Wildlife is great when it’s the wild. It’s not so appealing when it’s knocking at your door, or inviting itself into your attic or crawlspace. If you’re finding that the neighbourhood raccoons are making a feast out of your rubbish, it might be time to fend off your property. A home doesn’t feel much like your own when you know that you’re sharing it with a family of rodents.
Did you know that the average raccoon weighs between 25 and 30 pounds? When you get a whole family of them traipsing through your attic, they’re able to cause significant damage to wiring, insulation, and structural wall damage. Similarly, possums, rats, and other large rodents might seem like an outsider creature, but they can quickly become an indoor nuisance. You would be amazed how much damage even mice can cause. Their urine alone can ruin clothes, electronics, and furniture, not to mention floors, carpet and drywall.
My first house backed on to a park and it was so nice not to have neighbours across the back of our property. However, the very first winter there, we discovered that our home was the winter getaway for all the creatures of the green space! We quickly employed a mix of deterrent and reactive measures to get them under control and kept on high alert every year once the weather turned cold. This two part strategy helped us rid our home of rodents for good.
One of the best ways to keep rodents out of your home is to prevent them from coming in to begin with. Preventative measures are always more effective than being reactive once you’ve already acquired your not-so-welcome intruders. These tips include the following:
- Make sure to keep food in the kitchen, and clean up any crumbs or food litter. Mice love a messy floor! However, don’t assume that you have some fuzzy guests because your home isn’t clean. Even spotless houses can be the ideal cozy cabin for a raccoon or rat.
- Never keep pet food out. They love that stuff. So be sure to keep feed bowls off the floor and store bagged food in plastic containers.
- Small rodents will be able to creep in through holes, so close off any crawlspace holes or cracks in your foundation.
- If you are thinking about replacing your existing insulation, use a spray-in variety. Mice generally prefer houses that do not have spray foam insulation. They can not eat it, and it doesn’t leave room for the mice to make themselves at home.
If you’re late to protecting your home from rodents, you’ll still want to keep your home clean and seal any entrances, but now you’ll also need to catch the pests as well. After all, you have now sealed them in your home! Depending on your area, you may not legally be allowed to kill specific rodents, so check with local laws and regulations to see how to get rid of raccoons, skunks, and pack rats. In my area, you must catch and release, which means they could come back if you haven’t found and blocked their way back in.
- If you think you are dealing with mice, you will want to invest in some humane traps. Especially if you have pets in your home. You do not want to use poison that your beloved furry friends may ingest.
- Cats and dogs can both be relatively good hunters, and may even simply alert you to where the rodents are spending much of their time, which can help you know where to place traps. Both of my cats are excellent hunters. When I see them sitting staring into a corner for hours, I know exactly where the critters are.
- If you are not certain what type of large rodent is making your home his own abode, you may not want to try catching and releasing yourself in case you make the mistake of catching a skunk. If you do catch a raccoon or possum, inquire with local regulations to see where you can re-home them. If you are legally allowed to re-home them, do so at least ten miles away from your home.
Hire the professionals
If you’re tired of fighting a losing war, it may be time to invest in professional wildlife removal, whether it be that you’re trying to rid your house of a squirrel family or skunk couple. As experts, they’ll be able to put their experience to use to help protect you and your family from the rodents. In addition, make sure to inquire with the company on how to make sure to keep your home devoid of the fuzzy trespassers in the future.