Baby animals are very cute and for the first few months of their lives, most baby mammals are totally reliant on their mothers. Understanding the relationship between mothers and babies and how the mother will react to her family being removed from their cozy den in your attic or basement is crucial to the safe and humane removal of wildlife from your home.
Spring and summer are a wonderful time of year in the wild; the trees blossom, the flowers bloom and the animals breed. At Skedaddle we are passionate about wildlife and the survival of wildlife in all habitats and we get incredibly excited about the birthing season. This is one of the busiest times of the year for us and we all look forward to it because, no matter how long you have been in the business, you are always excited about rescuing and relocating your first litter of the year. In our business, there is not much that beats the excitement of seeing a mother and her babies safely removed from a basement or attic and reunited to begin their life in the wild.
Our Safe and Humane Wildlife Removal Process
The first thing that a Skedaddle wildlife technician will do when called to your home is ascertained whether you have one invader or an entire family in your attic. They will quickly identify if there are babies present by conducting a baby search of the den site. Whether you are dealing with skunk, squirrel or raccoon removal, mothers are extremely good at hiding their offspring, so it is important to search all the dark nooks and crannies to make sure that no babies are left behind. Once all the babies have been located, they are carefully removed by hand. With raccoons, squirrels, and skunks, hands-on is the only way to do it because until the babies are at least 6 weeks old, they are not mobile. It is not just the health of the babies that are a concern for our wildlife technicians, they also need to keep a close eye on the mother and ensure that she knows where to find her babies once they have been removed from your attic.
Safely Removing Wildlife Babies with a Baby Box
Raccoon, squirrel and skunk babies all need their mothers to survive and that is why we always do our best to ensure that the families stay together during our humane wildlife control process. We also make sure that it is easy for the mother to find and relocate her offspring safely once they have been removed from your home. Most female raccoons and skunks have more than one den site and according to Skedaddle GM, Ryan Rainville, “the baby box is used to temporarily keep litters of babies safe, secure and out of the elements in the time it takes for their mother to find and relocate them to one of her other den sites.”
An essential part of our humane wildlife control arsenal is the baby box. This is a small wooden box lined with nesting material that we can’t work without and it is used extensively during wildlife removal in the spring and summer. As Ryan explains, “during the baby retrieval process the mother will either remain in the den site or exit. If the mother remains inside, a one-way door is secured over her entry and exit point to the den site. The one-way door allows the mother to exit the den site but prevents her re-entry. The babies are placed in the baby box and the box is then positioned immediately next to the entry/exit point so that when the mother leaves, she will discover her babies and begin the relocation process.”
If the mother has left during the removal process, or was not in the den at the time, she will return to the entry point at the same stage during the day and attempt to get back in. Once she discovers that her entry point has been securely blocked, she will begin her search for her babies and that is why we position the baby box next to the entry point so that she can quickly discover them and start the relocation process.
How Does a Baby Box Work?
It is important to note that we do not relocate the babies to a new den and that the baby box is just a temporary shelter for the babies. It will not become their permanent home and you do not have to worry that they will be living on your roof for the next few months rather than inside it. The baby box is merely a temporary shelter that keeps the babies safe, giving the mother enough time to relocate them to a suitable den site. We also ensure that all potential re-entry points are repaired or suitably secured with vent guards to prevent the mother raccoon or skunk from re-entering your attic or basement and reclaiming her den. Once we have secured your home the mother will not be able to find a way in and she will be forced to relocate her offspring to an alternative den site. This means that the baby box in no way encourages the mother to remain in or around your home.
How Long Does the Process Take to Complete?
Raccoon removal is a delicate process and it takes time for the process to be carried out safely and successfully without putting the animals at risk or subjecting them to unnecessary stress. Mothers have a strong maternal instinct and it usually does not take them long to find their babies in the baby box, but they might not relocate them immediately.
According to Ryan, “in the case of raccoons, the mother will usually wait until dark to begin relocating the babies.” Raccoons are nocturnal and are therefore more comfortable moving their babies at night, but a mother may relocate her babies immediately after or even during the removal process despite the fact that it is still broad daylight. There really are no hard and fast rules regarding when a mother will move her babies from the baby box to the new den site. “Whether she waits until nightfall or starts relocation during the day depends on the type of den site and the temperament of the mother raccoon” explains Ryan.
Squirrels, on the other hand, are diurnal animals and are comfortable being out and about in the day time and will often begin the relocation process as soon as the babies have been removed from your attic. If the mother begins the relocation process immediately and the babies are mature enough, the baby box may not even be necessary. In warm weather, it may be possible to simply place older offspring outside the attic or basement and watch as the mother begins relocating them immediately.
For the health and safety of your home and family, and the wildlife involved, it is best to call in a humane wildlife control expert, like Skedaddle Humane Animal Control, the moment you suspect an animal has moved into your basement or attic. Skedaddle wildlife technicians are trained and equipped to deal with any wildlife situation, including wildlife babies.