The Critter Ridder Questions for James Dreisacker, Owner of Westchester Wildlife Control
Got bats in your belfry—for real? They won’t faze wildlife expert James Dreisacker, owner of Westchester Wildlife. His 28-year-old private company can rid your home and property of wild animals from rats and bats to woodchucks and skunks. Here’s a look at his unusual line of work:
Q: What animals do you typically handle around Westchester?
A: Mostly it’s bats, squirrels, and woodchucks in the garden, raccoons in the attic, and skunks digging up the lawn. I do quite a bit of coyote work in the area. In the past few years, I’ve gotten bear calls, but we’re not licensed to handle bears.
Q: How do you remove most wildlife?
A: We take them out of the area. The state mandates that we euthanize the animals because there are just too many of them. We hate to do that, but that’s really in the best interests of the animal. The survival rate is very slim.
Q: How do you approach an animal, not knowing if it might be rabid or otherwise dangerous?
A: You have to ask the customers what they’ve seen and play detective.
Q: How did you get involved in this line of work?
A: When I was a kid, I used to like to catch animals. I would catch a squirrel, check him out, then let him go. I went to school for conservation and law enforcement. I wanted to be a game warden, but I spent more time in the woods than in the classroom. Then I started doing animal work on the side, and my father suggested that I do it as a business since this is what I enjoy doing.
Q: What’s the most unusual case you’ve ever had?
A: A guy called and said, “I have this strange animal underneath my car. It’s long and it almost looks like a lizard but with fur.” So I went out there, got the catchpole, and I pulled it out. Just as I was pulling it out, the owner of the animal appeared. “Oh, that’s mine,” he said. The gentleman had an exotic farm in Mount Kisco, and this creature got loose. I never did find out exactly what it was.
Q: How will you know that you have a mole problem?
A: You will see it in the form of molehills or surface runs across your lawn or paddock.
Q: Why should this problem be treated? Moles cause a lot of damage to the sub strata of your garden or paddock and in extreme cases this can be a severe health and safety risk especially if livestock are present. In addition they carry disease in the form of Clostridium. When you find holes in the lawn they are Meadow Voles not moles! Meadow voles / field mice regularly find a nesting site within a disused or vacant mole tunnel, if left unchecked an infestation is inevitable. Over time these rodents will devastate your lawn and enter your premises in search of food. How can I help with your mole problem? Depending on the size of the infestation I will either set traps or use a fumigant called Phostoxin. Traditional trapping is the method I prefer if the area is not too large, so this applies to most domestic garden situations and paddocks. I will probe the area to find the correct run and set a Dufuss mole trap which will ensure a quick and humane method of despatching the mole. Traps are checked daily until the infestation is cleared.