Dead Vole Removal

For a while, there, I thought I was dealing with some kind of supernatural force when I went out on the call for dead vole removal.  I’m a rodent exterminator, and sometimes I get calls to remove dead animals.  A homeowner will discover a dead rodent rotting in their house or yard, and they’ll call me to remove the dead animal so it won’t spread diseases or attract vermin or flies.  Sometimes, it’s the smell that bothers a homeowner, and sometimes it’s the worry that their children will pick up the dead rodent and get sick.

So, I got a call from a local daycare.  When the first teacher arrived that morning, they’d discovered a dead vole in the middle of the children’s play area, and she asked if I could rush over and remove the dead vole and sanitize the area.  She didn’t want any of the kids to get sick, and she also didn’t want any of the parents to see a dead rodent on the property.  I agreed and rushed over there early, before my first appointment for the day.

When I got there, I had the teacher show me where the animal was.  It looked like it had maybe died the night before, maybe a cat or raccoon had caught it in its jaws and then been interrupted before it feasted on the little animal.  Whatever the cause of death, it was definitely dead.  The teacher accompanied me to my truck, where I put on my protective gloves and took out my gear.  It would be a fairly simple job, but she was right to call me.  No reason to expose her or any of the children to disease or any parasite that might be feasting off the carcass.  No matter how small the animal, a dead animal must be handled correctly and the area should be de-contaminated.

When we got back to the play area so I could perform my dead vole removal duties, though, the thing had moved.  It was now about 3 inches closer to the trees.  I shook my head and figured that maybe I was wrong, but then the teacher squealed.  She swore she saw it move.  I looked back down at it, and sure enough, it was moving.  It was still on its back, paws in the air and eyes closed, but its rump jumped up a little, and the thing moved a tiny bit closer to the trees.

When I looked back up, the woman had disappeared into the building.  Was it really dead, or was this vole somehow coming back to life?  But, when I looked even closer, I saw two carrion beetles.  These tiny creatures were actually removing the dead vole for me.  I started laughing and gestured for the teacher to come see for herself what was happening.  She laughed, and although we thought it might be a great nature lesson for the children who would soon be arriving, we both agreed it would be much more sanitary if I removed the dead vole quickly, let the carrion beetles find something else to feast on, and clean up the area so the kids could play safely.

Raccoon Control

I knew I had a raccoon control problem, but it wasn’t until I actually witnessed my cat versus the raccoon that I finally decided to do something about it.

My house has felt pretty empty since my husband passed away three years ago.  My children all live out of state with their families, and although they all visit at least once a year, I miss them terribly.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not one of those old fogies that sits around in her house all day, dusting a dustless house and watching reruns of “Matlock” and “Murder, She Wrote”.  I’m on a bowling team, I volunteer at an elementary school teaching children how to read, I swim laps every day, and I run the neighborhood watch program.  As busy as I am, there are times when the house seems pretty empty.  So, I have become somewhat of a cliché, the old woman with a house full of cats.  Okay, it’s only two cats, but, still.

My cats are both indoor and outdoor cats.  I let them spend a few hours outside each day and then call them in at night.  Their food bowls are outside on my back deck, and I enjoy watching them play and hunt and climb.  A few weeks ago, I started noticing that their food bowls got empty faster than normal.  Instead of refilling their food dishes once every couple of days, I was replenishing their food supply twice a day.  At first, I thought we had feral cats in the neighborhood that were taking advantage of free food.  Then, I realized I had a raccoon control problem.

Raccoons carry all kinds of diseases that can infect my cats, so I was really worried.  Then, one day, in broad daylight, I saw a raccoon on my deck, about three feet from one of my cats and her food dish.  I was sure it was a rabid raccoon, and called a raccoon control service immediately.  But, after watching it interact with my cat, I realized it probably wasn’t rabid, it was just hungry.

My cat would jab and bat its head anytime the raccoon got near its food dish, but the raccoon just dodged the blows and scooped up tiny handfuls.  It would then retreat back down a couple of steps, eat the cat food, and go back for more, dodging even more cat jabs.  If it was rabid, it would have attacked my cat, but instead it avoided the swipes my cat took at its head and helped itself to the cat food.  No wonder I was buying more cat food than normal these days.  I was feeding at least one raccoon in addition to my two pets, and there were probably more raccoons that came under cover of darkness.

So, when the man arrived from the raccoon control company, I told him what was going on and let him trap the raccoon.  He even set out a couple of other traps, in case there were more in the area.  While I was fairly certain my cats weren’t going to get rabies, I wanted to make sure they wouldn’t get roundworm or any of the other nasty diseases raccoons carry.  Now, I could go off to bowling practice reassured that my cats would be much safer now that I’d handled the raccoon control problem.

Squirrel Removal

squirrels in the roof

My mom says I have a “heightened sense of curiosity,” so it didn’t surprise her when I stuck around to watch the squirrel removal from our chimney.  Plus, the guy who came to get the squirrel out of the chimney was kind of cute.  I didn’t tell Mom that was one of the reasons I pulled out the camera and recorded the whole thing.

Dad had come up with this great idea last weekend to light a fire in our fireplace and roast marshmallows and eat s’mores while playing board games.  I thought it was a pretty cool idea, even if it meant hanging out with my mom and dad all evening.  I had planned on going over to my friend’s house that night to work on our science project on bugs and then chat online with a boy from my class.  Dad found out about that last part, and since he feels a twelve year old girl shouldn’t be “online unsupervised,” I couldn’t go to my friend’s house that night.  To make me feel better, he suggested we play games and roast marshmallows.  I stayed sullen long enough for him to know that I was really unhappy about not getting to go to my friend’s house, but I actually was looking forward to that night with mom and dad.

Unfortunately, as Dad set up the fireplace, he realized we had a squirrel living in the chimney.  No fire, no marshmallows, just a squirrel.  He quickly closed up the fireplace so the squirrel wouldn’t come running out in the middle of the night, and we popped popcorn instead.

The next day, the guy came to remove the squirrel from the chimney.  He was gorgeous!  He acted like he didn’t even notice me, but he told my Mom it was okay for me to video the squirrel being removed, so I got to stay in the room and watch the whole thing.  Mom told me I had to get out of the room if the squirrel got free, though, so I wouldn’t get bitten.  I agreed and pulled out my phone and turned on the camera.

The guy didn’t even hesitate.  He pulled on thick gloves, pulled the hood on his sweatshirt up over his ball cap, and climbed right inside the fireplace with nothing but a flashlight.  He looked around for a little bit, then reached up, and pulled the squirrel out.  At first, I couldn’t figure out what the squirrel was doing, but then I realized it was biting this guy’s finger, holding onto his hand with both paws.  The guy didn’t even seem to mind.  I guess the gloves were thick enough and he was probably used to removing squirrels out of chimneys.  Still, it looked freaky to me, seeing the squirrel gnawing at the end of his finger.

He got the squirrel in a trap, and then looked around the chimney some more.  He said he was looking for squirrel babies, but he didn’t see any.  Then, he was gone.  Removing the squirrel from the chimney didn’t take any longer than about ten minutes, but it was enough to get some good video.  I’m gonna send it to my friend tonight so she can see just how good looking squirrel removal can be!

Squirrel Removal From Chimney

get rid of squirrels

Don’t ever take advice from your friends on squirrel removal from your chimney, unless the advice is to call a wildlife trapper.  Getting a squirrel removed out of a chimney is not as easy as my best friend said it would be, and I swear the guy just wanted to see if I’d actually listen to him.  All I learned is NEVER to listen to him.

Squirrel waiting to get inside your chimney.
(Artwork by Sharon Davis. Contact us for her contact info.)

I had an awesome little condo that’s close to my work, and since it was nicer than any of my friends’ places, they would all come and hang out here.  In fact, I didn’t even know I had a squirrel in the chimney until my best friend woke up on my couch facing the fireplace and saw the squirrel just staring at him.  The squirrel took off back up the chimney.  That’s the morning he gave me the terrible advice.

He told me to make sure the glass doors in front of the fireplace were shut tight so the squirrel couldn’t get out.  Then, for two or three days, put out some salty snacks where he could reach them.  Salted peanuts, chips, pretzels, that sort of thing.  After a couple of days, the squirrel will get really thirsty, so that’s when you give it a water dish with 50% water and 50% vodka.  Get it nice and drunk, and then you can grab it and toss it outside.

I was kind of an idiot back then, so I took him seriously.  He was kind of an idiot, too, so he might have actually been serious when he gave me the advice on removing a squirrel from the chimney.  For three days, I’d open the glass fireplace doors just enough to shove in another salty snack, and then shut it up tight.  The snacks would disappear by the end of the day.  I only saw the squirrel once.  It was sitting next to the food dish gobbling up some peanuts.  As soon as it saw me, it ran back up the chimney.

On day four, I poured water and vodka into a small bowl and put it in the fireplace.  My friend came over to watch to see if it would work. For hours, we hung out in the front room, gaming and waiting to see if the squirrel would come down for a drink.  It never did.  It finally occurred to me that the squirrel hadn’t gotten in my chimney through the glass doors.  It had to have crawled down inside from the roof, and I hadn’t even thought of closing the flue.  That means, for days, it’s been going back outside after eating salty snacks and drinking wherever squirrels drink.  I hadn’t made it thirsty enough to get drunk on the vodka mixture I’d provided.  I’d only made sure the squirrel knew it could return to my house day after day for food.  As I said, I was an idiot back then.

Despite my friend’s pleading, I wasn’t about to repeat the experiment with the flue closed.  I didn’t want to get a squirrel bite as I reached up the chimney to close the flue, so I finally made a good decision and called a professional for squirrel removal from my chimney.  They came, removed the squirrel from the chimney, and my life went back to normal.  Well, as normal as life can be when you’re an idiot with an idiot friend.

Woodpecker Control

I own several office buildings in and around this area, and I’ve noticed that one of my buildings needs some woodpecker control.

In my line of work, my office gets calls all the time for various building maintenance needs.  Office managers, company owners or even employees of the companies that rent various office space from me will call about anything from a leaky toilet to a malfunctioning light switch.  I get complaints that their customers don’t like the heaviness of the doors, or employees are too hot in the afternoon, or the sprinkler system for the landscaping isn’t working properly.  Some of these calls are silly nonsense, most of them are minor and easily handled, but some are pretty major.

When three different tenants from one of my buildings called, I paid attention.  One of my top-floor tenants had a few employees complaining about tapping and noises coming from the wall.  Another tenant said he’d noticed a woodpecker clutching the side of the building and “going to town” on the stucco.  Another tenant mentioned the ugly holes that had started appearing on the side of the building.

I went there myself to investigate, and sure enough, we needed woodpecker control.  From the front of the building, I could easily see a few holes in the stucco, and some of them had large red streaks of woodpecker droppings staining the façade.  Around the side of the building, I saw a much larger, gaping hole close to the roof.  I couldn’t believe it.  It was large enough that a medium-sized dog could crawl through it into the building . . . of course, the dog would have to crawl up the side of the three-story building to get there, but you know what I mean.  I heard raccoons can easily get up to the roof of a building, and wondered if we had raccoon problems in addition to the woodpecker.

But, one thing at a time.  I whipped out my cell phone and got my secretary on the line.  I told him he needed to get a really good woodpecker control service out to this office building, and to make sure it was a service that would get rid of the woodpeckers, clean up the mess, repair the holes, and look for signs of raccoons while they were at it.

Within fifteen minutes, I got a call back from my secretary telling me that he got Allstate Animal Control to send someone out and inspect the damage and give us a quote.  I went inside the building and talked with the owners of the companies renting space from me.  I reassured them that the woodpecker control was, well, under control.  Of course, then I had to sit and listen to a laundry-list of other complaints.  I’ll take care of the woodpecker control first, and then I’ll worry about the type of flowers planted out front.  Sheesh.

Bat Removal Salt Lake

get rid of bats

We literally just moved here, and already I have to look for bat removal in Salt Lake.  Ugh.  Yesterday morning, we finished packing up the moving truck from our home in Lincoln, Nebraska, and sent it on its way to our new home in Salt Lake City, Utah.  We filled our car up with an expensive tank full of gas, stopped by to say a final farewell to some friends, picked up some road trip food, and started the twelve hour drive to our new neighborhood.  As usual, we left a couple hours later than we had planned.  The goodbyes took longer and were more difficult, filled with promises to keep in touch with emails and phone calls.  Then, we had to pick up our last paychecks and close our local bank account.  Once we were finally on the highway, it was bittersweet.  We were excited to get to the next chapter in our life, and sad to leave the place we’d called home since we’d gotten married.

We had struggled the first couple years of our marriage.  Money had been really tight, and we had tried to make ends meet by working ourselves to death.  I worked as a video editor for a local news station from 4 am to noon, after which I’d work at my receptionist job until 6 pm.  My husband was finishing up his bachelors degree in computer science during the day and worked as a security guard at night.  He didn’t get home until ten at night.  Since I had to get up at 3 am, I was already asleep, so I’d wake up just enough to mumble an “I love you,” before falling back asleep.

So, after he finished up his degree, he went job-hunting, and found this new job that offered him more than my two paychecks combined.  It was a no-brainer, even though it meant leaving home behind us and creating a new life in a different state.

We drove up to the cute little bungalow we’d found during a previous house-hunting trip late last night.  The moving truck is supposed to arrive here sometime in the afternoon, so we figured we’d just haul our sleeping bags up to our new bedroom and crash on the floor for what was left of the rest of the night.

Early in the morning, the sun came streaming through our east-facing window, and I woke up vowing to get the darkest window shades I could find as soon as I could find them.  Something felt a little “off” to me as I sat up in bed, but I figured it was just because I wasn’t familiar yet with the sounds of my new home.  Then, something small and wet dropped on my husband’s head.  I looked up, and saw about 20 bats hanging from the ceiling.  One of them had just dropped a nasty little package onto my husband.

So, instead of worrying about where I’m going to place the couch or which dishes will go into which kitchen cabinet, I get to find a good bat removal service in Salt Lake.  I’ve gone too long without a good night’s sleep with my husband next to me.  Salt Lake bat removal will get rid of those bats and let me finally, finally, have a full night’s sleep in the same bed with my husband.

Swallow Control

swallow removal

I have got to get some swallow control out here fast.  My home’s pretty new, just about 4 years old.  I did a lot of the work on the home myself, and was my own general contractor on the things I couldn’t or didn’t want to do, like the framing, concrete pouring, etc.  The point is, I’ve been involved with building my home from the beginning.  After it was built, I dove into landscaping and have put a lot of sweat, blood and sometimes bad words into long weekends devoted to making my house look beautiful.

And now, despite all my hard work, I need swallow control.  These swallows aren’t as awful from a distance.  I actually love to watch birds, and these birds are interesting.  Swooping, diving, keeping the mosquito population down and singing.  But, no matter how interesting they are to watch from a distance, I can not stand it when they try to build their mud nests around my house.  I keep trying to hose the mud down before they get very far on their nest-building, and I thought it would discourage them.  I really thought they’d move on to another area or at least find a more natural habitat.  But, no, they just try building on a different spot on my home.

First, it was directly on the stucco right above my front door.  After I sprayed that, they started building behind the light sensor.  I knocked down the mud drops that were the beginning of that nest, only to have them select an area out of my reach and out of the reach of my hose.  Now, they’re almost done building their mud nest on the stucco directly underneath the eaves at the very top of my home.  I’m at my wit’s end, and need professional swallow control help.

It wouldn’t be so bad, if it was just that sticky and then cement-like mud they make to build their nests.  That’s bad enough, because it never really comes off completely unless I get up there and physically scrub it off with a wire brush.  No, the reason I need professional swallow control is because they are pooping everywhere.  They land on the gutters, window sills, stone edges, patio.  And, everywhere they sit, they poop.

It’s disgusting dealing with the mud drops, mud nests and swallow droppings, and I just have had it.  I would rather be spending my time putting in the stone walkway I’ve designed, or building the gazebo I want.  Instead, I’m wasting my limited time trying to do swallow control myself, and I’m done.  I’ve spent too much time, too much money, and too much effort making my home look great just to have it all messed up by a bunch of free-loading swallows.  Enough is enough.

Mouse Trap

“That looks like a mouse trap to me,” said Marcus, wary.  Since joining up with the mouse nest in this house, he was the new guy, and always picked on.  He had to stay on his toes constantly.

“Whatever, dude, you’re totally paranoid,” said Norman.  He was the worst of the bunch, and was always trying to set Marcus up.  So far, he’d convinced Marcus to dart across the kitchen floor in broad daylight, sun shining and people awake and everything, just to bring back a forgotten piece of toast for Norman to eat.  Norman shared with his buddies, and the only bite Marcus got was the tiny crumb left in his mouse after Norman grabbed the toast from him.

Just yesterday, Norman and his friends had gotten Marcus to run back and forth in front of the tiny mouse hole they’d chewed through the wall.  He’d told Marcus to make as much noise as possible to distract the cat while Norman et al feasted on an unprotected bag of cereal in the pantry.  Again, Marcus got nothing for his trouble except for an extremely near-death experience when the cat’s questing paw had gotten too close for comfort.

So, he was not taking anything Norman said at face value.  They were all facing a huge, delicious gob of peanut butter.  The only problem was, the peanut butter was attached to a flat wooden platform with metal and a spring.  Marcus was pretty sure it was a mouse trap.  He wasn’t a psychic mouse, but he could see into his not-too-distant future if he were to do what Norman wanted him to do.  He’d be dead, head and body sandwiched between the metal and the wooden platform, while Norman and cronies licked peanut butter off his lifeless form.  These guys were brutal.  No mouse mourned another mouse’s death, especially when food was involved.  It was a mouse-eat-mouse world, and peanut butter upped the ante considerably.

Enough was enough.  He’d been the under-mouse for too long and it was beyond time to stand up for himself.  Taunting a cat was one thing, as was darting across a kitchen floor, but a mouse trap meant the end.  No escape.  The grande finale.


“What did you say??” Norman demanded.

“No.  If you want it so badly, you taste it.”

“All you’ve been doing is complaining that I never let you eat anything.  You’re upset about the toast and the cereal.  Now, when I let you go first, before any of us get a chance to dig in, you’re saying no?  You’re the most bi-polar mouse I’ve ever heard of!”

Marcus didn’t know what a bi-polar mouse was, but he wasn’t about to let name-calling goad him into a mouse trap.  “You’re right, Norman, you’re always right.  I have been whining, and it’s time to defer to your leadership.  You’re the head of the gang, you’re our leader.  You get to go first.”

Marcus was met by silence.  Until then, he didn’t even know that a mouse could look that surprised.  “Eh, I bet there’s something better in the pantry.  Wanna come?” asked Norman.

“I think I’ll be better off searching for food on my own, thanks,” said Marcus, and walked off, sure that he had just avoided death by mouse trap.

Bat Control

get rid of bats

I wonder how much bat control I need.  We’re buying a house, and the inspection turned up an attic full of bat feces.  Bat droppings are all over the place, but we haven’t been able to find a single bat in the attic, or anywhere else in the place.

I really love this house.  I researched the area with my agent, and we’re in a really good school district, we’re within walking distance to the grocery store and other shopping areas, it’s a quiet neighborhood with other kids who are close in age to my own two children, and the house itself is perfect for us.  After my divorce, we agreed to sell our old house and split the proceeds.  Of course, some child support came from my husband’s portion, but other than that, it was even-steven.  I was happy to get out of that old house, anyway.  It held too many bad memories for me, and the neighbors had been really good friends of both me and my husband.  It was getting awkward to see them or chat with them, because they either sided with my husband, or spoke badly of him in front of my kids, or they just looked at me with pity.  I had to get out and get a fresh start.  So, even though we ended up moving into this much smaller home, it is the perfect size for the three of us, and a new neighborhood, new job and new school for the kids were just what we needed.

The house is small, but it still has enough bedrooms and bathrooms to make all of us happy.  I love the style of it, too.  It has kind of a French country feel to it.  I was honest with my agent when we were putting in a bid.  I really, really wanted this house.  Of course, I also really, really needed it to be within my price range.

So, when the inspection turned up a few issues, like the fact that the house needed bat control, my agent and I decided to use it as a negotiation aid.  I’d pay for the bat control if the seller would pay closing costs.  The seller accepted, and we are scheduled to close on the home in a little over a week.

I’ve been calling around for bat control quotes, and finally settled on Allstate Animal Control.  They are nation-wide and have contractors right here.  Plus, they will clean up and sanitize the attic in addition to the bat control.  The guy I talked to was really knowledgeable about the bats in our area, and had some good guesses about which kind of bats had roosted up there.  He also told me that, when they came out to do the bat control and clean-up, he’d inspect the home, remove any bats he finds, and seal up the entrance-points.  All for one very reasonable fee.  I was really impressed with their bat control knowledge.

Now, I just have to focus on packing everything up, closing on the new home, and moving me and the kids in.  Fresh starts are wonderful, especially right after a difficult time.

How long does a dead animal smell?

get rid of rats

I consider myself a pretty intelligent person, but I have absolutely no idea how long a dead animal smells.  You might wonder why that would even come up, but unless you’re really into death, there’s really only one reason a person would need to know how long does a dead animal smell.  It’s because there’s a dead animal in my wall.

I’ve been extremely busy lately, finishing up my master’s program.  I’ve got my classes, my school work, my full-time job, and my internship, so I don’t spend a lot of time at home.  Pretty much, I’m just at home to study and sleep, and sometimes I’ll grab something out of the fridge to eat.  Otherwise, I’m at school or at work and eating in the car or with one of my friends in the same masters program.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I walked in the apartment and was knocked over by the most atrocious smell I’d ever had the displeasure of smelling in my short lifetime.  Now, I haven’t noticed anything like rats in the apartment or mouse droppings or anything else, so it took me a while to even consider the fact it might be a dead animal in the wall.  I scoured the apartment that evening, despite my desperate need to get more work done.  I just couldn’t focus on anything other than finding the source of the stench, and wondering how long does a dead animal smell.

I figured a dead animal will smell as it rots, so until it’s completely rotted or desiccated, it will stink up the place.  Of course, this happened in the early spring, which made me grateful for small favors.  What if this had happened in the summer?  Summers can get pretty intense around here, and if you added in humidity, I’m sure the smell would have been even worse.  As it was, it was awful, and I needed to do something fast.

I finally determined the smell was not food rotting in the kitchen or a forgotten sandwich in the bedroom, and that the smell was coming from the living room, which was a sparse room that was hardly ever used.  I noticed there were several flies in that room, too, which had completely ignored the forgotten  bedroom-sandwich and were focused instead on a patch of wall.  Sniffing warily, I convinced myself the smell was stronger there than anywhere else. That’s when I finally realized it must be a dead animal in the wall.

How long does a dead animal smell?  I wasn’t sure how long the smell had been there.  Obviously, it had gotten progressively worse, but I had been too busy, and  wasn’t home enough to notice before that night.

Well, it wasn’t too late to call up a friend and spend the night over there.  In the morning, I’d get the apartment manager to get someone to remove the dead animal out of the wall.  Hopefully, they’d do it fast enough that I wouldn’t have to find out the answer to the burning question, how long does a dead animal smell.