When the days grow shorter and the weather gets colder, your thoughts may turn to cozy winter nights inside your home, where your heater and insulated building materials keep you and your family warm. What you may not realize is that the wild animals in your area have their minds set on finding a comfortable winter den as well, and may eye your home as a refuge. At Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control, we can help you understand why certain creatures might want to share your home with you when fall arrives, as well as provide you with a variety of services to keep wildlife outside where it belongs.
1. Available Food Sources
As the weather grows colder, food often grows scarcer for all wildlife, causing them to travel considerable distances to find it. Open trash cans, food scraps left on counters and leftovers in the vegetable garden can all attract these animals. Both mice, squirrels, raccoons and bats s are omnivores and eat many of the same foods we do:
- All kinds of fruit
- Bread and cereal
- Legumes and nuts
Rodents also snack on insects such as roaches, along with spiders and their young. Since clutter and unsecured garbage cans can attract these bugs, their presence may encourage rats and mice to hunt around your home and eventually invite themselves inside.
You can prevent wildlife from entering your home by checking for loose doors, broken window screens, and cracks or crevices they can use to squeeze their way indoors. Use garbage cans and pets food containers with lids that snap or screw down to discourage enterprising rodents looking for a bite, and be sure to disinfect and deodorize them regularly.
2. Winter Dens
Some mammals hibernate or become much less active in the winter. While mice do not hibernate, bats do, and our wildlife control technicians are not permitted to remove or exclude them once they enter this state because of their protected status. Female bats may seek out a warm place in your home to bear and nurse her young, as your attic could keep the family safe from predators.
Practicing bat prevention is easier, and much less expensive than having these animals removed from your home, and there are a few tips you can keep in mind. Have your roof and chimney inspected annually to ensure there are no openings bats might use to gain entrance. Bats are often attracted to insects that swarm around your home’s outdoor lighting, so be sure to check nearby windows to make sure the screens are not torn and that none are left open as the weather turns cooler.
3. Protection From Predators
Small rodents spend much of their time hiding and fleeing from predators, and your home can make the perfect getaway for them. A nest in an interior wall or tucked up in the attic insulation gives them a refuge from air and ground predators, allowing them to come out at night and forage around your home. While your dog or cat might deter them temporarily, mice and rats are intelligent and may observe your evening routine of tucking your pets in or confining them to one room overnight.
Squirrels usually gain entrance to your home as they work to gather and hide food for the coming winter. Tree branches that overhang your roof can encourage them to find their way into your attic, where they are safe from predators. Trimming back branches can deter them, but the only way to truly prevent them from breaking in is to ensure they have no way to get inside your home.
Just as you probably love how comfortable your house feels in the winter, local wildlife is likely to agree and try to find its way inside to share the warm, dry space. Most small mammals, including bats, prefer places that are dark, warm and dry so they can survive the winter without being exposed to the elements. While some animals, such as skunks, may go into a winter torpor even if they find a warm den, mice, rats and squirrels may remain active in your home as they search for food, nesting material and raise their young.
Keeping wildlife away from your home as the cold weather approaches can be challenging. Here at Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control, our goal is to keep you and your home safe while ensuring that bats, mice and other animals find their own dens outside. Contact us today for more information and further tips about how to winterize your house against the wildlife that wants to share it with you.