Armadillo on the Lawn

armadillo removal

A new puppy and an armadillo on the lawn do not mix.  It’s getting to the point where I hate both.  I’ve always considered myself an animal-lover, but this new drama between a rowdy puppy and a destructive armadillo on my lawn at two in the morning is starting to take its toll.


We already have a small dog who prefers to stay indoors as he is aging, but as he gets older and more sick, he prefers to be left alone.  I had the not-so-brilliant idea that we should get another dog, a puppy that could grow with the kids.  The children could play catch with it outside, I’d get more exercise as I took the dog out for walks, and it might ease the imminent trauma of losing our current pet.


So, we got a boxer/terrier puppy mix.  We found him at the local shelter, and I could not believe how beautiful and friendly he was.  Then, we took him home.  He is a forceful ball of non-stop energy.  He makes the children happy, when I feel he’s safe enough for them to play together.  Most of the time, he just tries to chew everything and everyone in a playful way.  He’s like a small tank with happy genes, and he never stops.


You can imagine, then, the racket that woke us up the other night when our puppy discovered an armadillo on the lawn.  It had already been a long day at work and with the kids, and I didn’t get to bed until late.  When the puppy started barking sharply and constantly, it woke us all up, including our ornery old indoor dog, who started howling, angry at being disturbed.  I felt his pain.  If I could have howled, I just might have.


I threw on my robe and slippers, and rushed outdoors, trying to quietly yell at the dog to shut up so I wouldn’t wake up whichever neighbors had managed to sleep through the earlier noise.  It took a while for me to understand why the dog was so noisy.  We had an armadillo on the lawn.


The puppy seemed satisfied that he had done his job, and finally hushed up, but he still chased the armadillo around the lawn.  As soon as the puppy approached the armadillo, it would jump straight up into the air, and run in a different direction, surprisingly agile.  If I’d been watching a video of it, I’m sure I would have laughed at the antics of both creatures.  Since it was two in the morning, I was annoyed, embarrassed and cold, it wasn’t as funny.  It became even less amusing when I saw the holes the armadillo had scratched in the lawn.


I’d hoped the armadillo in the lawn would be too scared to return, but it has returned several nights in a row, taunting my puppy.  I’m done with the drama.  Let Allstate Animal Control get rid of the armadillo on the lawn, and let a trainer teach my dog some manners.  Then, maybe, life will be a little more normal.



Moles in the Lawn

get rid of moles

The moles in my lawn are driving me absolutely crazy.  Every day, I knock down about ten or fifteen mounds and try to fill in the holes.  Every morning, when I look out the window, I see ten or fifteen new or re-built mounds.  I’ve lived in this house for eleven years, and never had moles in the lawn before.  But, now, the yard looks bumpy and ugly, grass is dying, I’ve lost a couple of bushes, and I’m just sick and angry about it.  I don’t even want to let my kids go out and play back there, because I’m afraid they might twist an ankle in a hole left behind by a mole, or fall over one of the tunnels.  What if they catch some disease from mole droppings or parasites that might live on moles.  Do parasites live on moles?  I didn’t know anything about them, except what they look like and the kind of destruction they leave behind.


So, I’ve hopped on the internet and I’ve done some research.  I know how often they breed, what they like to eat, how they killed my bushes, how quickly they dig through dirt, what kind of tunnels they use to travel through and the types of burrows they use as nesting grounds.  I know all kinds of facts, and they only make me more frustrated and angry.


Of course, there are all kinds of websites that tell you how to get rid of moles in the lawn.  People will suggest anything, and they all swear that their method is the best technique.  I’ve read about and watched on-line videos of idiots with dynamite or firecrackers.  Some people advocate liberally spreading poison all over your lawn, or piping the exhaust from a car or truck down through the tunnels.  I just have to shake my head.  I don’t want to do any further damage to my yard, I’m afraid of what the poison would do to my dog (who is useless at catching moles, by the way), and I don’t want to risk blowing myself or my property sky-high.


I did get one important fact from my web searching.  I found the Allstate Animal Control website.  They are a national network of professionals.  These are people who are trained to remove moles from my lawn and who can even help me repair the damage the moles caused.  Despite what my mother-in-law believes, you really can’t believe everything you read online.  Results are results, though, and I can believe in a legitimate company that seeks out professionals in every region who know exactly how to handle the problem animals in their area.  So, thanks to my online research, I know a great deal more about moles.  More importantly, I have an excellent company that will solve my problem with moles in the lawn.



Gophers in the Lawn

get rid of gophers

If I hadn’t ignored the problem, I wouldn’t have so many gophers in our lawn.  But, when the first dirt mounds appeared, I had other things to think about.  So, instead of getting the gophers out of the lawn right away, I gave them time to populate my yard.  Stupid.  Just stupid.  And, now I need help.  I can’t afford gophers in my lawn, or my garden, or anywhere else on my property, especially since I’ve spent so much time making it beautiful.


I was starting up a new garden, so every moment that I got to spend outside was dedicated to my garden.  I plotted out a huge area, then I had to spend back-breaking hours de-sodding the area.  We’re not well-off, and I couldn’t afford the big fancy diesel machines that looked so promising and shiny at the garden stores I frequented.  I settled for the hand-me-down tools I got from my father and father-in-law, borrowed some tools from a neighbor as needed, but mostly, everything I did was done the old-fashioned way.  Hauling the grass away was done by cutting the vegetation up with a shovel, and then rolling it up as best I could, using the shovel as leverage.  I hauled the heavy grass away by hand.


Then, it was time to churn up the dirt, preparing it for planting.  I used the old hoe that sat in our garage, unused since we moved in, and went to work.  My shoulders and arms ached every single night, but my garden plot was starting to look like a lumpy brown opportunity.  I dreamed of walking up and down the rows in my back yard, pulling a weed or two, deciding whether I should pick this vegetable or let it grow just a little longer.  My wife wouldn’t have to go to the grocery store or the farmers market for our vegetables, since we’d just pull it straight out of our own garden.


As I worked, and dreamed, and ached, I had decided to ignore the ugly mounds of dirt, and holes, that appeared in the other areas of our property.  I had other things to worry about, like which seeds I was going to buy, and exactly where everything would get planted.  Do I plant the potatoes next to the cabbage?  Should I devote a portion of the garden to herbs?


One morning, I woke up and noticed a couple of holes in my newly planted garden.  We had gophers in the lawn, and now we had gophers in the garden.  All my hard work, all the sweat, all the money I’d devoted to this small plot of land, would be for nothing.  I contacted Allstate Animal Control right away to get the gophers out of the lawn as fast as possible.  Why had I ever allowed them to breed and tunnel, and enjoy the fruits of my labor?  No more!  I was getting a professional out to my property right away to get remove the gophers from my lawn so I could go back to my part-time job as home farmer.



Swallows on the House

I know it’s an irrational fear, but I’m very much afraid of the swallows on our house.  Some people are afraid of heights, some people are afraid of water.  I am afraid of birds.  They call it ornithophobia, and apparently it’s pretty common.  Some people are terrified of large birds of prey, but I can’t stand any bird whatsoever, large or small.  I don’t overreact, for the most part.  When I have a run-in with a bird, I freeze, get the sweats, and then, depending on the situation, I might run away screaming like a fourth-grade-girl chased by a boy with cooties.  Like I said, I don’t normally overreact.


We have a skylight in our second floor, which I’ve absolutely loved.  I was lying on the couch underneath it, staring up at the sky, trying to think through a problem at work.  That’s when I heard it.  It was a small sound at first, but enough to jolt me out of my brainstorming.  Something alive was restlessly stirring around over my head.  Then, something brown, with pointy wings, flew over the skylight, directly above me, joining whatever creature already occupied my roof.  Some part of me detached from my knee-jerk fear reaction, and the rational part of my brain analyzed what I had just witnessed, causing me to realize there were swallows on my house.  The irrational part of my brain wanted me to throw things at the ceiling to scare them away, and then hide in a fetal position in a closet until the disgusting things were gone.  I’m a grown man.  I rejected the desire to flee to the dark protection of the nearest closet.  Instead, I ran out of the room calling for my wife.  I thought I used a very normal tone of rational voice to call her name.  She says I squeaked and croaked something unintelligible.  Whatever I said, and however I said it, she did come running right away.


I somehow managed to communicate the reason for my flight, and she walked in the room to investigate.  Sure enough, we had two swallows on the house, and it looked like they were building a nest.  My loving and supporting wife laughingly suggested I climb onto the roof to take a look for myself.  In response, I looked up the contact information for Allstate Animal Control and made an appointment for someone to come and take a look for me.  For the first time since spotting the revolting things, I was relieved.  Someone was going to remove the swallows from my house.


It might be a while before I can relax under my skylight again, though.  I won’t even try to analyze why I’m so afraid of birds, but one thing’s for sure.  I refuse to allow any bird, including swallows, on my house.



Squirrel in the House

get rid of squirrels

I’m just about to go insane with squirrels in the house.  I think we’ve taken care of the problem, and then it starts up again, and the kids and I are being terrorized by the maddening gnawing and running and crashing going on above our heads.  It started with a squirrel in the house last spring.  The first time we heard the noise, my son had just returned from a sleep-over at a friend’s house, and they of course had watched a scary movie.  Hearing chewing and running sounds above his room early in the morning, while it was still dark, just about threw him into a screaming fit.  I climbed up into the attic to see what was going on, and saw the flash of a little bushy tail as the squirrel in the house scampered across the attic space.


Squirrels making a nest in your attic.
(Artwork by Sharon Davis. Contact us for her contact info.)

I tried everything I could to get rid of it, from making sure the vent was open so it could escape to setting out poisoned bait.  It still woke us up all night and early morning with its constant noise.  When I investigated again, the attic space was a mess.  Boxes had been chewed into.  It had gnawed on the soffits and joints.  Squirrel droppings were littered everywhere.  I’m not very handy.  In fact, I’m kind of useless when it comes to this kind of thing, so I wasn’t surprised that my efforts hadn’t worked.


I had a friend come over, who’s a lot handier at this kind of thing.  But, he just ended up doing exactly what I’d done.  This time, though, it worked.  The noises stopped for a while, and I realized the squirrel was probably dead.  By this time, it was winter, so I didn’t think about it too much.  The kids and I were just happy the noises had stopped and we could finally sleep all night through.


When it warmed up, though, I was reminded we’d had a squirrel in the house.  Since we don’t go in the attic that much, we didn’t have to deal with the odor.  But, the invasion of flies reminded me of the death above.  I begged another friend to come over and help me get rid of the dead squirrel in the house, and she and I managed it, even though we gagged the whole time.  I thought that was the end of it.


Now that it’s fully into spring, we have squirrels in the house again.  This time, there’s more of them.  A nest, maybe?  The constant noise is awful, and I am afraid to even think about the damage they’re doing.  No more calling favors in, and begging friends to help.  I’m going to get a professional.  I’ll call Allstate Animal Control, get the squirrels out of my house, get the damage repaired, and get it all cleaned up upstairs.  If this goes on much longer, I really will go insane.


Woodpecker on the House

woodpecker removal

A woodpecker in our tree is a science lesson, but a woodpecker on the house is a disaster.  My two children love our little science projects.  I’m the kind of mother who’s more worried about the cleanup than the project itself.  If it’s messy and the kids are happy and learning, then it’s completely worth it.  So, we make rain storms in bottles and water splashes on our floor that has to be mopped up.  We make dinosaur tracks and toy car tracks through colored salt dough, that dries up into tiny little specks that have to be vacuumed.  We liberally sprinkle glitter and feathers over art projects covered in glue.  My preschool-aged children adore learning, and are starting to get to the point where they are asking endless questions about the world around them.  I don’t mind cleaning up after my children’s science projects.  I do, however, mind cleaning up after the woodpecker on the house.


We were straightening up the front room, getting ready for a playgroup, when I spotted the woodpecker on our tree in the front yard.  It was beautiful, with spots on its chest and a red crest.  I couldn’t believe my luck, since I had just taught the children about woodpeckers two days earlier.  I excitedly called them over to the window, and we spent fifteen minutes watching the woodpecker listen for bugs in the tree, then confidently tapping away and grabbing the bugs up in its beak.  The front room didn’t get straightened up to my usual standards before the playgroup showed up, but it was worth the chance to watch nature.


Then, when we all went outside to play, I was chatting with one of the other mothers and noticed small black specks on the side of my house, up by one of the second story windows.  Coming down from the black specks were streaks of brown and reddish black.  The woman I was talking with told me they had the same thing.  “You have a woodpecker on your house.”  Now, I was all excited to see the woodpecker in our tree this morning, but thinking of it pecking small holes into the side of my home, and bird feces staining the side of the house, really annoyed me.  Just an hour before, I had thought of the woodpecker as a stately and interesting bird, and shared my love of nature with my children.  Now that I know that woodpecker was on the house, possibly we even had a woodpecker in the house, it became a nuisance that must be taken care of.


Unfortunately, I also knew that most woodpeckers are protected.  I couldn’t just pull out the bee bee gun.  If only it had been content in my tree, I would have been just fine.  But, a woodpecker on my house is an entirely different matter.  Time to call Allstate Animal Control, since they get rid of birds, too.  Science lessons are great, but not when they’re destroying my home.



Vole in the House

My landlord says we can’t have any pets, but he seems to be completely okay with a vole in the house, as long as it’s not a pet.  He swears there isn’t a mouse problem or a rat problem, but I started to doubt that when I saw some little brown, black and gray pellets in several different places throughout the house.  They weren’t in the kitchen, thank heavens.  But, I found some little droppings scattered under the bathroom sink, in the garage, and by one of the basement windows.  When I contacted my landlord, he said he’d already taken care of the mouse problem before I moved in.  That was news to me.  I think I would have liked to have known if there had been a problem with rodents living in the house I intended to occupy for the next couple of years.


My personality, though, is such that I can’t just not do something about a problem.  I have to take it on until it’s solved.  It’s the kind of personality trait that drove my mother crazy and made her proud at the same time.  So, I headed to the hardware store, picked up a few mouse traps, and set them around the house near the areas that had the droppings.


I was really surprised by what I caught, though.  It was definitely not a rat.  Nowhere near big enough.  It didn’t really look like a mouse, either.  I mean, it was small, brown and furry.  But, its nose was a lot longer and the face was, just different than a mouse.  So, I took a picture and threw it out, and then re-set the trap.  Then, I looked it up online.  Turns out, I have a vole in the house.  I’ve never seen a vole up close, until today.  I’ve seen the damage a vole does in a yard, though.  But, I was pretty sure they stayed out in the yard.  Chewing through tulip bulbs, the roots of bushes, and making yucky brown trails all over the yard, evidence they’ve successfully killed the grass over their tunnels.


And, now it turns out I actually have a vole in the house.  Well, at least I did.  But, my research shows that, where there’s one vole, there’s many.  I bet the voles just use the little mouse holes left by the mouse population my landlord swears he killed.  While I don’t have any plants or things for them to eat inside, it is warm and dry, and I’m sure looks like a perfect place for a vole to burrow.  I don’t care.  A rodent is a rodent.  Whether it’s a mouse, rat or vole, it needs to be out of my house.  Now, if I can only convince my landlord to call Allstate Animal Control to take care of the voles in my house . . . maybe I should fish the vole out of the trash and show it to him.  Sometimes, a visual aid is the best argument.



Skunk in the House

It took forever for us to figure out we had a skunk in the house.  It shouldn’t have taken us that long, but you have to understand we live in a duplex, and we’ve had problems with our neighbors for years.  Now, we’re not the ritziest people.  We work hard, though.  I work two jobs and my boyfriend does construction work, so he can either be working a 16 hour day for three days in a row, or have no work for a week.  On the days he’s not working, he’ll pick up odd jobs and fix up houses and stuff.  We made some bad choices a couple of years back, so we have some real serious debts to pay off, and we want to put money down on a new house.  That’s why we work so much, so we can pay off the debt, buy a house, get married and start a family, maybe.


But the people that live next door are a nightmare.  They throw all-night parties, people coming and going until 3 or 4 in the morning.  Makes it kind of hard when I get home at ten at night and have to be up again at six.  They throw their trash out on the front lawn.  Never even makes it to the garbage can.  It’s just junk and stuff rotting or rusting.  Makes it embarrassing when we have our friends over, because they have to walk next to that.  I think they have to have mice or something nesting in that garbage, though, which is probably how we ended up with a skunk in the house.


Sure, we’ve complained.  The guy who owns the duplex doesn’t really care, though.  He’s got tenants that pay regular rent, so that’s that.  Yeah, he’s talked to them a couple of times, but it doesn’t look like anyone’s going anywhere.  We can’t move out fast enough, if you ask me.


We weren’t all that surprised when we started smelling a new awful smell.  Took us a while to figure out what it was, though.  We just assumed it was more garbage, or something had died or something.  Then, one morning, I was headed out to work around six, when I saw the black and white cat-sized animal come out of a hole in the wall, right behind the gas meter.  That’s when I realized we have a skunk in the house.  The meters are kind of in between the two duplexes, so it’s hard to tell whether it’s on our side or not.  I don’t care.  We can all smell it, and it can probably get into either side.


I called my husband from work, since he didn’t have a job that day, and told him all about it.  He called the landlord, who promised to get Allstate Animal Control out there to get rid of the skunk in the house.  I hope so.  If only we could ask them to get rid of the neighbors at the same time.



Pigeons in the House

pigeon removal

As the children have gotten older, I’m able to let them play outside on their own more and more, but they still have this awful habit of leaving the door open, and now we’re getting pigeons in the house.  At first, I didn’t realize we’d have a pigeon problem.  I thought the children’s frustrating habit of leaving the door wide open would simply lead to higher heating and air conditioning bills, or allow the next door neighbor’s dog to run inside our home every now and then.  I didn’t know it could lead to pigeons in the house, and I’m more disgusted by those devil birds than I am by our neighbor’s unwashed yappy little creature.  At least with a dog, I can shoo it out of my house, clean up after it, and know that it’s gone.  I have no idea how many pigeons have fluttered their way into my home, so I don’t know if one got left behind, hiding in another room, dropping little bird mites onto my sofa or dining room table, ready to swoop down on one of us when we walk unsuspectingly into that room.  Just gross.


But, they do.  My guess is, they’re nesting or roosting in the house just down the street.  It’s been abandoned for just over a year now.  The previous owners struggled with their mortgage payments, especially after the husband got sick and the medical bills racked up.  They had to move out of state to live nearer to a special clinic that he needed, so they rented it out for a while.  Unfortunately, the people who rented it didn’t take care of the place, and it got run down pretty quick.  Finally, the bank had to foreclose on the place, the tenants moved, and it’s sat there empty ever since.  What a waste.  And, what an attractive place for nuisance animals like pigeons to call their home.


I’m not naïve.  I fully expect those flying rats to breed and move into the rest of the neighborhood.  Or, attempt to move in.  My husband and I have been pretty vigilant about checking out our attic to make sure nothing’s living up there, and we spot check the outside of our house, looking for holes or cracks.  But, I’ve heard a lot of animals can get into the house through the tiniest of openings.  Of course, my kids like to put out the welcome mat for them, when they disregard my rules and leave the door wide open.


We get pigeons in the house who just fly or walk right through the open back door.   I will find them around the dog’s food bowl, or hanging around the kitchen garbage can.  I grab the broom and chase those suckers straight back out the door, but sometimes I’ll miss one.  I might have to call the bank that foreclosed on that empty house, to see if they’ll get Allstate Animal Control to get rid of the pigeons in the house.  And, my family will just have to be more vigilant to keep them out of our house, too.





Rabbits in the Yard

rabbit removal

I work for an organization that provides and maintains homes for people who are working hard to transition to life outside a mental health facility, and we have rabbits in the yard of one of our homes.  This home is located just off a busy street in a fairly rural neighborhood, and houses six female guests at a time.  Normally, we have a difficult time finding good properties in areas where the city doesn’t fight us on zoning issues.  For the sake of our clients, we try to be as discreet as possible, but sometimes when neighbors find out who we are and who intends on moving in, we face all kinds of opposition.


But, this property was different.  We were contacted by the previous owner, who specifically wanted to sell to us.  He said it had been his family’s home for twenty-five years, and he’d made all kinds of improvements to it and updated the bathrooms and kitchen.  His son had struggled with a mental health problem for years, but through perseverance and the efforts of organizations like ours, he was living a happy and healthy life with a family and a steady job.  When we did our preliminary investigations, we found the property was perfect.  It had enough rooms to transfer into bedrooms and one large day room.  Its kitchen was large enough for the needs of our clients.  And, it was on a large property that would allow house guests to meet outside, or stroll around on the premises.  In addition, the neighbors were well-aware of who we are and what we do, and they welcomed us with open arms.  They’d known the previous owner’s son, too, and loved him.


It’s been one of our most successful locations, until one of the guests tripped over a trench dug on the side of the house and twisted her ankle.  I inspected the property myself, and spoke with the guests.  Several guests admitted to having seen rabbits in the yard, poking their heads out of the trench, nibbling on the grass.  One of our employees at the home had even stumbled across a rabbit nest in the yard, a small depression in the grass, in which three tiny little rabbits huddled and waited for their mama to return.


As a property manager, I was frustrated that no one had brought this to our attention before now.  I understand the guests loved their little friends, but those adorable animals beget a lot more adorable little animals, and they can chew, and dig, and destroy.  Plus, rabbits in the yard might be attractive to other wild animals, like feral cats or raccoons.


So, much to the chagrin of our guests and employees, we need to get the rabbits out of the yard.  Fortunately, we’ve worked with Allstate Animal Control before, and we know they do a great job.