucco overhang right over the front porch.  The porch itself was slowly accumulating a pile of mud and bird droppings.  Emily knew it was going to stain the concrete, but she also knew Lila probably didn’t care one way or the other about her front porch.

            Lila, however, was enjoying watching the little bird from her window.  She loved noting the daily progress of nest-making.  Swallow removal hadn’t even crossed her mind.  She was an avid bird-watcher, and had put up several bird feeders in her back yard.  This was a real treat for her.

            Emily tried again.  “I sure hope no one slips on the bird droppings and falls.  They could sue.”  Emily wasn’t really known for her tact. 

            That got Lila to thinking.  She’d been cited before by the city for having too many pets than were allowed, and didn’t like to think what would happen if she were sued by someone.  But, still, these were beautiful wild creatures and she loved watching nature take its course.  She said as much to Emily.

            Emily nodded, and said she figured the joy of bird-watching probably outweighed the likelihood of legal action.  But, then, she brought up something that Lila hadn’t known.  Swallow bugs. 

            “Swallow bugs?”  Lila asked.

            “Oh, yes, they’re blood suckers and they live on the birds.  Of course, they sometimes drop off and infest wherever the birds are living.  They’re like fleas and will attack cats or dogs or . . .”

            Lila called for swallow removal the moment Emily left.

Rat Removal

rat removal
What is it about rat removal that makes us humans squeal and squeak like rats ourselves?  One couple had glimpses of a furry body and long tail every now and then, and were determined they would rid their house of the rat.  Rats can have up to 200 offspring in two years, so they could not wait to get the little beastie out of their house!  Determining to corner the creature and get it out of the house is a much braver endeavor than the actual act, however.  They plotted and schemed how to go about the rat removal in normal voices, bravely figuring how they would do it.

When they were reasonably certain the rat was in their bathroom, they would block off the room with a toddler gate, and the man would enter the bathroom with a box and a broom.  Everyone nodded.  This was a good plan.

Rat nibbling on a ladle.
Rat nibbling on a kitchen ladle.
(Artwork by Sharon Davis. Contact us for her contact info.)

A tail was spotted from behind a decorative box on the floor.  Go-time!  The room was blocked off, the box and broom were in hand, and the man stalked into the room.

“EEEEEEEAAAAAA” The woman squealed in a voice only her dog could hear.  “I see it I see it I see it!”

“What, where?”

“I see the tail, I see the tail, right where I saw it before!”

The man tentatively pokes at the decorative box with his broom and the rat leaps out into open view for a second before scurrying to find another hiding place.  “OOOAAAAA, it’s moving!”

In response, the man pokes about with his broom.  The rat flees to the other side of the bathroom.

“EEEEEE, Oh, oh, oh, oh!!”

More poking around with the broom.

“AAAA, he’s jumping, he’s jumping!”

The man wonders just how helpful his wife is, squealing and screaming like that.  She squeaks out a string of expletives before finally crying out, “Holy crap!” as the dog looks at her as if to say, “It’s just a rat.”

The man grabs his trusty box, and, leaning in as far as he dares into the bathroom, drops it squarely on the rat.  Then, just to make sure, he uses the broom to lift the box back up.  Of course, the rat runs out to freedom, as the woman screeches again.  This is not an easy rat removal, but it is a loud one!

Finally, the man is able to drop the box on the rat again, but only then realizes the box is not taped together, and the rat will likely be able to jump right out.

“It’s structurally unsound!” the woman squeals.  She’s been impossible to understand until now, but she uses the term structurally unsound?  The man sighs and places the broom on top of the box in the hopes that it will keep the rat squarely inside until he arrives back on the scene with duct tape.  At least, he can look back on the incident with dignity, having refrained from screaming and sounding like . . . well, his wife.

Raccoon Removal

raccoon removal
She thought she’d found a place safe from anyone attempting a raccoon removal.  Quiet, warm, free from predators such as bobcats, cougars or coyotes, the attic she found would protect her babies while giving them the best shelter she could find.  It was certainly better than the small hole in the rotten tree outside where it was freezing cold and wet from the slushy rain that had been almost nonstop. 

            Digging a small depression in the attic’s insulation, she gave birth to her four cubs.  At night, she would slink out for a short time, forage for food, and go straight back to her nest. 

It was a perfect life.  Warm, protected, with plenty of food, she was prepared to hole up in this soft place with her cubs for a couple of months.

Everything was just fine for a few weeks, until . . .

            Scratch, Thump!  A form appeared from the floor, and then, threw something onto the wooden beams and foamy insulation with a muted clang.  A bright light swung around the warm, dark space, catching her eyes and making them gleam in the darkness.  This was it, this was the thing she feared.  Raccoon removal. 

            There were at least two of them, great big men armed with a shovel and heavy gloves, growling incomprehensibly at each other.  Reacting quickly, she snapped up the nearest cub in her teeth and ran to the far end of the attic, hoping to get back to the nest in time to snatch up another one.  No such luck, the men were faster.  There they stood by her babies, hunched over, huge, shining that awful light into her eyes and muttering.  All she could do was growl and bare her teeth, hoping that would be enough to frighten them away from the nest.  She would charge them if she had to, but she desperately hoped it wouldn’t be necessary. 

            All four of her babies, including the one she had next to her, shivered with small, weak chitters, crying out for her, crying out for life to return to the safe haven they had known until now.  She paced angrily, nervously, never once taking her eyes off these men who had come for raccoon removal. 

            No!  One of the men reached down and scooped up two of her cubs in one hand, placing them gently in a bag.  Anguished, she watched the last of the remaining cubs in the nest disappear into the bag as well.  She was not going to let them get her final cub, safely curled at her feet.  A shovel landed near her, but she didn’t even flinch.  She was not going to make raccoon removal an easy thing for these men to do.

            She feared for her own life, as well as that of her cubs as she was dragged out of that attic, shoved into a cage and hauled outside to be placed on a large truck.  Her fears quickly turned to relief when she was quickly reunited with all four of her cubs and taken to another warm shelter.  Nothing would ever be as warm or as comfortable and free as that soft den in the attic, though.

Pigeon Removal

I LOVE pigeons – no need to call for pigeon removal when you can just call me and have me come in and clean up after them.  Big Red’s my name and cleaning pigeon guano’s my game!  Just pay me year after year to clean up the sticky, gooey mess left by those loveable little flyin’ critters. 

            Do you have a great view from your balcony, as long as you don’t look at the floor?  A wrap-around porch that crunches when you walk on it?  Those little varmints can git into a garage or attic and make such a mess as you’ve never seen!  Gimmee a call, and I’ll pressure-wash it for ya.  Course, I’ll be back, thanks to those beautiful flying rats called pigeons. Those birds paid for my RV.  I plan to drive around in that beauty when I retire, and visit all the big cities where the big flocks live.  Sakes alive, I love to bird watch!

            Pigeon guano has ammonia and corrosive acids that eat away at structures.  You don’t call me, it’ll turn into a concentrated salt that, when combined with rainwater, will rust anything.  Some people even think it was responsible for a bridge collapsing – awful, awful.  Imagine what it’s doing to your beautiful balcony with a view.  It’s been said it can dissolve concrete.  But, you don’t want me gettin’ into all the science n’ stuff – just trust me, it’s not just an eyesore, that stuff.  It’s bad for the building and dangerous for you.

            Pigeon removal?  Sure, you could call a professional to get rid of them, but let’s face it.  Why disturb the circle of life?  Pigeons live, pigeons poop, and I need a steady income of cleaning up after ‘em.  See, circle of life!  My life, that is.

            Am I afraid of getting those nasty diseases that pigeon guano can cause?  Eh, not really.  I mean, I wear my face mask, suit up, and put on my heavy gloves before I power wash that stuff away.  It’s nasty, too.  When it’s dried, and parts of it is floatin’ in the air, it can get right into your lungs.  Better hope you’re healthy enough to fight off those fungal infections!   

            Course, as long as you call me in to clean it up, you won’t be too affected by sickness.  I mean, that stuff can cause pneumonia, fever, chills, muscle aches – all kinds of nasty.  I have to make sure I’m real protected when I come in, and hopefully, I’m careful enough that I do it right and keep you safe from disease.   

            I’m a straight-shooter, so I’ll be honest now and tell ya the best thing you can do is get rid of those critters by calling a pigeon removal service.  But, you still gotta deal with the mess left behind.  That’s where I come in!  Plus, I’ve got this real pretty place in Florida I wanna see from my RV, and I could sure use the gas money.  Gimme a call and I’ll get rid of the nasties for ya.

Gopher Removal


gopher removal
            Labor Day is the perfect day for hanging out at the park, enjoying the sunshine, letting the kids play, barbequing, flying kites, and thinking about gopher removal.  Well, you’d hope it wasn’t that last one, but a group of picnickers were surprised to see a gopher pop up, bold as you please, out of a hole in the middle of a large crowd. 

            After the initial shock, it became the center of attention and the topic of all conversations.  Its little head poking around at the top of its hole, sniffing, looking around, and generally being adorable.

            It explained some of the other holes all around the area.  Some of the kids had tripped and fallen as they played, their little feet tripping over the gopher holes.  A few women oohed and aahed over the cute little rodent, which had already disappeared into its hole and then popped back out again, with a scoop of dirt between its paws.  Admittedly, it was cute, if you like that sort of thing.  Light brown with little black eyes and tiny little paws.  It had no fear at all of the people standing and playing around its holes.  It knew it could just dive back down out of reach at the first sign of trouble. 

            But, some of the more observant members of the crowd looked around at the park and spotted the damage.  Some of the trees were dying.  Bark was stripped off the bottom of the trunks and they looked like they dying of thirst, their roots having been eaten by the gopher.  One tree was leaning over dangerously, it was probably undermined enough to topple one of these days.  The grassy park was littered with splotches of dirt, splayed out and around the holes. 

            But, for now, it was Labor Day, and no one was probably working at the city offices to take the call, requesting gopher removal from the park.  Never mind that gophers usually attract larger predators that might lurk around after dark, hoping to catch a tasty treat.  Weasels, skunks, bobcats, snakes would all love a gopher meal.  Never mind that gophers can carry lice, fleas, ticks or mites, or even carry diseases such as monkey pox or rabies. 

            No, for the moment, it is considered a cute distraction, an extra attraction to the festivities at the park on Labor Day.  Children continue to play, sometimes peering down a newly discovered hole in the hopes of seeing another one.  Parents continue to drink their drinks and talk and maybe take a picture or two of the wild creature joining in on the party.  They can think about gopher removal another day, right?

Bat Removal

bat removal
The realtor was excited to show this particular house, newly built, spacious, prime location, but he had no idea he would have to do a bat removal before he could sell the home.

He daydreamed about what he might buy with the commission from this house as he pulled into the brand new subdivision.  He drove around a pile of old lumber ready to be placed as a concrete form, carefully watching for construction debris.  His new car was the result of selling most of the homes in this new neighborhood, and he wasn’t about to let an errant nail puncture the tire!

The builder had spent a lot of extra time and attention to this particular house.  There was no furniture in the home, no need to “stage” anything.  The sumptuous interior spoke for itself.  Pristine white carpet was extra soft beneath his feet, the large windows let in the afternoon light, and expensive wood moldings gleamed, dust-free.  He felt optimistic as he opened the door for his first appointment.

The prospective buyers were obviously impressed as they walked into the home.  With delight, they surveyed the huge front room, with its gorgeous stone fireplace that took up an entire wall, and . . .

“What’s that?” the wife questioned, innocently.  Her husband and the realtor tried to make out what she was looking at, and with horror, the agent realized it was a bat, happily hanging from a stone in the fireplace.  It was obvious the wife realized what it was, too.  Both husband and wife turned their eyes on the agent.

Bat flying around
A bat flying out of a box.
(Artwork by Sharon Davis. Contact us for her contact info.)

He stammered, “I had no idea, I mean, this never happens . . . “   He looked around for something to frighten the bat out of the house.  It was an empty home, though.  No brooms, no tennis rackets, not even a pair of protective gloves.  The couple decided they’d come back another time and quickly left, leaving the hapless agent to figure out some way to remove the bat before his next appointment arrived.

He ran out to his car to see what he could possibly use.  There!  He dumped the pamphlets out of the box, grabbed up the snow brush and his extra shirt he always brought with him.  It would have to do.  Armed with these makeshift bat removal tools, he went back into the house, made sure the bat had not moved from its perch on the fireplace, and gathered his courage to put his plan into action.

Holding the box as close as he dared under the bat, he quickly swept it into the box and threw his shirt over the top, holding it down over the sides as tightly as he could.  The bat fluttered and battered the inside of the box, but he managed to get it all outside, threw the box as far away from his as he could, screamed and ran in the opposite direction.

Heart still pounding, he smoothed his hair down again, picked up the now-empty box and shirt and replaced everything in his car just in time for the next appointment.  He wondered if it was possible to add bat removal service as part of his commission.

Skunk Removal

skunk removal
I love my husband, I do, but he knows nothing about skunk removal.  He’s strong, he’s good to me, he’s good to the kids, he works hard, he takes care of the house, he makes sure the yard looks good.  He’s an all-around good-guy.  So, please don’t take this the wrong way when I say, sometimes, only sometimes, he’s a stupid man.  If only he’d just listen to what I say. 

            It was pretty clear we had a problem on the property when the dog came in whining and reeking of skunk.  The poor dog just looked sheepish as we contemplated calling in a Hazmat team to clean him up.  We finally sucked it up and did the awful clean-up ourselves, but I swore I’d never do it again.  He’s still afraid to go outside! 

            My darling hubby went out that night and bought us a skunk trap.  That was smart, I thought.  He set it up in the backyard, close to the house.  We had it out there for two days before we caught anything.  It was a long two days, because I didn’t want the kids playing outside until we were done with the skunk removal.  Awful enough to clean up a dog, I couldn’t imagine how bad it would be with a child!! 

            This was an event, for our family, catching the skunk.  I “suggested” ever so gently that my husband bring out an old towel or two to throw over the cage, place it and the skunk in the truck, and drive off with it somewhere to leave in the great wide wilderness.  He insisted he didn’t need to go to those lengths.  I just grunted, and muttered something about how this was his responsibility so I’ll just keep out of it.  Then I grabbed the video camera.

            It must’ve taken my husband a good fifteen minutes to creep across the yard towards the cage, the skunk eyeing him the whole time.  He was completely unarmed – just wearing his jeans, t-shirt and a ball cap.  I guess he figured stealth and the LA Dodgers logo were his best defense. 

            Finally, he arrived at the cage.  Another three minutes to slowly lift his arm and reach out to the trap’s door.  I think I finally realized what his great plan was – he was just going to open the trap and let the animal go.  Was that wise?  I started to question him, but he just shushed me and moved the other hand up to steady the cage.

            I kept the video camera going as I watched the man who is usually my hero, kneel directly in front of the cage and open the door, to let the skunk out.  I think the skunk was just as surprised at this course of action.  It crept up to the front of the cage, and quickly ran out, stopped for a moment to look at this strong man, and ran off out of sight.  My husband is a truly lucky man, not getting sprayed, but I just had to ask him, “What was the point of setting a skunk removal trap when you’re just going to let the skunk back out into our own back yard?”

            We have agreed to not talk about this ever again with each other.

Squirrels in the roof

squirrels in the roof
I walk by the front of my home. It’s clear, sunny, warm even, for the middle of winter. I carry groceries and my purse and am looking forward to leaving the cold air outside.

When I pass under the overhang of my covered porch, a curious noise chirps from above. At first I thought it could be a bird, a pack of birds maybe, but it was winter; don’t birds fly away in winter? I move closer to the noise.    The roof covering my porch has more than a few holes in it. I’ve tried to tell my husband to fix them, cover them, but he never does. Someday it will fall apart. Fall down. Hit someone over the head—hopefully my husband. Until then I have to put up with the holes, the various state of disrepair, and wait for it to collapse.   

It’s not a pack of birds chirping. It’s not even one bird chirping. I think it’s squirrel in the roof. And it sounds upset. I place my groceries down and try to get a better look. It is a squirrel. It found a nice place to live, on the side of my roof, away from the elements.

I wonder how long it’s been there? Months? Years? Does it have babies? A squirrel mate? Either way it’s chewed a hole and set up shop above my porch.    For some reason its become quiet outside. Very quiet. Usually cars drive by or someone closes a door, but right now, beneath a cloudless blue sky, the crisp chirp and rattle of a squirrel echoes through my neighborhood.

I move closer to the gnawed hole. The squirrel must have seen me move close because it poked its head out of the opening. It’s really upset now. I can see its teeth and small black eyes and I wouldn’t be surprised if it jumped out and attacked me. That’s what I would do if I was the squirrel. I would yell and scream and threaten anyone that comes near me. I would poke my head out of my home, show my teeth, and grin. If that didn’t scare off an intruder, I would jump down, fly out, and attack an intruder.

Maybe the squirrel has babies inside of the hole. Maybe the squirrel has other homes that have been taken, uprooted, destroyed by a predator, an intruder. For that reason I would protect what’s mine, and chirp until my voice was gone.    But I’m not the squirrel. I’m the intruder. I have a home. I have groceries. Maybe I’ll leave the squirrel alone, and let the roof fall down, and not tell my husband about the squirrels in the roof.

Raccoon Trapping

raccoon traps too small
It was too gorgeous a day to think about something as distant as raccoon trapping, but how quickly things change.

Thwack, bang, bang, thwack!  Little Ryan was playing with his plastic bowling pin set out in the yard, pounding on the ground with the pins and laughing as he enjoyed the freedom of playing outside.  His family lived in a nice, safe, wooded neighborhood, behind a high school.  Their yard was lush and green, and the day was bright and sunny.  Mommy was just inside the house, looking out the window from time to time to make sure everything was all right, and smiling to herself as she listened to her son play.

Thwack, bam, bang!  Plastic bowling pins make the best sounds when you hit them together!  It’s why Ryan didn’t hear the rustling sounds coming from the woods just on the edge of his yard.  He looked up from his play, just in time to see a raccoon walking straight at him.

Raccoons are so cute, so sweet-looking with their big eyes rimmed in black, their little forepaws make them look like they’re begging for love.  Someone had taught Ryan well, though, and he knew this was a wild animal and it was not normal for it to walk right up to a human.

He jumped up and started running towards the house.  When he looked behind him, he was terrified to see the animal chasing after him.  His little four-year-old heart beat even faster as he struggled across the lawn to get into his house, to his mother, to safety.  But, the raccoon didn’t care that Ryan felt safe in his home.  It followed him inside and grabbed a hold of his tiny ankle, little sharp teeth sinking into the boy’s skin.

Ryan’s mother heard the screams and came tearing into the front room.  She reacted without hesitation, kicking the wild creature off of her son, grabbing it and throwing it out of the house.  Scooping up her son, she calmed his terrified screams and then took him to the hospital.

The poor little boy’s ordeal was not over yet.  The panicked moments fleeing the raccoon was over in seconds.  He now faced a series of rabies shots in a quiet sterile, room of a hospital.  Once the initial series of shots was done, he would have to go back, and get even more shots.  To the mind of a four-year-old, the anticipation of each shot would be almost as terrible as the fight with the rabid animal.

And the worries of Ryan’s mother, and those of every other parent in the neighborhood, were just beginning.  The raccoon was back in the wild, free to attack someone else.  Ryan’s mother was told to try raccoon trapping, but the only traps available to her were designed for squirrels, not raccoons. Raccoons are known to bend the hinges of traps too small for them and break free.  So, somewhere in the woods between her neighborhood and a high school, a rabid raccoon was roaming around, sick and wild.

But, to Ryan, his mother is a hero.  She battled the creature that had chased and hurt him and made him safe again.  It may be a while before he feels completely safe playing outside in his own backyard, but at least he knows his mother’s there.