Skunked Out

I’m worried that we have a reoccurring skunk problem underneath the addition in the back of our house.  We had a problem with it earlier this year during spring time when we found out that a skunk had dug a hole under the addition and hibernated there over the winter.  I don’t think we would have noticed if it hadn’t sprayed EVERYTHING around it when it woke up; it was awful but we were a little hopeful that it would move on after that.  That didn’t happen of course, the next night we woke up to hear thumps and squealing that we assume was the skunk fighting with another animal which led to it spraying AGAIN.

After that we called an animal control company to do an inspection to help us deal with our skunk problem, and when the worker came out he found two separate entrances but just set out one trap and said he’d be back the next day.  Well when he didn’t show up with another trap and wasn’t answering his phone, we were a little flustered and very frustrated.  We called the company directly and requested someone come set up another trap and get rid of them.  They quickly sent someone else over and we were able to trap the skunk that had moved in and get rid of it. After that we had to remove and replace almost all of the insulation from the area and seal off the entrances.  The gist is that the whole process was a mess.

After months without a sign of any new skunks, just two nights ago we started to smell skunk.  Not nearly as bad as when it sprayed underneath us, but it’s strong enough that we noticed it frequently.  I’ve look around where the old entrances were and they look alright but I’m just so worried that they’ve come back looking for a place to hole up for the winter.  We just need an inspection to see if there is any chance they’ve come back; and we need a technician that’s going to come prepared for the job!

Sky Rodents

I have a pigeon problem, thanks to my overly generous, grandmotherly neighbor. Now I’m not saying that she isn’t sweet or caring, I’m just saying that she puts animals over people frequently.  If you ask her to feed your cat over the weekend while you go on a business trip, she will skip with joy; but, if you ask to borrow some sugar or eggs, she will not do so happily.  Needless to say, my needs and comfort are far from her mind when it comes to these birds.  As a spinster with no husband and no children (or at least none that I’ve ever seen), she has adopted these pigeons as her God-given kids.

This wasn’t that big of a deal at first, mostly because it didn’t start with pigeons; she just kept a small bird feeder in her backyard for the small birds that came and went.  Over the years she’s collected more and more, and it was just three months ago that the pigeon problem started.  You know how in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone all of the owls surround the Dursley’s house trying to get Harry his letter? Well, take the letters out of the scene and BINGO that is what her house looked like after a month or so.  She fed one and they just kept coming! And before I knew it they were starting to roost on my roof and make an awful mess!

I’ve tried talking to her and asking her to stop feeding the birds to see if just maybe they’ll leave, but like I said these are her kids and it doesn’t seem like there’s any way to get her to agree to that one. I believe her exact words when I asked if she would be willing to stop feeding the birds were, “you selfish little woman, can’t you just put your own needs aside for one minute to appreciate what’s happening here?” I’m not joking, that’s almost verbatim for what she said.   I know I can’t force her to stop feeding them and I can’t hire someone to get them off her property, but if someone could help me control the birds on my property I’d be very grateful!

Well, I’ll be Dammed

We definitely have a wildlife problem, and it’s affecting our business tremendously. My family comes from a long line of farmers; we raise cattle, chickens, horses, ducks, and a few goats and pigs; and we also grow many vegetables, hay, and alfalfa; all of these things, animals and plants alike, are sustained for the most part by the river that runs through our property.  We have sprinkler lines that run through the plants, and while we do have a well, we mostly draw water from there.  The problem is that a beaver(s) has started to dam up the river about a mile up from the farmhouse.

I’ve had problems like this before, but this year has been especially dreadful.  As a farmer, I’m all about living off of the natural land and sharing with the wildlife that comes with it, but this is becoming a serious issue.  We do have a well, but it wouldn’t be enough to for everything to run off of alone.  I’m hoping that there’s someone that can trap and relocate the beavers to another area.  Another problem I’m having is with porcupines.  While they usually avoid the main house and barn areas, recently I’ve had two instances where I found myself pulling quills out of both horses and my dogs.

I’m really just looking for someone that can help us with these issues so that we don’t have to do it ourselves.  We don’t mind the wildlife, and if we did there’s not much we could do about it.  We just need someone to help with the damming from the beavers and also see if there’s somewhere the porcupine could be living on the main property and if there is, move him further up into the hills where he won’t bother us and we won’t bother him! Really, anything is better than nothing, we’re just looking for some help, and at the least some advice.

Wildlife out the Wazzoo

I have so many wildlife problems, I don’t know where to start.  The most recent is the skunk problem, which started around two weeks ago.  Surprisingly that one is the least problematic, I mean yeah it stinks (literally), but it causes less damage than the others.  But, no matter what it still stinks so I need to have it taken care of.  I think they’re burrowing underneath my porch, and I don’t even know how many there actually are whether it’s one or five or more!  It really doesn’t matter how many, because I need them to vacate the premises ASAP.

The next wildlife problem is the raccoons; this one is the second most costly issue.   A mother and her four babies have decided that the overhang of my deck is the best place to shack up.  Not only is it inconvenient and probably hazardous, but it can be scary, too.  When you walk out the backdoor onto the deck, the mother goes crazy above you; she’ll hiss and scratch and the babies will mew, it’s very aggravating.  This is also a more recent issue, the raccoons started just before the skunk, but my biggest problem started WAY before that.

Woodpeckers.  Not that bad? Try again.  Woodpecker holes aren’t just used by woodpeckers.  Apparently smaller birds, rats, squirrels, and even bats will use the woodpecker holes as homes; and I have seen all of the animals I just mentioned inside of at least one woodpecker hole on my house.  This has been happening for months, and no matter what DIY method I find on the internet to get the woodpecker to go away, it just keeps right on pecking.  I am so over it, all of it.  I’m sick of the skunks, the raccoons, the birds – I’m sick of the whole lot of them.  SOMEONE HELP ME!!!

A Streak of Bad Luck

The last couple of months haven’t been the best for my family, and to tie a bow on the already poor situation, we just discovered bats in the attic of our house.  It’s like one bad thing just followed the first and they piled onto each other until it hit rock bottom.  It was like a crazy chain reaction, one bad thing would happen and then another bad thing would follow and another after that.  The worst case of the domino effect that I have ever experienced, and I used to think dominoes were incredible.

To start off my bad luck, a rain storm hit and blew branches, and garbage, and all sorts of things across my roof and knocking shingles off, causing leaks.  Then, my sister discovered mold in her apartment and moved into my house temporarily; since she had to take everything that wasn’t infected with her, we had to move all of her things into the attic.  To follow that, one of the leaks from the rainstorm had caused some rotting to the wood in the attic which my husband stepped on and fell through while moving my sister’s things; the area was right over the car port which then meant that we had a gaping hole that led right into the attic. Cue the bats in the attic.

While a roofing contractor was looking at the damage to the car port, she noticed a strong smell and small black dots along the floor so she called a friend to confirm her suspicions. We had an infestation of about 40-50 bats in our attic.  For the last month and a half we have been practically living in a construction zone with everything that is going on around us.  All I know is that after all of this, I had better win the lottery or something.

Uninvited Visitor

I’ve got quite a unique raccoon problem, and I can’t seem to get rid of it.  You know when your in-laws drop in without letting you know first, that irritation you feel deep in your stomach; well having a raccoon popping in at least once a week is like that x 10.  This has been happening for about a month and a half; it started when my cat moved outside: and so did her food bowl.  It was about a month before I noticed that the raccoon(s) had been raiding the cat food at night, I moved it just inside the dog door so that she could get to it and they couldn’t.  BIG MISTAKE!  Raccoons are smarter than I thought.

After they started getting into the house (which happened for a week max), I put the cat food away completely and only fed my cat during the afternoon when I was watching her.  That didn’t do me much good, however.  After the cat food was gone my raccoon problem only escalated.  The stupid thing(s) discovered the coffee grounds, then the bread, then they figured out how to open the pantry.  Let’s just every morning has uncovered a new disaster.

Since I knew that they were getting in through the dog doors, I asked around the neighborhood for a trap so I could make an attempt to catch at least one.  Unfortunately, I could only find one trap and there were two dog doors.  I should have just closed one and set the trap right on the other, but I didn’t want either of my little dogs (or my cat) to get caught, so I left both open and the trap set on one.  As I’m sure you can guess this didn’t do any good so I’m turning it over to the professionals.  I can’t deal with this raccoon problem on my own, so hopefully the company that I called can.

Behind Cellar Doors

Having raccoons in the cellar isn’t all fun and games, let me tell you. You know all those cute animal videos you see on Facebook and YouTube where the pet can open the door or get out of their cage, and you laugh and aw respectively because it’s cute? Well I changed my mind, it’s not cute.  Someone’s dog came over and taught the neighborhood raccoons how to do these tricks and it’s costing me!

We’ve had raccoon problems for a while, but never in the house.  It’s usually just an overturned trashcan here and an empty bird feeder there, but never anything severe enough that I wanted to do anything about it.  Until last month, when I started seeing evidence of an animal in my cellar.  It seemed crazy at the time because the only way to get down there was through a cellar door on the side of the house, and animals can’t open those things! Right?  Yeah, I totally believed so I just tidied up the little mess that I found and said that was that, until two days ago. I went on a week-long getaway with my sister-in-law and expected my house to be in tip top shape when I got home, and I was sorely disappointed.

Pulling into my driveway, already slightly perturbed because of a rough flight – I had a three year old sitting behind me and we all know how that goes – and it only got worse from there. Not only were the trashcans I had left on the curb knocked over and all the contents ripped apart and strewn across the yard, but there were two raccoons slinking out of the cellar that I caught red handed.  Furious, I jumped out of my car and chased them away before I stormed into my cellar, flashlight in hand, to find it completely trashed (literally).  The garbage from outside was littering the floor, cans of food were knocked over, jars were broken, and maybe worse of all feces was everywhere! It smelled worse than a county fair porta potty! I was livid. It took me until about an hour ago to get the place cleaned up and smelling presentable.  Now I’m on the phone with a locksmith and a trapper to take care of the door and the raccoons.  That’s the last time I catch any animals in my cellar!

A Slippery Surprise in the Woodpile

There are king snakes in my yard, and I am freaking out.  I’m not a snake person to begin with; when I was little, my brother caught a garter snake and hid it under my pillow.  After the moment I curled up for bed, reached under my pillow, and pulled out a snake, I have been petrified (who wouldn’t that terrify?). Needless to say, when my wife found a snake – it wasn’t a poisonous one – I refused to retrieve any wood from the pile without it being closely inspected first.

I thought I had devised a flawless plan to avoid any and all accidental snake confrontations, but apparently not.  Yesterday, I went outside for wood like you do when you want to build a fire in November.  I went through my routine check of walking around the woodpile and looking for any snakes that just might happen to be out and about which seemed unlikely because of the cold. When I didn’t find a trace of a snake, I reached into the woodpile to retrieve some wood.  I reached for the lower pieces towards the back because they were drier, but when I pulled up a piece of wood, I got a whole lot more than expected.  Luckily this time I saw the snake and never touched it, but after I calmed myself down and was able to look deeper into the area I found more than one.

This sent me over the edge; I didn’t even want garter snakes around, there was no way I would let king snakes into my yard!  Or at least there was no way I would let the snakes STAY in my yard, especially not with my daughters playing out there all winter.  No sir, no way, I was on the phone with a wildlife control company ASAP (I had considered removing them myself but then I remembered my crippling fear of them and decided this was best).  They’ll be out here later this week to get rid of the king snakes, and hopefully for good.

Reoccurring Raccoons

I have a reoccurring raccoon problem, and not one where every couple of days I’m seeing a raccoon in my backyard; don’t get me wrong that’s happening too but this is worse.  I don’t know how and I don’t know why but for the last three years raccoons have been finding ways to break into my attic.  Maybe it’s the same raccoons maybe it isn’t, all I know is we have trapped and removed them countless times.  All in all, I just want this problem to be over with.

The first raccoon wasn’t that big of a deal, I was 26 and had just moved into my first home which (as I’m sure you can imagine) needed some work – okay it needed a lot of work.  The raccoons that were occupying the attic then had been there before I moved in, so I just put it on the to-do list and took care of it as soon as I could.  That was actually the longest I went without a raccoon problem, but the next year it happened again.  This didn’t make any sense to me, we had closed up the entrance that we thought the other raccoons made and yet there were three more raccoons, casually nesting in the insulation.

This became sort of a dance after a while.  I’d find the usual evidence of a break in: holes in the wall, ripped up insulation and plastic, and chewed up wood; scratching, footsteps, chewing, and thumping; and a very familiar odor would waft through the house.  Then I’d call Dave (a trapper in town) and he’d come set up however many traps, leave, come back the next day and take the raccoons that had been caught.  After all the animals were trapped, we would close off the entrance and call it a day.  A few months will go by and then the process repeats itself.  This has happened, in total, six times; I CAN’T AFFORD IT ANYMORE.  No offense to Dave, but I need some serious help.  This is worse than a bad dream you can’t wake up from, it’s a bad dream that you have every night for a week every couple of months and it never seems to stop.  Can someone please just help me with my raccoon problem?