• What Happens To House Sparrows In Winter?

    There are many different species of sparrows in the US, but the house sparrow is the most widespread. These little brown birds are also most often found to be in conflict with humans. They happily live in towns and cities as they are very adaptable and skilled at taking advantage of the opportunities we provide to them.

    Keep reading to learn more about the habits of house sparrows in the winter and the conseqences of their cohabitation with humans.

     

    How Do Sparrows Survive The Winter?

    During the cold months, house sparrows find their way into all sorts of man-made habitats. We create perfect habitat for them and they thrive on the shelter and food we supply.

    The house sparrow stays all winter in the US. These birds may occupy their old nesting sites from previous years, establish new ones, or take over their chosen sites before the arrival of migrating birds in spring, and even usurp nests that the migrating birds have built.

    In winter, house sparrows feed on a huge range of foods, from various types of seeds and grains, to discarded food scraps and agricultural crops.

     

    Do House Sparrows Nest In Winter?

    House sparrows will most likely build their nests between February and May, and use them throughout the year. In spring and summer, the nest is used to raise young, while in fall and winter, it serves as a place to rest and sleep.

    Typically, the nesting season starts in April and lasts until August, but nesting may continue in other months, too.

     

    Where Do Sparrows Nest In Winter?

    House sparrows like to make their homes in, on, or near buildings. They prefer to nest in cavities, hollows, dryer and other vents, attic vent louvers, and crevices such as around window-mounted AC units.

    Also, awnings, street signs, eaves of the roof, or underneath tiles are their favorite nesting locations.

    Wherever they find some space to squeeze in and can make the most of the shelter, house sparrows will move in. They can also take over other birds nests.

     

     

    What Problems Do House Sparrows Cause?

    Despite their small size, house sparrows are very aggressive. They can cause many problems for native birds as they will attack, harass, and kill them when competing for nesting sites. Sparrows can also destroy their eggs and hatchlings, and take over their food sources from bird feeders.

    While on your property, it is only the manner in which these birds accommodate themselves in your home that can cause a problem for you.

    Like all birds, sparrows have the ability to cause significant damage to your house, both outside and inside. They seek shelter in enclosed or protected areas and like to build nests that are large and act as a link for their colony and activities.

    Their habit of stuffing nesting material in dryer, stove, and fan vents may cause the vents not function properly and prevent further use of the vents, which is a more serious problem.

    In addition, sparrows nesting in your house structure could result in the following:

    – Damage to roof tiles. Nesting sparrows can dislodge the tiles.

    – Bird droppings. Their feces can carry harmful diseases.

    – Filthy, unhygienic waste and foul odor. Their old nests may contain rotten eggs and decaying chicks that failed to survive.

    – Insects and pests. The material they use to build nests can contain insects and other small pests that can then find their way into your attic and home, causing more problems for you.

     

    How Can You Keep Sparrows Away From Your House?

    Therefore, getting rid of house sparrows and their nests from places you don’t want and preventing these birds from building new nests in your house, is the first and best approach.

    For this, it’s good to install covers over vents to keep sparrows and other birds out, and check screening over louvers before the birds make their way in. Exclusion methods are particularly useful, such as nets, sheet metal, or hardware cloth in order to block any openings that could serve as potential nesting areas. You may use various deterrents or tactile gels that help prevent roosting and perching.

    Always remember to remove the nesting material and make sure that there are no chicks present in the nest before excluding the birds.

     

    If you notice sparrows, or any other nuisance birds nesting or flying on your property, it’s best to have them eliminated immediately.

    If your home is located in one of our service areas of Westchester, Dutchess, and Putnam Counties, NY, or Fairfield County, CT, reach out to us for help with our bird removal services. Westchester Wildlife is a top-rated bird removal company in your local area.

    Call us today to schedule a bird removal inspection and get a quote with a member of our expert wildlife control team.

     

     

  • Can Noises Scare Deer Away From Your Yard?

    Deer are majestic animals that are pretty to look at if you manage to catch a glimpse of them galloping through the forest. But they can quickly turn into an invasive pest once set loose in your yard. They will destroy your tender crops, leaving plenty of vegetation damage.

    This wildlife doesn’t gather and store food for winter, but consumes whatever is available throughout the year. In winter, deer feed on the lower branches of evergreen trees and shrubs, while in summer they forage mainly on garden crops such as tomatoes, lettuce, bulbs, and flowers.

    Keep reading as we share a bit of insight into their habits, which you may take advantage of to keep deer out of your property and save your garden from becoming a free buffet.

    The best starting point for keeping nuisance deer away is to use scare tactics. There are plenty of ways to deter deer but the perfect place to start is by using sound and targeting their sense of hearing. Try to frighten them using loud noises or whistles, just be careful not to disturb your neighbors.

     

    Are Deer Scared Of Noises?

    Deer are shy and skittish but also smart and highly adaptable animals, so you must skillfully target their senses if you want to keep your yard safe from deer.

    Their ability to distinguish between natural and unnatural noises in the forest gives them an advantage. Most loud noises that are not the usual everyday sounds of wild animals, will startle deer. Anything that’s unfamiliar to them can throw them off and make them too nervous to come near.

    These creatures have funnel-shaped ears that are designed to pinpoint the source and exact direction from which the sound is coming. And it’s not only an advantage for them, but it also allows homeowners to use the precision of deer ears to deter them from the yard and garden.

     

    What Noises Are Deer Scared Of?

    If you have a really persistent deer turning your garden into its next feeding spot, using noises as deterrents might work for you.

    They will be afraid of loud, banging noises, yelling, or barking dogs. To keep deer from ravaging your property, try using auditory deterrents such as bells, whistles, radios, alarms, and ultrasonic devices to scare them away when you notice them. Introduce motion-activated devices that create startling sounds, preferably in combination with movement or bright light.

    Scare deer off before they do too much damage in your yard. Use metal cans, pie pans, or wind chimes suspended by strings as they make noise when they rattle in the wind.

    Pinwheels can also repel deer with their noise when they’re attached to branches, fences, or dowels around your yard. The noise, movements, and colors should be enough to startle any deer, at least until it learns there is no real threat. Noise-making deterrents like gas or propane exploders produce loud noises that frighten deer away, and have been used to help protect gardens and crops.

    In addition, deer are known to hate ultrasonic pest control devices as they emit high-frequency sounds. Such repellents are a humane and noninvasive option to get rid of deer. Some devices even combine ultrasonic technology with motion sensors and lights, and they work best.

     

     

    What Frequency Scares Deer Off?

    Ultrasonic devices work on deer as these animals are able to hear ultrasonic sounds. Deer can hear at almost the same frequencies as humans, but they are better at determining the direction and cause of each sound they hear.

    They can hear high frequency soundwaves, between about 250 and 30,000 hertz, which means they can hear tones that are well above what humans can detect. Their hearing however is most sensitive to moderate frequencies, from 4 to 8,000 hertz. A frequency of 15-25,000 herz is still silent to most people, but it can successfully repel deer from your yard.

     

    Will Deer Come Back After Being Spooked?

    Spooked deer will come back to their bedding area, but how soon they return depends on how much something has frightened them. If they can’t identify any danger, they won’t hesitate and will return sooner than if they saw or sensed a human.

    On the other hand, the loud noises you use to scare them off will definitely work, but keeping this wildlife away is the hardest part. If they find food scarce in winter, or they liked the veggies you grow in your garden and they designate your yard as their feeding ground, they will be back again.

    So if you plan on using sound to keep deer out of your yard, it is advised to change your strategies frequently. These animals can easily adapt to new methods of deterring them, which makes you work overtime to ensure the safety of your property.

     

    Are you experiencing constant problems on your property with wild animals such as deer? To protect your garden and lawn from deer damage, droppings, and mess, it is best to get professional help by contacting a wildlife control specialist.

    Westchester Wildlife company can help you choose the right strategy to prevent deer from destroying your garden or yard. You can rely on our wildlife removal and control services, whether you live in Fairfield County CT, or Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess Counties NY. What’s more, at Westchester Wildlife we are focused on humane and least stressful methods of wild animal removal. So call us today!

     

  • Does A Shrew Make Noise?

    If you’ve never had a problem with shrews on your property, you will think these tiny mouse-like animals scurrying around are cute. But when a lot of them show up in your home or yard, they quickly become not so cute, especially when you realize that their bites are actually quite venomous.

    Shrews are very vocal mammals. They make a lot of noise as they go about their daily routine. When they get into your home where you can hear them all the time, you will soon grow to hate their sounds.

    Therefore, if you spot a shrew in your house or yard, you must act promptly to get rid of it. Keep reading to learn in detail about the sounds that shrews make and how to recognize them.

    What Kind Of Sounds Do Shrews Make?

    Shrews are noisy little creatures that have a diverse repertoire of communication sounds. Their vocalizations are their way of communicating.

    By nature, unlike bat sounds, the shrew sounds are low-amplitude, multi-harmonic, broadband, and often modulated.

    They make a range of squeaking and chirping calls, as well as faint high-pitched laryngeal twittering calls. Shrews also emit sounds such as clicks, hisses, churls, whistles, barks, buzzes, and short screams.

    Shrews usually run along, making short ‘brrrrr’ noises. However, during the wintertime, you won’t be able to hear them that much in the snow on the ground.

     

     

    Why Do Shrews Make Noise?

    Since shrews are active both during the day and night, you will usually be able to notice the noises they emit. They communicate with a series of different sounds such as squeaks and clicks.

    However, just like bats, shrews also make very high-pitched sounds that are beyond the range of human hearing. Especially if you’ve lost some of your ability to hear high frequencies, you may struggle to hear some of their sounds.

    High-pitched sounds serve for communication purposes, to converse and communicate within families, and for interactions between mother and young.

    Just like bats, shrews use an echo‐based orientation system. But it is simpler, and instead of using it for finding food, they use it to explore their surroundings.

    Shrews are animals digging in the ground, so they need to produce a variety of sounds to communicate, navigate, and locate objects and other obstacles in their tunnels. When moving about, especially in new places, they find their way by making high-pitched twittering sounds that bounce off of their nearby surroundings. Their calls are for identifying routes through the new environment, for obtaining information from their surroundings, and for probing habitat types. These are ultrasonic sounds that are emitted for echolocation purposes.

    Besides the ultrasonic echolocation sounds made by shrews, there are several other sounds that humans are able to hear, especially when these pests are being territorial. Because shrews are very territorial and aggressive, they can sometimes be heard fighting, and their squeaks and chirps are particularly noticeable in the summer.

    Their loud sounds can show fear and aggression when fighting or interacting with other individuals. They also act as an alarm to defend themselves, ward off potential threats, and when the animal is panicking and feels threatened.

    Other shrew sounds such as clicks, may occur during courtship. Male shrews will make these noises to attract and court females.

    Up to 17 different types of calls have been identified, suggesting that shrews need to communicate something on a regular basis. Otherwise, if they make too much noise for no apparent reason, they risk being found by predators and eaten as they are tiny animals. Most often, the shrews make noise when they are encountering other animals or marking their territory with calls.

    Meanwhile, some shrews can be heard making repetitive, low, squeaking noises while they’re lying still in their nests on their own and doing absolutely nothing.

     

     

    If you frequently hear or notice small creatures running around your landscape, you might have a problem with shrews. Keep in mind that controlling shrews can be a challenge for homeowners, therefore implementing an integrated pest management approach, along with methods such as trapping, baiting, and habitat modification can guarantee the best chance of success.

    If you’ve been experiencing issues with shrews on your property, you might need professional help with your shrew trapping and removal. Give our Westchester Wildlife team a call, whether you’re located in Westchester County, Dutchess County, Putnam County, NY, or Fairfield County, CT.

    Our exterminators are highly skilled and knowledgeable, and specialize in a wide range of pest and wildlife control services, including getting rid of shrews. Contact us today and let us know how we can assist you!

     

  • What Attracts Opossums To Your House?

    If you keep hearing noises like fast screeching or hissing coming from your garbage can, then it’s likely to be an opossum or one of many other small wild animals. You can frequently find opossums in urban areas as they are used to seeing humans.

    Under normal circumstances, opossums will occasionally meander through the yard in search of food and water, before moving on somewhere else. This is how they end up in your house. Typically, these animals don’t stick around for too long, unless the female makes your home her home for her newborn babies.

    Opossums are nocturnal creatures that come out shortly after sunset. This is why you may encounter one, or more of them in your house at night. But that’s not always the case as sick opossums can sometimes be seen in the afternoon as well. Anyhow, these mammals are typically bad news for homeowners and gardeners.

    However, opossums are not likely to make their way into people’s homes unless there is an easy entry point and a good reason for them to come in, that is, food, water, and shelter.

    Food and water sources are the same reasons why they come indoors as they come to your yard. These are scavengers that like to go around in constant search of food and water, and they will pay return visits to places that offer them what they need. They have an acute sense of smell and are able to pick up the smell of food from far away. So they’ll go around sniffing until they find the source. Therefore, remember not to make your living spaces inviting for opossums.

     

     

    There are a few things that will attract opossums to your house:

    Filled Up Garbage Cans
    These can definitely attract opossums to your home. A trash can that’s stuffed with all kinds of discarded food is an invitation for opossums to come over. The marsupials will have very easy access to the contents of the bin, if it’s not sealed properly.

     

    Pet Food
    You will definitely attract them to make their way indoors if there is a bowl of water and pet food beside the front door. If you’re someone who feeds your cat or dog at the door or outside, then it’s highly possible that an opossum will sniff out the scraps at night.

    As these pests lead a nocturnal lifestyle, if the leftover food is not consumed quickly by your pet, or even worse, if it’s left to sit out overnight, you may find that it’s missing by the morning.

     

    Partially Rotten Fruit
    Opossums are opportunistic omnivores, and they feed primarily on various plants, insects, and carrion outside, but they will also eat fruits and flowers indoors.

    Sweet fruits such as berries, pineapples, or mangos, are their favorites. You might have a bowl of partially rotten pieces of fruit left out on the kitchen table. If you don’t throw them away in time, these little scavengers can pick up the smell and come.

    They could have a take on your fragrant pot plants at home, too.

    How To Get Rid Of Opossums In Your House?

    Once you have identified the culprit, you can now start getting rid of them. If you realize that the opossum is overstaying its welcome on your property, there are some methods to eliminate the problem.

    First of all, seal off all entry points, and remember to close and secure pet doors at night. Make sure they don’t find their way inside.

    To keep opossums out, turn on the radio or TV, or hang wind chimes. These animals are scared of unusual noises, particularly when they are not sure of the source. But it’s crucial to change the radio or TV station once in a while, and alternate between the wind chimes and radio stations.

    Another good way to deal with the opossum on your own, without harming them, is to sprinkle chili powder in various areas of your house. Opossums clearly don’t like the smell or taste of chili powder and will stay away.

    Finally, an effective way to get rid of opossums is to set up live traps in and around your house. However, because the trap can only take one animals at a time, using traps to remove this wildlife is only effective when you’re dealing with a single animal. Since opossums are slow creatures that can’t see very well, placing traps around your property makes it easy to get rid of them.

    It’s also important to remember that they possess a special skill, which is their ability to play dead. That’s why you should be extra careful when approaching a captured opossum. Even though they don’t usually attack people, opossums are riddled with transmittable diseases, such as tuberculosis, leptospirosis, coccidiosis, or toxoplasmosis. As such, they can be dangerous if they manage to scratch or bite you, or if you make contact with their urine or feces.

     

    If you’re not someone to face an opossum in your house, it’s best to hire a wildlife control expert to handle that for you. The professional will know exactly what to do as they have a lot of experience eradicating wildlife of all sorts.

    So don’t hesitate to call your local Westchester Wildlife team, and someone will come out and help you remove the critter. We safely and humanely trap and eliminate wildlife in Westchester, Dutchess, and Putnam Counties, NY, as well as in Fairfield County, CT.

     

  • Do Chipmunks Hibernate In Winter?

    Whenever there is cold weather, chipmunks spend most of their time hibernating and simply sleeping or resting in their dens. They are known to be quite occupied, and just one of them will quickly gather up to 165 acorns per day.

    In as little as two days, the chipmunk will have managed to collect enough food to take them through the whole winter season. However, they are also known to store up more food than is necessary, so they will typically have collected more than they need for the cold months.

    Even though they are known to hibernate during the winter, chipmunks will not be asleep for the entire season as most other hibernators do. They will typically retreat back to their burrows. Occasionally, they wake up to bring their body temperature back to normal.

    When they are on these awake breaks, the chipmunks will feed on the food stored over time to build up their fat reserves. This is very important for the cold season aa it allows them to stay protected from the cold. Every few days, the chipmunk wakes up for temperature adjustment, has a few more nuts, and quietly goes back to sleep for some more days.

     

    What Months Do Chipmunks Hibernate?

    The typical period for chipmunk hibernation lies between October and the middle of March. This is usually when the weather outside is harsh and the temperatures have dropped to deficient levels.

    The chipmunks in the southern parts of the US have better weather, as it is much warmer in these places. As such, they will hibernate for a shorter amount of time, between December and late January. Their bodies also undergo essential changes that enable them to survive the winter.

    These are all important as they ensure that the chipmunk can survive the harsh, cold months and get them through safely and as intact as possible. The months of hibernation are generally uneventful, and not many things happen during that time for chipmunks.

     

     

    At What Temperature Do Chipmunks Hibernate?

    At around 40°F is when the chipmunk starts to hibernate. Once it has gotten cold enough, it will retreat to its burrow to spend the winter.

    Other things also happen when the chipmunk is undergoing the hibernation process. These enable them to spend as little energy as possible, and as such, they will easily manage to get through the winter with much ease. For instance, their body temperature will start to lower to match them with their surroundings. As such, they will not lose heat quickly, allowing them to maintain a constant temperature for the rest of the winter.

    They will also slow their heart rate down from the usual 350 beats per minute to a mere four beats per minute. This is several magnitudes slower and indicates the changes the chipmunk has to undergo to stay safe and warm for the winter. When their hearts are beating this slow, they can sleep out the rest of the winter and get the rest they have worked so hard for.

     

    Where Do Chipmunks Sleep In The Winter?

    The most excellent chipmunk preference is to live alone in an underground hole or burrow, referred to as a den. They like to hibernate when the weather is cold, and this is where they will spend most of their time, staying insulated from the harsh cold temperatures outside.

    They are usually relaxed when in hibernation, and most of their body functions are significantly slower to enable them to get through the cold winters. Most of the time a chipmunk spends in hibernation goes to sleep while a portion is reserved for feeding, urinating, and defecating.

     

     

    What Do Chipmunks Eat When They Hibernate?

    Inside a chipmunk’s den is enough storage space for their nuts and seeds. These nuts and seeds are essential as they are a food source for the chipmunk that lasts through the entire winter. They love to eat and will wake up occasionally to get fed and get the break they need from the enormous amount of rest they have had.

    Chipmunks usually gather enough nuts and seeds to eat throughout the winter, which is what the rest of the year is meant for. They are very hardworking creatures and, as such, will work through all kinds of challenges to get the much-needed supplies in storage and ready for the cold winter months.

     

    Our experts are trained to remove all types of nuisance wildlife, including chipmunks. We provide effective trapping and removal services in Westchester County, Dutchess County, Putnam County, NY, and Fairfield County, CT. So if you’re having chipmunk issues on your property at any time of the year, call Westchester Wildlife to get rid of them!

     

     

  • Is It Bad To Have Bats In Your Chimney?

    While bats are considered to be beneficial to the environment, having them in your chimney and home is anything but pleasant.

    Typically, chimneys can be a way for bats to get in by mistake. This wildlife can accidentally enter your house through the chimney. Whatever the case, there are multiple issues and dangers associated with having bats in the chimney and you should therefore deal with the infestation as soon as possible.

    Bats can cause serious annoyance and a real danger to your chimney. Many bat species tend to colonize, and the chimney is a great place for bats to build their nest. The nesting material can go up flames when a fire is burning in your fireplace and cause a chimney fire if not taken care of immediately.

    When bats roost in chimneys, their urine and droppings accumulate on roof shingles and bricks. This results in a musty odor and dirty runoff when it rains.

    The whole house will start to smell, making it unbearable to live in.

    Bats living in the chimney also create unsightly, dark, greasy stains that look similar to those left by rodents.

    If you spot a bat trapped in your chimney, you should not touch or go near it, even when it’s dead. Bats are dangerous animals as they spread numerous diseases that can be deadly to humans. Whenever bats live near humans, there is a high risk of contracting rabies from their bite. Even a dead bat may carry the disease.

    In addition, bat urine and droppings can also be harmful to the health of those who live in the house. Airborne spores that develop in guano, i.e. bat feces, can transmit Histoplasmosis to people.

     

    Can Bats Get In Through The Chimney?

    Bats can quickly fly down and up the chimney. If you go outside and watch their flight direction, you may see them heading out to feed at dusk or getting back at dawn.

    These pests will infest homes by slipping around metal flashing around the chimney. They have the ability to fit into very small openings and can enter the chimney through a gap as small as 3/8 of an inch.

    If you have bats in your chimney chances there is likely some damage to the  chimney or a missing cap in the structure. Bats tend to enter chimneys through loose mortar joints or tuck points.

    The chimney is a convenient place for bats to find entry into your home. As you probably don’t have a fire burning in your fireplace 24/7, these mammals will easily access the interior of your home.

    The chimney is a logical path to choose as its structure is basically a large passageway that leads from your home’s warm interior to the cold outside world. The protected shaft provides a safe haven for wildlife to build nests and a quiet place for them to shelter from the elements. However, bats roosting in the chimney is bad news for you.

     

     

    Do Bats Roost And Live In Chimneys?

    Typically, bats are found living in attics and crawl spaces, but it is very common to encounter them living inside chimneys as well.

    Bats love to live in the chimneys of residential and commercial buildings. Chimneys can be a great home for critters as they offer all of the roosting requirements for bat colonies. They are dark and secluded, and give enough space for them to hang upside down.

    The shelter and warmth of the heat coming up from your house through the chimney makes it a very attractive nesting area.

    These animals generally enter chimneys to reproduce and hibernate. Female bats particularly need a warm and safe place in which to raise their young. Therefore, if you have a maternity colony of bats living in your chimney, it can mean a long-lasting problem for your home. This wildlife has strong homing instincts and usually returns to the same roosting site to breed every season.

     

    How To Tell If You Have Bats In Your Chimney?

    There are some signs that indicate that you have bats living in your chimney.

    Do an inspection to find out exactly where the bats are going in and out. They tend to choose small horizontal openings. If you do a night watch, you might observe the bat swarm flying out of areas near your chimney around dusk or dawn. This is when they are leaving as a group or are returning as a group.

    Bats make distinctive sounds in the chimney, which can differentiate them from birds or other wildlife. You may hear high-pitched squeaking, cheeping, and rapid wing movements coming from inside the flue. These sounds are particularly noticeable at dusk and dawn when they are awake and moving around.

    Bat droppings can be found around the inside and outside of the chimney. You might smell a strong, unusual ammonia-like odor that’s similar to a dirty litter box.

     

    What To Do If You Have Bats In Your Chimney?

    If there are bats infesting your chimney, various methods can be helpful.

    First of all, it is important to block their entry by sealing all entrances except one and then installing exclusion tubes. This is a device that is a one-way exit so that the bats can fly out but can’t get back in.

    Placing wire mesh screens over a chimney deters bats from roosting, however, make sure you don’t accidentally trap any animal inside.

    Chimney caps are another easy method to keep bats and other forms of wildlife from gaining access to your home. Galvanized steel is the best option for sealing holes around chimneys.

     

    Lastly, remember to never attempt to remove a bat from your chimney yourself. Always seek the help of a licensed professional.

    If you believe you have unwanted guests in your chimney, don’t panic. Bats in chimneys do not have to be a headache.

    At Westchester Wildlife, our experts understand the risks associated with bat removal and know how to safely, humanely, and legally remove these pests from chimneys. Call us today to schedule a consultation or to learn more about our bat removal services in Westchester, Dutchess, and Putnam Counties, NY, or in Fairfield County, CT.

     

  • A Raccoon Won’t Go In Trap? Here’s What To Do

    Raccoons can be a true nuisance when they invade your property. If you spot a raccoon, or several of them, they may be there because they intend to forage in your garbage cans and cause destruction all over.

    Keep in mind that raccoons are intelligent and resourceful animals. They can be also dangerous for people and pets as they tend to carry various diseases such as rabies.

    Keep reading for more information on how you can outsmart a raccoon, trap it, and get rid of it from your property. But before you indulge in trapping these animals, check your state’s law if it is legal to trap a raccoon by yourself.

     

    Can A Raccoon Outsmart A Trap?

    It can be a real challenge to trap a smart raccoon. This wildlife is not stupid and will often outsmart and escape the trap. The raccoon may be already familiar with the trap and know it better. It might have been caught in traps before and will learn from that experience. Next time, the raccoon you’re after will avoid your trap and all traps altogether later on.

    So don’t be surprised if the animal outsmarts your trap, shows up, and raids the trap without getting caught.

     

     

    How Do You Trap A Smart Raccoon?

    Having said that, there are ways to trap a smart raccoon.

    First, you must be aware that raccoons are nocturnal in nature, which means they are mostly active at night. They usually sleep during the day and stay up all night foraging for food. As soon as the sun sets in, these animals leave their dens and head straight for the nearest food source.

    It’s important to place your trap far away from any human or pet activity. So put the trap along the edge of your yard, beside physical boundaries such as the fence or dense vegetation.

    Then just wait for the raccoon to come out of its hiding.

    Know that if this is a smart raccoon, it won’t go into the trap immediately after placement. It will perceive the trap as a threat and can also sense if the trap is brand new and hasn’t been used for any other animal before. It’s better to wait a bit and give the animal some time to get familiar with the trap, before setting it right away.

    It can also happen that the raccoon keeps stealing bait from the trap. In this case, a better quality trap that secures the bait will be needed. These clever animals can easily detect a trap and will quickly snatch bait from the trap.

    Also, it’s worth mentioning that despite its big body, a raccoon can squeeze through an opening that’s only 4 inches wide.

     

     

    What Is Good Bait For Trapping Raccoons?

    There are some foods that are irresistible to raccoons and you may use those as good bait to lure a raccoon into your trap.

    Fatty meats and sweet foods are some of the best baits you can place in a live trap when you want to catch a nuisance raccoon. Bacon attracts these animals really well. Fresh ripe fruit, candy, marshmallows, molasses, strawberry sugar wafers, as well as sugar or honey-coated vegetables will definitely catch the raccoon’s attention.

    Some other popular baits that have been very effective on raccoons include canned cat food that is wet and smelly.

    Another bait option is food that is the preferred raccoon diet, such as fish, snails, frogs, crayfish, and clams.

    Canned tuna, sardines, or salmon packed in oil are also good bait for trapping raccoons.

    In addition, whole eggs, white bread, chicken meat, sweet corn on the cob, and nuts make great bait for raccoons.

    These are the foods that raccoons like to eat the most, but in fairness, they will eat nearly anything else. After all, they are known for digging through people’s bins in search of their next meal.

    Place your chosen food items behind the pan of the cage trap. Then, sprinkle some of the sweet juice around so that it leads the animal straight to your trap.

     

    After you set your live trap, you must remember to check it often, at least once a day. This is to make sure the animal that’s caught doesn’t die inside the trap. It can take anywhere from a couple of hours up to a few days to catch a raccoon that’s smart and won’t go in the trap. Under no circumstances leave a raccoon trapped for an extended period of time such as longer than 24 hours.

    If any other non-target animal has accidentally been captured, you should release it immediately. Once you have caught a raccoon in your trap, check with your local authorities to find out the correct way to relocate the animal.

    Also, do not handle a trapped raccoon with your bare hands. The wild animal can be dangerous to humans. You are going to be exposed to the diseases they carry, they may attack you or run away.

    The best option would be to call a wildlife removal expert to handle your case.

    If you are experiencing raccoon problems in your yard, contact our Westchester Wildlife team in Westchester, Dutchess, or Putnam County, NY, or in Fairfield County, CT. We are your local wildlife control specialists that handle all types of nuisance wildlife. So if you have raccoons invading your property, call us to learn more about your trapping and removal options.

     

  • What Does It Mean When You See A Groundhog In The Summer?

    The groundhog is known for predicting the weather in early February, but it can make an appearance in your yard on a bright summer day as well.

    A groundhog, also known as a woodchuck, is the largest member of the squirrel family and can be a nuisance pest when it invades your garden beds and yard. Even though groundhogs favor forested areas, they are very adaptable and will keep coming back to places where they are able to find plenty of food and a suitable shelter.

    Groundhogs will readily come into your yard searching for food and a safe place to burrow. Therefore, you should take some steps to make your yard less attractive to this wildlife and to reduce the damage, for example, harvesting your garden crops as soon as possible to limit their food sources.

    Read on to find out the exact reasons why you might see groundhogs on your property in the summer.

    Do Groundhogs Come Out In The Summer?

    Groundhogs start being active as soon as the nice spring weather sets in. They like warm, bright, and sunny weather, but dislike rain. This is because they can see clearly and inspect their surroundings better on a sunny day. Also, sunshine and warmth are suitable for them as they don’t need to adjust their body temperature anymore.

    However, extreme summer heat doesn’t suit them either, and they will struggle. In such hot weather, they have to find ways to survive. They will therefore have to cool off in the water or remain hidden most of the time in their cool dens.

    Groundhogs sleep in their burrows during the summer. In fact, they build a section in their den that looks like their summer house from where they can emerge more easily.

    They will only go outside to find food when it’s not too hot, that is, during the very early morning and late evening hours. In extremely hot temperatures, they will be forced to stay in their burrows for the vast majority of the day and only come out for up to two hours a day. When not foraging for food in the summertime, the groundhog can often be observed sprawled out outside, grooming itself, taking naps, and enjoying the warm sunshine in the afternoon.

    During the summer, usually in August and early September, groundhogs will eat a lot as they need to bulk up their fat stores in anticipation of winter and hibernation from mid-October. During this period, there will be an uptick in groundhog occurrences and indicators of their activity, such as bite marks and hollowed-out crops. The animal will consume up to a pound of food per sitting.

    Another reason why groundhogs are frequently seen in summer is their breeding schedule. Females have babies after hibernation, from March to the end of April and even May. The young have enough time to mature through the summer so that they can build their own burrows in preparation for winter hibernation.

     

    If you want to learn more about what exactly attracts groundhogs to your yard and what damage they can cause, check out our blog post.

     

     

     

    Typically, groundhogs change their habitat according to the season. In the summertime, they are most prevalent as they prefer to live in locations where food is available, such as in open pastures and agricultural fields, suburban backyards, brush, and areas close to vegetable gardens. In the colder months of the year, they choose open woodlands and forested areas to hibernate.

    To deter groundhogs from invading your yard in the summer, make it less appealing for them to dig through. These animals tend to burrow in drier soil, unlike many other ground-burrowing rodents. Therefore, keep the soil in your yard as moderately damp as possible. Instead of having your sprinklers on the whole time to cover the entire yard, water only the areas where groundhogs might burrow like dense shrubbery and bushes.

     

    Is It Normal To See A Groundhog During The Day?

    These animals are diurnal so it is normal to see a groundhog in your yard during the day. They are daytime foragers and are almost never seen outside of their den after sunset.

    During the summer months, the groundhog will only search for food at dawn and dusk. So you will notice that your garden crops are receiving the most damage at this time. Also, check your fruit trees for any marks as these pests might gnaw and claw at them.

    From spring to fall, groundhogs are most active during the day and sleep at night, so they don’t usually come out after dark. However, it might occasionally happen that you spot a groundhog roaming your garden at night.

     

    What Do Groundhogs Eat In The Summer?

    Groundhogs tend to eat twice a day in the summertime, with each feeding session lasting up to 2 hours.

    They are herbivorous and will find almost all vegetable matter in your yard irresistible. During the summer, groundhogs will eat vegetables, such as corn, carrots, lettuce, celery, peas, red tomatoes, and green beans. They also enjoy a wide variety of sweet fruits, such as berries, cherries, apples, and pears. Alfalfa and clovers are some of their favorite foods.

    If there aren’t any vegetables available, groundhogs will settle for grubs, insects, and snails, as well as twigs, bark, weeds, dandelion greens, grasses, herbs, and flowers.

     

    Groundhogs live by seasonal behaviors, so mid-to-late summer is the best time to exclude and eliminate them from your property. As they are active during the day when they are often seen coming in and out of their dens, it is a good time to close their burrows by blocking their easy entry and exit points so that they can move somewhere else.

    Groundhog removal is not an easy job, and you will also need a nuisance wildlife control permit to relocate the animal once it’s trapped. Therefore, if you’re having a groundhog problem in your yard, you should call in a wildlife control professional for help.

    If you live in Westchester, Dutchess, or Putnam County, NY, or in Fairfield County, CT, and were searching online for groundhog removal services, you’ve found your answer! Contact our experienced team at Westchester Wildlife today so that we can effectively trap and get rid of the groundhog from your yard.

     

     

  • Can Skunks Climb?

    There are some problems that can make skunks difficult to deal with. The main issue is the odorous musk they can spray when they feel threatened. But you might also be worried that a skunk may climb a fence, tree, wall, or roof, and enter your property.

    Skunk’s cat-like body might fool us to think that the animal is proficient at climbing. But in general, skunks cannot climb and jump the same way that cats do, which doesn’t mean they cannot climb at all.

    Besides, skunks overall are considered to be one of the poorest climbers among such animals as raccoons, opossums, or squirrels, and they will rarely go up a tree. Their bodies are quite heavy so they are not natural climbers and will take any other alternative to climb a structure. Although they will do so in search of food, or to flee from a predator or other threat.

    However, the spotted skunks are lighter in weight than other skunk species and can climb anything if they need to.

    On the other hand, the striped skunks are not very good climbers and are more adept at digging than climbing. They are heavier than the spotted skunks and can climb, for example, a wire fence, but may find it difficult because of their long nails.

    There is still a lot to learn about skunks and their ability to climb, though. Below, we go into more detail to give you an idea of whether you should worry about skunks climbing onto your property, so keep reading.

    Can A Skunk Climb A Tree, Fence, Roof, Wall, Window, Ladder, Or Chicken Wire?

    Skunk’s claws are exceptionally sharp, powerful, and long, therefore, these animals are able to dig their way into just about any type of material if they decide to climb. It doesn’t matter whether you have a wooden, chain-link, or some other fence type, a skunk is absolutely able to climb these structures with ease.

    Skunks come in many sizes and shapes, and some of them are more adept climbers than others. Many skunk species struggle to climb up fences, but one species, the spotted skunk, is particularly great at fence climbing.

    Spotted skunks are known as excellent climbers. As they have smaller nails, they are able to climb trees with ease and can also come head down from the tree. It will even walk along a tree branch that reaches a fence. The spotted skunk can also choose to climb fences willingly and is skillful at climbing any fence, be it wooden or solid metal.

    These skunks will readily climb the fence to enter your yard, after which they might hunt small farm animals or your outdoor pet during the night.

    Although the striped skunk is also able to climb up fences, boards, and wire mesh, it rarely climbs trees as it is quite a terrible climber. Its long claws are a definite disadvantage for climbing. The animal probably won’t choose to climb anything unless it really feels threatened.

     

     

    If skunks cannot burrow underground to enter your yard, they will choose to climb up trees to skip fences. As most skunk species are not good climbers, they’re not very likely to get into your attic by climbing on the roof and seek shelter in your home. But occasionally it can happen, especially if it is the spotted skunk. It can climb a fence and use tree branches to enter the roof and attic.

    Skunks will climb whenever there’s the need to do so, and sometimes they can do it very well. They are also capable of climbing up the ladder, in and out of the window, and a short brick wall in your house.

    However, the more common striped skunk, once it happens to fall down, for example in the window, it has a hard time climbing back out on its own.

    Skunks can also climb chicken wire. But they are much more likely to chew through the chicken wire, using their claws and sharp teeth with which they’ll take apart the rather thin metal.

    How High Can Skunks Climb?

    How high a skunk can climb depends on the species.

    Spotted skunks are excellent climbers, and therefore find it easy to climb tall fences and walls, or large trees. They can climb fences that are as high as 6 feet. Therefore, making the fences on your property tall enough is the best strategy to prevent this wildlife from climbing them.

    However, the striped skunks, being poor climbers, will struggle to climb over even a 1.5-feet structure.

    Also, the type of surface will also affect how high the animal could climb.

     

    Need a skunk removal service at your location? If you worry about getting sprayed and don’t want to handle the animal yourself, hiring a professional to safely, effectively, and humanely trap and eliminate the skunk is your best option.

    So contact Westchester Wildlife today as our experienced and highly qualified exterminators provide skunk trapping and removal services in Westchester, Dutchess, and Putnam Counties, NY, as well as in Fairfield County, CT.

     

     

  • Do Starlings Nest In Vents?

    Starlings are a non-native bird species introduced to the US from Europe in the late 19th century. These birds are a nuisance everywhere, they reproduce and invade urban areas very rapidly.

    As with any other birds, starlings nesting in vents are a very common problem, particularly during the spring when the birds start the nesting process. Most starlings will then seek the seclusion and dryness of vents in order to find a suitable place to build nests.

    Research has shown that starlings are cavity nesters, which means they tend to construct their nests inside holes and crevices. This explains why they favor various vents and ducts for building nests and caring for their young.

    Starling nests in vents can cause serious problems for homeowners. Keep reading to learn more about starlings nesting in vents and how to protect your home from the infestation.

     

    Can Starlings Nest In Vents?

    Starlings are very invasive birds, they can nest about anywhere, including the vents. Their nests tend to be quite large in size, and are a loosely woven mass made out of hay, grass, twigs, bark, and trash.

    They like to build their nests in warm and secluded areas, which usually leads them to ductwork and exhaust vents. One of their favorite places is wall vents.
    Starlings also love to nest in nice, cozy dryer vents. They are drawn to dryer vents because of their high location, as these vents are mostly some distance from the ground and therefore far from their predators.

    But there are also other vents in the house where these birds might live, i.e. bathroom fan vents, oven and stove exhaust vents, microwave vents, roof vents, gable vents, or heater and furnace vents.

     

     

    Why And How Do Starlings Get Into The Vents?

    Starlings are very clever and agile creatures and know very well how to select a site to nest. Even though the vents have flaps, they are able to fly in and set up their nests in the ductwork.

    Until a few years ago, starlings used to nest only in vents from which the flaps had been removed. However, these days they have figured out how to lift the vent flaps to get inside. They will fly at full speed towards the vent, then lift the flap with their beak and vanish inside without even slowing down.

    Apart from the flaps, these birds can tactfully use their beaks to breach dryer vents and exhaust vents, and will also easily take advantage of broken attic vents.

    The vents in the house walls are common entry points for starlings. But they can also enter inside your house through a wide variety of vents mounted on the roof, such as a ridge vent, static vent, and powered fan vent.

     

    What Damage Do Starlings In A Vent Cause?

    Starlings in a vent are especially destructive whenever they get access to your home and can cause some serious damage to your house and disrupt your well-being.

     

    ●  FIRE

    Once in the vent, a starling will stuff the ductwork full of combustible nest materials that restrict airflow. This can create a dangerous situation as the dry grass, twigs, and leaves can quickly catch fire.

    Also, the lint build-up in the exhaust duct or dryer can block the airflow and cause overheating of the appliances, which might result in a fire.

    Therefore, the issue must be dealt with as soon as possible. Keeping the vents clean and clear of any debris can save your house from a tragedy.

     

    ●  APPLIANCE MALFUNCTION

    If you find a nest or nesting materials that are clogging the dryer vent, it needs to be thoroughly cleaned to remove any obstructions to airflow. This is because the blockage of the dryer hose can cause overheating of the appliance. And even a partial blockage might cause the dryer to not operate properly. This can cause damage to the appliance and ultimately constitute a potential fire hazard.

    So, in the case of a clogged dryer or oven vent, it is much more than just getting rid of the obstacle. It’s vital to ensure that there is a proper flow of air for the appliance to run efficiently.

    Moreover, bird activity in the dryer vent can also lead to rupture of the exhaust line, which causes the dryer to ventilate into a wall or ceiling. As a result, your house will be damaged by unseen moisture.

     

    ●  ODOR

    If the birds got pushed or pulled into the dryer hose, you could have a foul odor to deal with.

    A damaged or clogged duct in a bathroom vent will cause air contamination, meaning the air from the birds will circulate around your home. With the build-up of nesting materials, bird droppings, rotten eggs, and dead young, warm temperatures will intensify the odor. Eventually, the unpleasant smell will permeate your living areas. When you turn the exhaust fan on, the clogged line will force the air back into your house.

     

    ●  HEALTH HAZARD

    Starlings carry many diseases and parasites like bird mites. The parasites accumulate in the vents as the young birds are born. Eventually, those thousands of mites migrate away from empty nests or dead birds and end up inside your home. This will lead to sanitation issues, putting your family and pets at risk.

    In addition, bird droppings contain a lot of pathogens and bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella. These can have various negative effects on human health. Also, spores in bird droppings can cause an even greater health risk if inhaled.

     

     

    How Do You Protect Your Vents From Starlings?

    As prevention is key, it’s always recommended to employ appropriate methods to keep starlings out of the vents before they start building their nest.

    To prevent starlings from building nests in your vents, you should:

    – Install netting, ready-made screens, guards, or long pieces of wire with a hook on the end over the vent openings.

    – Install vent covers that are made of metal instead of plastic, as they will last longer in adverse weather conditions.

    – Install a solid galvanized mesh on the vents. This will keep the starlings out and ensure the vents continue to operate.

     

    Removal of starlings and their nests is a dirty, unsafe, and difficult job, therefore, it’s best to call a professional to have this service done for you.

    If you need help eliminating starlings and nest material from the vents, contact our experienced team at Westchester Wildlife. We will safely get rid of the starling infestation in your home and help prevent future problems from occurring.