Snake Removal

Snake removal isn’t something you think about at all, until you need it.  Rick and I had just moved in together a few weeks ago, and we were still making a few adjustments to having another person around all the time.  We don’t really fight, but we are great at bickering, and we’d already bickered over groceries, over who has to do the dishes, and even how to make the bed.  But, we loved each other and we were happy to be together.

He had gone to bed kind of early that night, and I stayed up late working on my laptop.  I tried to focus on the presentation I had to make at work the next day, but it got harder and harder as the night got later and later.  As I tried to decide whether to just go to bed or get some caffeine and stay up even later, a book fell off the bookshelf all by itself.  I have to admit, I jumped, and my tired brain immediately thought of the last horror movie I’d seen.

I told myself I was being stupid and crossed the room to replace the book.  As I bent down to pick it up off the floor, something moved behind the books remaining on the shelf.  I screamed, threw the book and jumped backwards on the couch all at the same time.  My boyfriend came tearing down the stairs to see what was going on.

I didn’t even know what to tell him.  “There’s something behind the books!” I finally got out.  He must’ve thought I was being silly over a spider or something, because he got kind of angry and yanked a couple of books out.  “Breeeaaaaah!”  I have no idea what he meant to say, but he made some kind of weird noise.  That’s when we realized we had a snake in the house.

After his initial shock, Rick went into snake removal action.  He grabbed a five-iron from his golf bag in the hall closet and stalked towards the bookshelf.  “What do you think you’re going to do with that?” I laughed.  Shock and adrenaline had turned into laughter.  The whole situation seemed ridiculous.

“I’m gonna get rid of the snake,” he said, ignoring my giggles.  Despite my levity, I remained perched on the back of the couch, far away from the snake in the bookshelf.

“With a golf club?”

“That’s right.”  Rick used the club to pull the remaining books off the shelf, and I screamed again as the snake wriggled onto the floor.  Quickly, Rick pinned the snake against the floor with the five-iron and then looked at me.  “Now what?” he asked.

“Ummm, tongs!” I yelled, pleased with my quick thinking.  I ran out the back door and came back triumphantly with his barbeque tongs.

“What’m I supposed to do with this?” Rick growled as the trapped snake tried desperately to get away.

“Put the tongs behind its head so it can’t bite you, and then carry it outside.”

Rick turned to look at me, which loosened his grip on the club.  The snake, feeling less pressure, made a bold move and got free, which sparked a whole new series of screams from me.  Fortunately, he was able to trap the snake again.  Without looking at me this time, he calmed me down and then said, “Go find a number for a snake removal service and call them.”

I agreed that was a good idea and crawled over the back side of the couch to turn my laptop back on.

“Oh, and ask them what I should do with this thing while I’m waiting for them to show up and get rid of the snake, okay?”

As I dialed the number on my cell phone, I muttered, “I bet they tell you to use tongs.”  Rick didn’t say a word.

Dead Rodent Removal

rat removal

I should have listened to my brother, who told me that dead rodent removal would be more difficult than setting rat traps and getting rid of the trapped rats.

I’m living in my first apartment after moving out on my own at the ripe old age of eighteen.  I was so excited to get my own place, finally, and I chose a small, but nice apartment.  I now live only five minutes away from my work and ten minutes away from school, and even though the place is tiny, it’s perfect for me.  Sure, the sink’s in the bathtub and my bedroom is also my living room and kitchen, but for a first apartment, it’s awesome.

I found out one reason why it’s so cheap, though.  Rats in the walls.  I found some rat poop scattered on the little table that serves as my kitchen counter, and I’ve been hearing noises in the wall at night.  So, I did what I always do when I’m in trouble.  I called my big brother.

He gave me a bad time about choosing such a rat-infested apartment, but I really know he’s proud that I’m making it on my own, without making Mom and Dad pay for school or anything.  He suggested I set out rat traps, but I hated the thought of waking up in the middle of the night to a “SNAP!”, and then having to get rid of the dead rats in the morning before heading off to a long day of school and work.  So, I did the worst thing I could do.  I ignored my brother’s advice.

I bought some rat poison and set it out.  The rats eat the poisoned food, and since it takes them a while to feel the effects, they keep eating the poisoned food and then head off to their nest or wherever it is rats go.  I figured the rats would leave, go somewhere to die, and my rat problem would go away.

I didn’t figure on the rats dying in the walls.  They ate the poison, all right, and disappeared into the walls of my apartment, where they died.  Now, I have to deal with dead rodent removal.  I’d love to just ignore it, but, trust me, you cannot ignore the smell of dead rats in the walls.  There’s an awful stench of death, and my apartment is tiny and not well-ventilated.  There is only one small window, which doesn’t let in a lot of air.

One more problem.  Flies.  Stench of dead rats and the flies they attracted.  My apartment just got a whole lot worse!  The one good thing about flies is they show me where the bodies are.  So, now I’m spending my one day off, doing dead rodent removal.  I can think of a whole lot of other things I’d rather be doing this weekend.  I even tried to get my brother’s help getting rid of the dead rats, but he just said I should’ve listened to him in the first place.  Lesson learned.

Pest Control – Raccoons

Pest control ain’t just for little critters like roaches and ants.  Pest control is for any pest, including the coons that keep stealing my food, and I’m not too sure my old bones can handle it.  I usually sit up in my cat tree, overseeing the household affairs and making sure all is well during the night.  I’m an old cat, but I still make sure my house stays nice and safe through the dark hours.  In all my years, I’ve done my job well and handled a lot of the pest control around here.  I keep the mouse population under control, I’ve scared off more than one rat in my time, and I keep the property pretty much free of voles and gophers.  But, when pest control includes getting rid of raccoons, I have to draw the line.

The people I live with keep my dry food in a big bin, close by, so they can keep my bowl filled all the time.  It’s a nice, satisfying deal.  They give me a warm place to sleep and lots of food, and I handle the pest control.  But, one night, a little black paw came right through my cat door, followed by a black snuffling snout and black-rimmed eyes.  My food bin and cat tree sit right by the door, and I guess that raccoon decided to come right on in and steal it.  I’ve run up against a coon only once in my life, and it wasn’t pretty.  I still have the scars to prove it.  So, I was a little more than cautious when that critter came right through my very own cat door, bold as you please.  I slunk out of sight and watched the whole thing.  I’m great at rodent pest control and insect pest control, but raccoon pest control is best left to someone who knows what they’re doing, and won’t end up with bites, scratches or worse.

That raccoon came in and walked around my space, snuffling around the food mostly, but also taking a look up in my cat tree.  Good thing it was hungrier than anything else, so it pretty much just ignored me.  With those paws, it easily dragged the bin over to the cat door, and hopped back outside.  Sticking its head back through the plastic door, it easily popped that top right off the bin and dug in.  Now, I’ve been trying to do that for years, but I’ve never been able to get that tight lid off.  That raccoon made it look so easy, and I growled in jealousy as I watched.

Soon, it was joined by a second raccoon, and I wished raccoon pest control would show up right then and get rid of the raccoons.  Unfortunately, it was late at night and I was the only observer, so I was forced to just watch as the two of them devoured my food right in front of me.  They were too good to stick their snout right down into the bin.  No, they were too hoity-toity to do that.  They dipped their paws in and pulled out just enough to fill their mouths daintily.

To my delight, someone else in the house woke up.  I don’t know if they’d heard the noise or if it was just luck, but humans bumping around and turning on lights scared those two coons off.  I have no idea what they thought when they saw the bin in front of the door, lid off.  Hopefully, they’ll figure it out and get raccoon pest control out here soon.  I just want to go back to chasing mice and rats, sleeping in my cat tree and eating my food.  This old cat can’t handle much more than that, I’m afraid.

County Raccoon Removal

I watch these silly videos online or on TV where naïve people are oohing and aaaahing over how adorable raccoons are, and all I can think of is, they need raccoon removal immediately!  We had to have Salt Lake raccoon removal services out at our cabin this spring, and those “adorable” animals cost us a lot of money in property damage and personal property destruction.  I was just glad we could get a service to do Salt Lake raccoon removal for us, instead of trying to trap raccoons or remove raccoons on our own.  Cleaning up the mess they left was bad enough.

We’d packed up for a long weekend out at our small cabin, made the two hour drive and arrived there in enough time to set up the grill and cook up some steaks for our dinner.  We pulled up, and my husband immediately started preparing the outdoor grill, while I unloaded coolers and duffel bags from the back.  It was our normal routine, and we were very much looking forward to a relaxing weekend.  I walked up to the front door, got it open, took one step inside and gasped.  It was trashed.  My husband came running in after me, and we just stood there, stupidly gazing around at the damage.  At first, I thought someone had broken in to our tiny, two-room cabin, but I couldn’t think of any reason why they would.  There were bigger cabins down the road a ways, and we had absolutely nothing of value in there.  But, as I looked closer, I realized I was looking at damage done by a wild animal.  Several wild animals, probably.

Our mattress was shredded.  The cans of food we’d stored in the kitchen area were scattered all over the floor, cabinets wide open.  There was a cat-sized gaping hole where I could look right through the wall out to the trees outside.  Furnishings were gnawed on and scratched up.  We spotted raccoon droppings all over the floor.

I let out my breath.  I hadn’t realized I’d been holding it ever since my initial reaction.  Words could not describe how angry and disappointed I felt, all at the same time.  “There goes the weekend,” my husband muttered angrily, mirroring my thoughts exactly.

As if that weren’t bad enough, a growl came from under the bed.  We high-tailed it out of there and got Salt Lake raccoon removal out to the property as fast as they could come.  They ended up removing a raccoon and three raccoon babies out from under the bed, and they even cleaned up the raccoon droppings and helped us temporarily seal up the gaping hole, with promises of full repair within the week.  We then set to work hauling out everything that was damaged or contaminated beyond repair, and making a list of items we needed to replace.  It was a long and disheartening weekend.

So, no, I don’t think raccoons are cute or adorable little rascals.  I think they’re mean, aggressive and very destructive.  You won’t catch me taking sweet little videos of raccoons and sharing them on the internet!

Dead Animal

“There’s a dead animal in the house.”  The thought hit Lindsey right after the smell did.

She’d struggled into the house, grocery bags draped 5 deep on each arm, purse slipping off her shoulder and one shoe threatening to slip off her foot.  With the talent many women possess, she had managed to get the correct key in the lock and shove the stubborn door open without breaking a single egg.  That’s when the smell hit her full in the face.

It was an odor the family had been gradually noticing.  At first, Lindsey made the rounds through the house, making sure no food was rotting in anyone’s bedroom and emptying every garbage can.  Then, her oldest thought it was a backed-up sewer, since the smell seemed stronger in the little hallway that led to the laundry room and half bath.  She’d asked her ex-husband to take a look at it, and he’d reluctantly come over, but he hadn’t found anything wrong with the sewer pipes.  He’d also suggested, rather grumpily, that she call a professional next time she needed help with the house.  That suited her just fine.

Her teenage daughter had brought a friend home, who had no reservations about expressing herself.  “Ew, your house stinks like garbage!”  Her humiliated daughter ended up going to her friend’s house to study.

Lindsey was frustrated.  The mystery stench was getting stronger and stronger as each day passed, and nearly 2 weeks had gone by.  They’d done spring-cleaning early in an effort to locate the odor’s source.  They’d invested in a simple black-light to see if they could find anything on the carpet or tile.  It was incredibly frustrating.  Lindsey considered herself an excellent homemaker, and was proud of keeping her home tidy and clean.  No matter what she did, though, the smell got more and more overpowering.

Nothing makes you more aware of a stench in the house than entering it after being away for the morning on errands.  Lindsey had been more than happy to have another excuse to leave the house, just to get away from the smell, but dreaded returning home.  When the odor hit her as she struggled inside, the thought had finally come to Lindsey that it must be a dead animal in the home.  What if a wild animal crawled inside the wall to die?  A dead animal would explain that awful stench that just wouldn’t go away.

The thought of crawling around the insides of her house and possibly coming face to face with a rotting raccoon, dead squirrels, or whatever wild animal had died in her house turned her stomach.  No, she decided to take her ex’s advice and call a professional to remove the dead animal.

Overpopulation of Raccoons

Normally, our Home Owners Association meetings are kind of boring, but the turnout for last night was astounding, considering we were discussing the overpopulation of raccoons in our neighborhood.  Everyone had a story to tell.  Raccoons defecating in someone’s backyard pool and someone else’s koi pond.  Raccoons getting into crawlspaces and making noises that keep homeowners awake all night.  Raccoons crawling down into chimneys and having babies there.  Raccoons tearing through siding, roofing materials, and fascia to get into attics.  Raccoons blocking vents.  Raccoons chewing through wiring.  Raccoons stealing pet food.  Raccoons attacking pets.  The list went on and on.

After everyone had a chance to vent a little about all the raccoon damage their property had suffered, the discussion got a little dicey.  Some people wanted to blame neighbors for causing this sudden overpopulation of raccoons.  People got blamed for pet food left outside for their animals.  People were accused of deliberately planting nut trees and fruit trees, which attract the raccoons.  Other people were called out for not securing their garbage cans securely enough.  Still others were told their wood piles attracted mice and rats, which then attracted the raccoons.

The Home Owners Association leaders had a real problem on their hand as things quickly got out of control.  When people have to pay out a lot of money to repair the damage raccoons cause, or when their children’s health is at risk, or their beloved pets are threatened, they tend to get pretty upset.  One big guy was finally able to calm everyone down when he remarked that we were all to blame.  Fact is, raccoons are drawn to our neighborhoods for all those reasons and more, and we should stop trying to find someone to blame and start seeking a solution.  It did make sense, and people calmed down for the most part.  I think a few hotheads will still hold a grudge against some of last night’s attendees, though.

So, instead of tallying up the damage, the discussion turned to whether each individual household should handle their raccoon problem individually, or if the Homeowners Association should contact a professional wildlife removal company to handle the problem for the entire neighborhood.  Of course, everyone would have to pay for the cost one way or another, either directly to the wildlife removal company or to the homeowners association.  Discussion lasted another hour or so before the inevitable committee was formed to research cost and put together a couple of different proposals to be announced at the next meeting.

I personally would be interested to find out why we’re dealing with an overpopulation of raccoons all of a sudden, and whether it had to do with some natural factor outside of my neighbor’s activities.  But, I don’t want to risk anyone pointing the finger at me and trying to get me to cover the cost of removing raccoons out of their attic just because I spoke up.  Perhaps I’ll research it anyway, but keep the findings to myself.

Overpopulation of Pigeons

With all the recent road construction, and placement of new bridges throughout the county, I’m surprised there isn’t a greater discussion of the overpopulation of pigeons in the county.

You might wonder what one has to do with the other, but it actually makes a great deal of sense.  First and foremost, pigeon urine and feces are dangerous.  Not just in the yuck-I-have-pigeon-poop-all-over-my-car kind of way, either.  Pigeon feces carry all kinds of harmful microorganisms that release into the air once the droppings have dried that can cause respiratory problems in humans and animals.  And, they attract other creatures like mice and rats to an area.  Gross and a health hazard to those who live in the area.  But, I’m talking about the very real danger of pigeon urine.  You see, pigeons have a high uric acid concentration in their urine, the key word being acid.  It can eat through wood joists, concrete, and cause metal to rust faster than it would normally.  I’m sure you see where I’m headed with this.  The serious overpopulation of pigeons in our county can seriously undermine the money and safety of the residents in our county.  We’ve spent a lot of taxpayer money to pay for these new overpasses and bridges, and we’ve all endured months and months of dealing with road construction and detours, all with the glorious aim of lessening road congestion.  Wonderful, right?  So, why should we have to deal with repairs and replacing these structures much earlier than normal?  If we allow the overpopulation of pigeons to continue, we’re going to pay the price in the long run, by jeopardizing the structures we just paid for.  What is it they say about an ounce of prevention?

But, it seems to go completely unnoticed right now.  I commute about 40 minutes each way, and drive under some of these new overpasses.  Looking up, I see they’re covered in flying vermin, and I have to wonder why we aren’t doing more about the problem.  Maybe the county can’t find the funds to install barriers, or do what they need to do to get rid of the pigeons.  Conspiracy theorists might wonder if the road construction companies invite the pigeons in order to ensure themselves work in the future.  As for me, I believe that no one in the county government has considered the overpopulation of pigeons to be a big enough problem, yet.  I worry that it will be one of the things we’re discussing in the years to come, as we have to pay more and more for repairs, maintenance and cleaning.  The worst case scenario would be if we allowed it to go on past the point of no return, and one of these new bridges or overpasses actually collapses.  Wouldn’t we rather take care of the problem now rather than moan about what we should have done?

Overpopulation of Skunks

get rid of skunks


Anyone else notice that we seem to have an overpopulation of skunks?  Lately there’s a lot more odorous and destructive animal activity in our city, and more skunk road kill.  Usually, we only notice skunks in this area as we’re driving through a particularly odorous section of road and figure some fox was stupid enough to challenge a skunk.  But, over the last couple of months, I’ve noticed a lot more dead skunks in the road.  If there are more dead skunks in the road, there must be more skunks in the area, right?




Hey, yeah, I’ve been seeing the same thing!  I think you’re right, we have an overpopulation of skunks around here.  I go running pretty much every morning and I’ve even seen a couple scuttling across the path.  Good thing I’ve got my running light or I mighta been sprayed!


Well I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought that.  I had one by my deck the other night.  Looked like it was digging for something, but I didn’t feel like going out to chase it off.


You had one by your deck?  Scary!  Makes me wonder if I should be more careful about letting my daughter go out and play outside after dinner.  Do you think any are rabid?


Doubt they’re all rabid, but you can’t be too careful.


Yeah, I wouldn’t risk it.  If you’ve got some crawling around in your yard, I say get some help.


@Retirednhappy  If you got em at your house, there must be something they want.


@Snicker  It’s not like anyone puts out skunk food.  I’m beginning to think it’s just that we have more in the area, an overpopulation of skunks, for some reason.  So, we’re more likely to see them around our neighborhoods.


@Tammysmom  I’m just saying they’re gonna go after what they like.  Pet food, garbage, a mouse, whatever’s around your house.


I assure you there are no mice in my house.


I still say get a professional to come in and trap the skunks around your house.  No use letting them dig up your yard or making a den under your stairs or something.


@Runninmaster   You’re probably right.  Better get rid of the skunks now instead of having to repair damage later.  My knee just won’t let me do much around the house anymore.


Maybe they can get rid of your mice, too.  Juuuuust kidding, dude!


I just looked online.  I believe we have an overpopulation of skunks in the area because of the new subdivisions going up.  It used to be nothing but empty fields over there, so their habitat is probably being disturbed.  It looks like the best thing to do is to make sure garbage is secured, and don’t put pet food outside.  Basically, take away their food and water sources in our neighborhood.


Thanks for the info.  Will that get rid of all the skunks, then?


@Runninmaster  No, but it’ll help keep the problem down.  Looks like the best thing to do is to get a professional wildlife trapper to get rid of the skunks around your house.  Just like you said.


Sounds good to me.  I’ll be calling tomorrow.  Night all.


I’m off, too.  Good night, everyone.


I have to get out and run tonight before bed.  Chat with you tomorrow!



Overpopulation of Voles

Last spring, my neighbors and I battled an overpopulation of voles in our lawns, and many of our conversations this winter have been wondering if we would continue to have a vole problem once the snows thaw.  One of our neighbors was particularly upset, because they invested in some gorgeous apple trees a few years ago and were starting to enjoy the “fruits of their labor”, so to speak, when we experienced an overpopulation of voles in our county.  Most of us just had to deal with vole damage such as trails of dead grass crisscrossing our yards, making them look like some kind of road map.  A few of us had planted tulips and daffodils and were disappointed, because voles had eaten the bulbs we’d so painstakingly planted throughout our flower beds.  But, the neighbors with the apple trees suffered the worst damage.  Voles had basically gnawed rings around the trees and roots, and exposed the trees to disease.  All of their hard work and the money they’d invested in the trees were now for nothing, and they were understandably upset.

I’ve done a little more research on the subject during this winter.  I was worried once I found out that voles can breed all year long, and a mother vole can have three or four litters during the winter season, each with up to ten babies.  I didn’t even bother planting bulbs last fall, and I’m not planning a vegetable garden until I can get a barrier in place to discourage the voles from eating all my vegetables and herbs.  I just imagined hoards of voracious voles running rampant under the layer of snow, munching, breeding and tunneling.  It made me sick and for the first time in my life I dreaded the spring.  I just dreaded the idea of battling an overpopulation of voles again when the weather turned nice and I could see the extent of the damage.

I inspected the yard as the snow melted off after each storm, but I couldn’t see any damage so far, and I began to have hope.  Had some disease spread through the vole community and wiped them out?  Did the high number of vole traps throughout the neighborhood actually catch them all?  Would we be able to enjoy our lush, green lawns this year, like normal?

Some of my neighbors actually considered getting outdoor cats to roam the neighborhood, and I could certainly see some merit in that.  They’d keep down the vole population, as well as mice or rats, right?  Of course, not everyone in the neighborhood likes cats or sees the value of having them around.  One neighbor was pretty upset, because she’d already had a problem with feral cats getting into her garage and making a mess of everything in a previous home, and swore she wouldn’t go through that again.  I guess an overpopulation of feral cats isn’t the solution to an overpopulation of voles, but something has to work, right?

So, we still don’t know what, if any, vole damage or vole problem we’ll have to deal with when the weather gets better.  But, I do know this – I won’t settle for setting my own vole traps or doing battle with them alone.  I’ll call in a professional to handle the problem for me this year!

Effects of Rat Poisoning

get rid of rats

In order to become licensed foster care parents in our state, my husband and I were forced to completely reevaluate the safety of our home, and learn all kinds of fun facts like the effects of rat poisoning in the body.  So, we put safety covers on all the electrical outlets, installed child safety gates on the stairs, and quickly locked up all the poisons in the home.

Learning about the effects of rat poisoning on the body left us particularly cold, thinking about all the awful things a child would go through if they get into anything poisonous, especially rat poison.  I thought the idea of having a rat in the house was bad enough, with all the diseases it carries, the parasites that can infest your home, its destructive capabilities, and the contamination from its droppings.  But, the products used to poison rats can do terrible things to humans and pets.

Rat poison is basically a blood thinner, because it reduces the levels of vitamin K in the blood.  Vitamin K affects the blood’s ability to clot, so when you seriously reduce it, the body bleeds abnormally.  This means whoever ingests it can bleed from their nose and mouth, they can have bad diarrhea or vomiting streaked with blood, they get extremely dizzy and lethargic because their blood is too thin, and death is most likely from hemorrhaging or heart complications.  It’s awful to think about any animal experiencing the effects of rat poisoning, but when it comes to a loved one, an innocent child or a pet, it’s horrific.

Incidentally, it can take days before a rat feels the effects of rat poisoning.  Rats are extremely intelligent, and quickly learn to avoid dangerous or harmful food or situations.  Since it can be days before they feel the poison’s effect, they continue to eat the poisoned food source, thereby ensuring they consume enough to finally kill them.

Unfortunately, it can also mean a child or pet may not experience the effects of rat poisoning in their body for days.  And, if the child is too young to communicate what they ate or how they’re feeling, it can mean the parent doesn’t know to get them help until it’s too late.  Or, a parent may discover a child has consumed some rat poison, but won’t do anything about it right away, because they don’t see any immediate symptoms.

The instant you suspect a child has ingested any amount of rat poison, get immediate emergency help.  You can also contact the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 anytime night or day.

My husband and I really looked forward to becoming licensed foster care workers, and we locked up things like paint and oil for the car.  But, we completely got rid of the rat poison.  It was too risky.  Instead, if we ever have a rat problem, we will get a professional exterminator out to our house.  I just couldn’t bear the thought of any child in our care accidentally consuming it.  Better to just let a professional handle a rat problem if and when we ever needed it.