Squirrely Situation

Earlier this year, I discovered that I had a bat problem, and it wasn’t one that was easy to solve, either.  It took about four to five months to get rid of the problem completely, and we didn’t do it alone. First we had to get the bats OUT of my attic, then we had to clean up the mess they left behind, and lastly we sealed off all the holes that bats could fit through; needless to say there was a lot to do.  Fast forward to last month when I thought that my wildlife problems were over; a big storm hit and actually tore down my gutters and some soffit along with it.

If I had been home when this happened, the holes would have been closed off within days, but I wasn’t.  It happened two days after I had left on my family vacation to Disneyland and my neighbor’s daughter was house sitting.  So these gaping holes sat open for a week and a half just waiting for something to move into the attic.  When I came home and saw what had happened I went into panic mode; I had just spent all that money to get my attic cleared and sealed of all bats and possible bat entrances and in a matter of hours all that work was ruined.  I inspected the attic for any of the signs that I had seen before but luckily none of the telltale bat signs were there, just some twigs and pine needles that had blown in from outside (or so I thought).

So, thinking that I had narrowly escaped another bat infestation, I quickly called a roofer to seal up the gaps and make my house bat proof once again.  Here’s the problem, those sticks and pine needles I saw, it turns out they didn’t just blow in and if I had looked a little deeper I would have found that there was also torn insulation.  Apparently in the space of time between the soffit being torn down and my attic being resealed, a family of squirrels had moved in.  It wouldn’t have been a problem if we hadn’t accidentally sealed them inside.  Now here I am in nearly the same situation just trying to get ALL of the animals out of my attic for good.  All I know is that after this squirrel problem, I’m putting my wildlife technician on speed dial.

Multi-Million Dollar Mess

I have a MAJOR woodpecker problem.  My family and I recently purchased a multi-million dollar vacation home, or a vacation cabin I guess you would call it, in Colorado; it’s a beautiful home, built from old, reclaimed barn wood.  The thing about this cabin though, is that we never went to see it in person.  It sounds crazy, but we live in Texas so we couldn’t exactly make a day out of it and with my husband and I running our own business, a weekend getaway didn’t look plausible either.  So instead, we sent our realtor out to the site to give the place a once over and send us pictures; I guess he didn’t realize that wood doesn’t come with that many holes in it and the photos he sent were from a far enough distance that we didn’t notice the holes, either, so we bought the place.

Now I’m not saying that we wouldn’t have bought the cabin if we knew that the damage was there because it is an incredible home, but we definitely would have had the repairs estimated and deducted from the price.  Truthfully, we probably could have negotiated something with the seller right after the purchase; that is if it hadn’t taken us three months to find the time to go out to the house.  About two months ago, we were finally able to make the trip to Colorado, and seeing the house in person was amazing! Pictures didn’t do it justice, I was so taken aback by the actual home that I didn’t notice the woodpecker damage at first, but while I was in the upstairs loft, I heard strange squeaks from the ceiling above me.  I went outside to see if there was a bird on the roof or maybe squirrels, and that’s when I started noticing all the holes.  There was definitely a woodpecker problem so I called the realtor and he gave me the number of a Wildlife technician.

The man was able to confirm the ongoing woodpecker problem just with pictures, but when I explained to him the noises I had heard in the ceiling, he insisted on coming out to the property himself, and I’m so glad he did.  Not only did we have a woodpecker problem, but we had a bat problem too.  Apparently, smaller animals will turn woodpecker holes into nests, and these bats had used them as an entrance into both walls and the ceiling of our new home.  Luckily, the technician was equipped and trained to handle both of these wildlife problems, but it wasn’t going to be easy – or cheap.  Now, two months and $20,000 later we are on the last stages of covering and filling the woodpecker holes and getting rid of the bats FOR GOOD.  I don’t have any regrets about buying this house; my husband and I love it, our children love it, and it’s a perfect place for the rest of the family to meet.  What I do regret, is not looking at the place myself the FIRST time.  If we ever buy another house, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be giving it a personal once over.

Chicken Massacre

Cleaning up 17 dead chickens was not on my list of things to do today, but guess what? Last night a raccoon killed my chickens, almost all of them too. I’ve got four left and I’m not sure one will make it to tomorrow morning.  Needless to say, I’m ticked. I raised these chickens from chicks and they had just started to lay eggs! They weren’t a year old yet, and here I am, just about back where I started from.

I talked to a couple of my neighbors earlier and I guess they’ve been having similar problems, only it’s not just raccoons, skunks have been out and about too.  Over the last five years I have lost roughly 30+ chickens to a combination of raccoons, weasels, dogs, bird flu, and even cars, but usually it’s a few here and there.  This is the first time that I have had nearly ALL of my chickens massacred and killed at one time and I don’t plan to let it happen again.

A close friend of mine had a problem with raccoons killing his chickens a few years ago, so I asked him for advice.  Since I’m not willing to sit up all night to try and shoot the coon, he recommended trapping it. He gave me the number for a guy that considers it his ‘specialty’.  Well, I’ll let you know how special he and his traps are after they catch thing(s).  All I know is I’m going to deal with my problem my way, and hopefully help my neighbors in the process.

Snug as a Skunk in a Rug

I never thought I would hear the words “don’t panic” coupled with “there’s a skunk in the house”. I could make a list of things I never thought my mom would say to me, and this is so far out there that I don’t think I could have even made it up; but guess what? Not ten minutes ago my mom came into my room and said, and I quote, “Kelsey, now don’t panic, but I thought you should know that there’s a skunk in the house.” How does that not immediately ensue panic! Obviously this was something I’d have to see to believe so I snuck my way downstairs to get a glimpse of the already unbelievable situation (and honestly, I still didn’t quite believe what I saw).  The skunk wasn’t just hiding in a corner – no, that would be too easy – he had crawled underneath the ottoman and wasn’t coming out! I watched in shock as my dad slowly slid a broom under the couch, trying to usher the thing out the front door, but the skunk would run towards it and make a hissing noise! I 100% thought it was going to spray my dad right in the mouth, no questions asked but something must have been watching over him because that never happened.

After about an hour of the back and forth with the broom, it was clear that we needed a new plan of attack.  If the skunk wanted to stay in the dark, then we would have to make it dark.  Memories of pillow forts that covered the entire room flooded into my mind, and call me crazy, but I knew exactly what we had to do.  We gathered together some large, old boxes from both our garage and the neighbors’ and laid them together like a tunnel, then we covered the tops with old sheets and table cloths so that there was no light shining in at all and there it was: our home made skunk tunnel. If this bad boy wouldn’t get the skunk out of our house, then that was it, I was moving.

We all stood by, waiting anxiously to see if it would work. After a few seconds of silent anticipation, my dad nodded to my little brother to open the front door before he slowly bent down and prodded at the skunk with the broom.  This time, instead of running at my dad, we saw the skunk crawl out from the couch, run through our makeshift tunnel, and down the front steps.  We all cheered and I have to admit, it was pretty cool.  I don’t know how I managed to stay calm and not panic, especially when there was a skunk in my house, but I guess I’m good at keeping my cool?


Having raccoons living in your chimney is no walk in the park, especially when you don’t know about it.  I honestly can’t tell you how long they have even lived in there, and yes there are more than one.  A mother and four babies, to be exact.  It might seem crazy to you that I didn’t realize there was something unusual living in my chimney, but my mind has been on other things lately, and since the weather has just started to cool down for the year, I haven’t had much reason to be around the chimney now have I?

So there I was, on a chilly mid-October’s night, and I decided that nothing but a warm fire could make my night more perfect.  I collected the firewood and arranged it carefully in the fireplace, then I opened the damper.  I heard loud scratching as (what I assumed to be) the mother scurried out of the chimney, then two small raccoons rolled out from the open damper, hissing and running frantically for some sort of cover; I was right behind them. Cowering behind my kitchen counter, I watched two more raccoons crawl out of the damper into my house, I couldn’t believe it I had been sharing my house with 5 raccoons for who knows how long!  I probably sat there for a good ten minutes before I could really wrap my head around the fact that there were raccoons living in my chimney.

With my husband overseas in Turkey, there was no way I was going to be dealing with this problem on my own.  After about an hour of research and deliberation (noted I did this at my mother-in-law’s house), I was able to find a company online that specialized in wildlife removal. Luckily, they had a 2 o’clock appointment available that day to come out and find the little suckers.  In the end, it took about an hour and a half to find and capture all four babies but we did it.  I’m still stressed that the mother raccoon will come back and chew her way through my front door to get her babies back, but the trapper assured me that that wasn’t exactly how it worked.  They set a trap near the chimney entrance and hopefully she’ll be trapped and gone in the next couple of days.  It has been a week and the whole thing still seems surreal to me, but here’s my advice: before you go starting a fire, listen carefully for any sounds coming from above the damper.  You never know if you’ll have raccoons living in your chimney, too.

That’s Just Peachy

I didn’t realize that I had a squirrel problem, at first.  It actually took about a month and a half and an actual squirrel sighting for me to really wrap my head around it, which seems silly now.  All the signs were there, the chewing on siding, the pit-less peaches, and the burrows.  Actually, I think all of those reasons were why I was so confused! When I picture squirrels, I think of them living in trees, collecting pinecones and acorns, I guess peaches didn’t seem like their food choice? Also, the fact that they were burrowing underground, making a hole right off the edge of my concrete patio.  Plus the chewed fencing and siding? I guess I really had connected it to rats.

I noticed the siding first, but honestly on first glance I thought that my son had just chipped some away with his soccer ball on accident so I didn’t think twice about it.  I knew that squirrels chewed on things to help keep their teeth at a reasonable length, but I never connected that to this.  Then, I noticed the burrow.  That made me think that I had gophers or moles or something, I didn’t realize that squirrels burrowed underground? But I totally thought that I had rats or gophers living at my house, I even set up rat traps hoping to catch it/them.  The thing that finally got me to realize that it was in fact a squirrel problem and not some other animal, was the peach pits.

This was really odd to me; every year peaches fall on the ground and sometimes animals like raccoons or even my dog will eat them.  This year was different though, all of the peaches on the ground were intact for the most part, the only thing different was that the pits were missing and nothing else! After a little bit of research I found out that squirrels sometimes chew on the peach pits to grind down their teeth, and that’s when I connected the chewed siding and the peach mystery.  After finally getting to the bottom of it, I called in a professional to remove the squirrel(s) from my yard.  After only a week, we had caught 3 squirrels and were able to seal off their nest under my porch and call it a day!  I’m lucky that it wasn’t more of a hassle, and that the trapper had an easier time identifying the squirrel problem than I did.

Ghost in the Wall

We have recently discovered bats roosting in our walls.  Actually, they’ve been there for about two months now, only my husband and I are just realizing it.  My four year old daughter, Gracie, on the other hand, has known about it the whole time.  My sweet Gracie could hear the bats in the walls before my husband and I could even comprehend what was happening, of course she was too young to understand exactly what it was.  The worst part was that we had let her watch the new Ghost Busters about two weeks before, so once noises started in her bedroom walls, she was convinced there was a ghost living in the walls.  Knowing there was no such thing in the wall, I dismissed her claim as wind or noises from the furnace.  Now that I know what it is, I feel very guilty about the whole thing.

If it wasn’t for Grace, I don’t know that we would have ever noticed the bats in the wall until it had gotten way out of hand. She woke me up about once a week, crying about the ghost haunting her room, (I feel terrible) but I continually told her that there was no such thing as ghosts and ushered her back to bed.  After two months of this, I finally gave in and let her drag me into her bedroom to hear the ghost noises.  The surprising thing was that I actually heard them.  That’s when I made Rob (my husband), investigate the sounds.

It turns out that we had bats in the wall, I couldn’t believe it because it didn’t look like there was any way for a bat to access the inside of the wall anywhere!  Well about a year ago, we had some small problems with a woodpecker that would occasionally wake us up by drilling at the east wall of the house, the same wall where Gracie’s room is now located.   After the woodpecker had left our house, we thought nothing of it OR the holes that it had made.  Now, a year later, the bats had used those holes to get inside of the walls! That’s the bad news, though.  The good news is that I have a company coming out to inspect the house and hopefully will be able to get rid of the ‘ghost’ that has been haunting our house!

Big Bad Bat

I haven’t had to see a doctor for anything more than a check-up since I was 12 and had the flu; but this morning, I was bitten by a bat.  I have never once in the 13 years that I have lived here, seen a bat any closer to my house than flying over it at night.  I’ve never had one on my porch, in my attic, or even in the trees so I cannot imagine why this one ended up in my front yard today.  What I do know, is that I am not very happy about this.

So here’s what happened: it was about 6:30 am and I was getting ready to take my daughter to early morning choir practice.  Of course it was too early to put on tennis shoes so I had slipped on some $2 Walmart flip flops to go out and start the car.  Walking across the lawn, I suddenly stepped on something soft, I quickly retracted my foot and turned on my phone’s flashlight.  I couldn’t quite tell what it was so I lightly turned it over with my foot.  That’s when it happened.  The nasty little thing reached out and bit my toe.  I yelled out in pain, shook my foot free, and drove myself to the hospital – don’t worry I dropped my daughter off at school on the way.

Now here I am, sitting in a hospital bed waiting for test results that I don’t know if I want to see.  The chances are definitely slim of me having rabies, but I’m getting treatments any way.  I’ve called a professional to go and find the bat.  It may sound impossible but it flew into the tree in my front yard after I shook it free, so hopefully it isn’t too hard.  I would like to have the bat tested also.  I’m still in disbelief that this all happened, I mean how many people do you know that can say they were bitten by a bat? If nothing else, it makes for a good story.