As most people know, raccoons are some the smartest, most cunning animals in the world. Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say smart I suppose, but they are extremely determined and it takes a lot to throw them off their prize. A good example of this is what happened to me in the spring of 2012, the beginning of the summer was fairly uneventful. But once the days got hotter and longer things began to take a turn for the worst. It started with just a few mishaps. In fact, I hardly would have noticed them at all if my visiting daughter hadn’t brought it up.
It all started when my daughter came down to stay with us a few days. After the first night she came downstairs in the morning complaining about the scratching and sounds she had heard in the walls all night. I was confused, I’d never heard any sounds like that. I assured her that I would spend the night in the upstairs room to make sure that there weren’t any sounds. Well needless to say, I didn’t get a wink of sleep that night! You could hear the little buggers crawling all over the place! The first thing I did the next morning was call up a professional trapper to come take care of our problem.
Well, after thoroughly checking out our house, the coon connoisseur found several entrances that the raccoons could be using. He set up cameras that would tell us which entrances the raccoons were using so that we could get them sealed. We had to endure another couple days of those dirty fur balls running around in our walls before we could check the entrances. When the day finally came for us to unveil the secret entrances those little bandits were using I could hardly contain my excitement! I was beyond ready to get rid of this problem. When the trapper got there, we crowded around his little video camera to see what the verdict was. And you’ll never believe it…
Not a single raccoon went in or out any of the entrances that we had been surveying. We were all in awe. How did the raccoons get in the house? It wasn’t like they could just walk in the front door! We sat around and talked for a while trying to brainstorm ideas of how the raccoons were getting in. We were onto the idea of them tunneling underneath the house when we heard a large crash coming from the upstairs bedroom. We rushed up the stairs to see what had caused the commotion, and there frantically running around the room was one of the raccoons!
After several minutes of frantic screaming and chasing, we finally had the raccoon subdued. The exterminator laughed when he realized that the raccoons had been getting in through the window that my daughter opened at night. Once they had entered the house, they found their way to the attic where they begun to wreak their havoc.
Starlings are considered to be some of the most breathtaking birds on the planet. With their vibrant coloring and gregarious personalities. They’re highly social birds, they often travel in large flocks. Some roosts can number in the thousands of birds. But, we are not to talk about the species as a whole. Although they are an incredible group of birds, we are going to focus on one in particular. Her name was Satine. She was the Star of all the Starlings.
She had the signature iridescent plumage of starlings, but hers was a deep royal blue that stood out against some of the more gray feathers of some of her counterparts. She flew between many flocks throughout the year. Touring the world and meeting other starlings. After a while they began to talk about this beautiful blue bird with a talent unlike any other. Most starlings can imitate multiple other bird calls. But Satine was different. For in her travels, she learned to imitate nearly 25 different species. She also learned to mimic some sounds from the human world. She mimicked ringing phones, and police whistles. Word of her talent spread across the world and soon, birds from all over asked her to teach them her ways.
She began to travel the globe, teaching starlings from all over how to sing the song of others. She became known as “Satine the Starling Star”. She was hailed and soon became a name known to every starling on the planet. As she got older, her song began to fade. She began to lose her imitations. One by one she lost the sounds she had learned. She continued to lose them until she only had one song left. It was her original song. And although it was nothing compared to the sounds she once sang, it became her signature. Instead of focusing on what she had lost, she became focused on teaching the starlings how to discover their own song. A tradition that many starlings still carry on today. She was the mother of the starling song. The beautiful Satine, The Starling Star.
People say that when you see one mouse, there are many more in the shadows. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a mouse infestation. But in my 17 years of being a licensed animal control specialist, I can confirm that this saying is true. Many people don’t understand that mice breed rapidly, The average female can give birth to about 10 litters per year (each litter contains 6-8 babies) and now imagine that inside your home. Hundreds of little mice scampering under your floors, between your bedrooms, darting across your kitchen floor. It’s because of this reason that it is so vital to contact an exterminator or animal control specialist as soon as possible.
Mice can do all sorts of damage to your home, things you wouldn’t typically think of. Because mice live in nests, they will chew and rip up anything that could be used to build their home within your home. Anything from wood, installation, and even electrical wiring. Mice have no respect for your belongings, they will chew through furniture, appliances, walls and anything in between. Structural issues become a very real problem if a mouse infestation gets advanced enough. The material items are the least of your worries.
On top of being incredibly destructive, mice are known for carrying all sorts of diseases and germs. Sure, from a distance mice are super cute and fluffy. With their small plush bodies, and their small eyes and adorable ears. But if you look at them from a biological standpoint, they are the ultimate breeding ground for bacterial and viral infections. From rat-bite fever, to the plague, even Leptospirosis. These dangerous and even deadly diseases transfer even faster if the mice get into your food and you living areas. This is why it’s so important to contact a proper specialist so they can make sure to sanitize and clean properly. So please, keep yourself and your families safe from these hidden figures
The Throne, the Oval Office, the Porcelain Potty. Known by many names, the Toilet. For many people it’s a place of refuge. Somewhere to hide from your kids, read a good magazine, and enjoy regular bowel movements. It’s always been a place for me to do what I need to do and not be bothered. It’s a safe place. Somewhere I knew I wouldn’t be disturbed. Alas, how the times change. It was one of those days, those days when you’re walking on air, nothing can get you down! I had just gotten a promotion at work, I had gotten a free taco for lunch, and the girl of my dreams had just accepted my invitation to go get some dinner later. I was planning on stopping at home to freshen up before heading out to go pick her up.
I waltzed into the bathroom with thoughts of the first date with my dream girl floating through my head. I kicked off my shoes and began to shimmy out of my khaki trousers. I was just about to sit down when I heard the most terrifying noise. *SKREECH SKREECH* I jumped up alarmed, and whirled around to find my worst fears. For sitting in my pristine toilet bowl was none other than a large, black, hairy rat! I screamed and ran out of the bathroom. I wasn’t going to be needing it anymore (if you know what I mean). I bee- lined it to my phone and punched in the number for the pest control company I had relied on in the past.
My heroes in shining overalls were there within the hour to take care of my misfortune. They explained to me that the rat had probably swam up my sewer system and right into my toilet bowl. They assured me that they would take care of the rat and that they’d be here in a jiffy if I ever found one again. It took me quite a while to come to terms with what had happened. I had nightmares for weeks on end about that FILTHY rat. Lucky for me, the worst was over. I Hoped…
I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a Halloween party, or a haunted house. But if you have, you’ve probably at some point at another been through what I call a haunted hallway. What that means is that there is an alley or hallway that is decorated like a haunted house. Meant to scare you in a short amount of time, these little rooms are jam packed with your worst fears. Now for many people these only occur during the Halloween season, and they end when you exit the hallway. For me, the hallway was year round, and it didn’t end until I faced my worst fear.
Now many of you are probably thinking, what does she mean? Does she have a permanent haunted hallway in her house? The answer is no. Or, at least not one of my own creation. My haunted hallway is the hallway in the back of my house that has bats living in the walls. I’m not sure if you’ve ever come face to face with a bat, but believe me when I say that it is the most terrifying experience I’ve ever had. Imagine, one day you are innocently doing your laundry when all the sudden a flying black mass, infected with all sorts of diseases, soars into your face. I know, not the most pleasant image. Now imagine that happening every time you walk down that hallway and you’ll understand where I’m coming from.
I’d been in contact with my local animal control specialist for months, trying to fix the problem in a way that would prevent them from coming back. Lucky for me, the man I hired was the right man for the job! He walked me through every step of the process and he answered every question I asked. He was able to get all the bats out and after words he cleaned up the spaces in the walls. He made sure that every nook and cranny was secured to keep this from happening ever again. I don’t know what I would’ve done without him!
“IF YOU CATCH A SQUIRREL YOU’RE GOING TO EAT IT!!!” my mom screamed at me as I booked it out the back door, eager to escape her wrath. My latest obsession in my adolescence has been catching animals. Everything from snakes, stray cats, frogs, and now my next victim: Squirrels. I knew catching squirrels could be tricky, they were fast, and not easy to trick. My previous attempts had been unsuccessful thus far. But I had spent weeks planning and I knew that I had a bullet proof plan that was surely going to catch me a squirrel.
My plan included a box, string, a stick, and a handful of nuts. Really my plan was simple. Prop up the box with the stick, which had the string tied to it. I would wait in a bush a little while away and wait for the squirrel to take the bait (the handful of nuts) once the squirrel was in the box, I pull the string which allows the box to drop on top of the squirrel, trapping it inside. Really there is no way this could go wrong! I went to work immediately setting up my master trap. I thought to myself what a good trapper I would make. After the preparation was done and the trap was complete I sat down behind a bush and began my wait for the ultimate prey.
I sat patiently for three minutes, then five, and after about 10 minutes I was getting worried. What if I didn’t have enough bait? Maybe the squirrels are too smart for this! I began to question my flawless plan. When all of the sudden, a squirrel descended from the tree next to the box. I held my breath as I watched the squirrel approach the box. It was weary at first. Staying on the edge of the box, circling it in order to avoid capture. I stayed still and quiet, hoping that the squirrel would fall victim to my trap. Slowly the squirrel began to make its way towards the nut pile. It would take a few steps forward and then retreat a little, as if testing the trap. Luckily for me, I was more patient than the squirrel. Because after a minute, the squirrel approached the nut pile, and began to feast.
MY TIME HAD COME! Faster than the blink of an eye I pulled the string and the box fell on the squirrel, trapping it inside. I jumped up and cheered! I FINALLY DID IT!! I CAUGHT A SQUIRREL! I was so excited that I almost forgot about my squirrel that was sitting in the box only a few feet away. I looked over and saw that the squirrel was trying to escape! NOT ON MY WATCH!! I ran over to the box and plopped down on top of it. HA! No way that squirrel escapes no- “YOUNG MAN WHAT DID I SAY ABOUT CATCHING SQUIRRELS?????” I turned my head to see my mother standing at the back door. Uh oh.
Every little girl grew up hearing the story of the princess and the frog. Or at least some version of it. The princess goes to the well and sees a frog sitting there. The frog begs the princess for a kiss to help restore him to the prince he once was. The princess of course is vary weary. Frogs are disgusting! They’re riddled with diseases and all sorts of bacteria! What smart princess would kiss a frog! The princess is divided and knows that she shouldn’t kiss the frog, they’re ugly, slimy and they EAT FLIES! But, against her better judgement she kisses the frog. And just like he promised, he transformed into a handsome prince.
We all wish that real life was like this. You find your prince charming waiting by the well for you, begging you to kiss him into a prince. Well, let me tell you, if you kiss a frog you will not get a prince. You’ll end up like me. Getting Salmonella. Most people don’t know this, but frogs are more likely to give you salmonella than eating raw cookie dough! (I’m convinced that the whole “eating raw cookie dough will give you salmonella” thing is a myth) Like every other young girl I wanted to kiss a frog and watch it transform into my prince charming. But that is not what happened! I saw the frog sitting on a bridge near my favorite river. I had just finished reading the Princess and the frog, so I was convinced I knew what I was doing.
I sat next to the frog and began to talk to it. I knew that my prince would soon begin to talk back. But after a couple of awkward minutes where I sat talking to myself a thought occurred to me. Of course my prince couldn’t talk! He’s trapped as a frog, and frogs don’t talk! The frog only talked in the story book because it was a story! After realizing my silly mistake I picked up the frog and gave it a big, WET, JUICY kiss. It wasn’t long before I realized my frog wasn’t going to turn into a prince. I ran home in a mess of tears. I cried to my mom about how the frog I had kissed hadn’t turned into a prince. Well, she wasn’t so much concerned with how my dreams were crushed. She was too concerned with the “diseases and germs” that my prince charming was carrying. She rushed me off to the ER to be inspected.
Well needless to say, I spent the next few weeks with a fever, awful stomach aches, and not to mention I was spewing gunk out of every orifice of my body (both ends if you know what I mean…) I knew that this could not be the fairytale ending that the storybook had told about! But after my experience, I wasn’t too keen to try it again.
My momma always told me to beware of the people. After all, to them we were considered vermin. We lived in their walls, floors, and underneath their homes. Most of the time they don’t notice us until it’s too late. People use the term “multiply like bunnies” but, they should use the term “multiply like rats”. The average size of a rat litter is between six and thirteen. And each momma rat can have a litter a month! Where there’s one, there’s more. But I’m not here to talk about our incredible reproduction skills. I’m here to tell you a story from my grandrats time. A time before PETA and any rats rights activists.
When my grandrat was young, he and his friends used to have competitions to see who could get the closest to humans without getting killed. He lost many of his best friends to this game. In fact, that’s how he lost his best rat friend. But, no matter how often his friends got caught, or how many of his pals lost their lives, they kept playing. My grandrat and his friends would migrate all over the country looking for new victims to play their dangerous game on. One man in particular was named Sam Oldman. He was notoriously ruthless towards rats. The legend was that when he caught and killed a rat he would cut their tails off and use them to make designer handbags for women. Here’s the catch, no rat that ventured into his house came out alive. This made it the ultimate challenge for my grandrat and his friends.
The day that they designated to venture into Mr. Oldman’s house was none other than Friday the thirteenth in October. It’s really the worst possible day don’t you think? Like the most unlucky day of the year. Of course just to make it all better, the weather was stereotypically bad, like stereotypical horror movie bad. The moon was full and the sun had just set. So it really was the worst possible scenario any rat could imagine. My grandrat and his friends found a loose window and were able to wiggle their way in from there. When they entered the house. What they found was worse than any horror movie scene any rat could dream of. What happened in that house will never be known. The happenings that night were so horrific it caused my grandrat to go mute. My grandrat is the only one who made it out of that house alive that night. But even he didn’t get out in one piece, because in Sam Oldman’s house, my grand rat lost his tail.
There’s nothing in this world that I hate more than snakes. I don’t care if they are outside, inside, in a cage at the zoo, or on someone’s arm. I DETEST THEM! They are disgusting and scary and potentially harmful! Now as a young homeowner, having a snake infestation is the very thing my nightmares are made of. Imagine if you hated snakes as much as I do. Now imagine how you would feel if one day you went out to enjoy your backyard to find a nest of snakes. Well this my friends is where my story starts.
I had just walked outside with my ice cold glass of lemonade, I was planning on spending a few hours in my backyard trying to unwind after a long day in the office. I had just settled into my lawn chair when I saw it. The snake. About two feet long and as thick as a glue stick. It was slithering through the grass just a few feet in front of me! I sat paralyzed for quite some time. I couldn’t believe my eyes! There it was. My worst fear come to life. I came to my senses and abruptly stood up, dropping my glass of lemonade as I stood. My glass shattered on to the ground, ice cubes and broken glass littered the ground. I didn’t care, I booked it inside as fast as my legs could take me.
After I had come to my senses and recovered from the initial trauma, I ventured out of my hiding place in the bathtub. I carefully crept up to the back door to see if my new little reptilian friend was still there. There he was, in exactly the same spot he was in before. I was just about to turn away when I saw it out of the corner of my eye. Another one. TWO SNAKES IN ONE DAY!!! My jaw dropped. This was too much for me to handle. I immediately ran to my computer and googled emergency snake control. I called the first number on the screen. He told me that he would be over within the hour.
As I anxiously awaited my superman’s arrival I began to panic and dream up these ridiculous situations. I literally sprinted to the door when he showed up. I all but dragged him to the backyard by his hair. He did a quick round of the backyard, checking out all of the good hiding places for snakes. Of course I was safe inside the house behind the door. When he had finished his inspection we went into the living room to POW- WOW. I don’t remember much after he dropped the bomb that I had a snake nest under the willow tree in my backyard. I just remember thinking of burning my house to the ground. Luckily my hero in leather boots had a plan. To be continued……
I’m no different than any other 17 year old girl. I go to school, hang out with my friends, go to the occasional party (where there’s parent supervision of course), and I work. Of course my job isn’t typical of a 17 year old. Most of my friends work in the fast food business, or even at a mall or some kind of clothing store. Now don’t get me wrong, I love food and I love clothes, but I would never want to work there. When people ask me about my job I usually tell them I’m a personal assistant for a private contractor. It’s just easier to say that instead of explaining what I actually do. I have the coolest job ever. It’s never boring, and it gives me the most insane stories to tell!
I’ve done everything from wrestling snakes, to saving baby birds! You get so much knowledge from a job like this. You learn all about problem solving. People always have problems like raccoons stuck in their chimneys, skunks in their window well, or even snakes under their porch! Can you even imagine your surprise if you walked out onto your porch one day to see a three foot long blow snake sitting on your porch?! Well, in my experience, not very many people would be very excited about that. Now you may be thinking, what kind of 17 year old girl finds this kind of job entertaining?
I’ve never been the kind of girl who screams when she sees a spider or a snake. I was the girl who was wrestling around with the guys and looking for snakes to take home for the weekend. Now, you would never classify me as the girl who works as a part time trapper. I wear high heels at least three times a week, I never leave the house without my eyebrows filled in. But after school you can catch me crawling under porches, into attics, and even down chimneys in order to catch invasive wildlife! In fact, my favorite part of the job is helping people restore their homes to the peaceful ways they were before the animals invaded. After all, no one wants to hear bats in the attic, raccoons in the chimney, or skunks under the house! Which is why I get so much joy in helping people solve all of their wildlife problems. After all, it’s just another day in the life for me.