To you, preparing for cold weather means pulling your winter coats out of storage, and turning up the heat on your thermostat. To an animal preparing for long, hard months outdoors means finding shelter. A place to wait out winter indoors is much more appealing than an underground burrow beneath the snow. Spaces inside human dwellings are warm, safe from predators, and can provide a perfect nesting ground. However, wild animals aren’t house guests you’ll want to entertain during the winter. Not only can animals be destructive, but they also carry dangerous diseases. The following simple wildlife prevention strategies will keep your property safe, and free of animals as you and your family gather inside during the cold winter season.
Repair Cracks Around the Exterior of Your Home
The first step towards winterizing your home is to simply walk around outside. Look for places animals could potentially squeeze through. Don’t overlook a small opening just because skunks or raccoons can’t fit inside. Bats and mice can make their way in through the tiniest of cracks, all these animals need is an opening about the width of a crayon.
Holes less than a quarter inch can also be a potential problem. Rodents are gnawing experts and may use their sharp teeth to make any opening wider. Don’t give them the opportunity to chew open an entry point. Carefully inspect the following areas for gaps, and use caulking to seal openings in:
- Garage doors
- Exterior doors
- Foundation and siding
- Exterior walls
- Roof tiles
Along with sealing gaps, you also want to install screens over vents and chimneys.
These measures can keep animals out, but what if they’re already inside? Chew marks, droppings, and scratching noises are all signs your home has an unwelcome visitor. If you notice signs of entry, call for wildlife removal services immediately. These pests carry diseases that pose a risk to your health, so leave this to the professionals. Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control can safely and efficiently remove unwanted animals from your home, and prevent their ability to return.
Protect Your Outdoor Living Area
Opening your grill for the first time after a long cold winter is the start of a great time — unless you open the lid to reveal a heap of baby squirrels inside. Baby animals are cute until they’re nesting on the thing you use to cook hamburgers. While winterizing your home, don’t overlook outdoor furniture and grills. Grills should be covered with a weather-proof tarp.
Remember to remove outdoor furniture cushions from your chairs so their insides don’t become a cozy nest. Store such soft items in a securely sealed deck box or shed. Firmly cover tables, chairs, and any outdoor fire pits that won’t be used in the winter months. Make sure to also remove any potted plants. Animals like rodents may burrow into the dirt to stay warm. Protecting your patio for the winter makes for an animal-free spring cleaning.
Secure Outer Structures
Animals don’t care if you have a decked-out she-shed or are simply storing an old lawnmower. If there is an outdoor structure in your yard, critters want inside. Secure any exterior dwelling that could serve as a shelter. Sheds should be inspected for cracks and holes just like your home. After you’ve sealed the exterior of your shed, clean the interior, and be sure to remove any food or seed that could attract wildlife Not only will your shed be tidy come springtime, but it will also be rodent-free. Animals love to turn a mess into their comfy winter abode.
Swimming pools may also look tempting to wildlife in search of a home. Pools should be covered tightly with a thick, winter pool cover. Don’t use a loose solar cover that could allow any animal to fall through. If your deck is low to the ground, consider installing wire fencing underneath. Lattice and mesh make a cheap and easy enclosure. Animals can still dig underneath, but this simple fencing may deter many critters completely.
Be Careful While Feeding the Birds
Watching birds flutter through the backyard can be relaxing. Unfortunately, bird seed doesn’t only attract birds. Furry animals are stocking up on food for the long winter, and bird feeders are a never-ending food supply that will beckon any animal. Wild animals don’t need to forage if you are providing them with a free feast every day. More animals eating in your yard means more animals seeking shelter in your house.
Placing bird feeders high off the ground can help, but it’s not foolproof. Birds are messy and throw seeds to the ground. If you would like to feed your feathered friends, place feeders as far from your home as possible. Keep food far away, and animals may not notice that unsealed gap in your foundation.
Keep the woodland creatures outside where they belong in the wintertime. Inspect your home for potential entry points, secure gaps, and cover outdoor items. Complete this checklist each year, and you can deter animals all season long. If you need help winterizing your home against wildlife, give us a call. Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control specializes in safe wildlife removal and prevention. In wildlife control, the best offence is a good defence, so reach out to us to stop a winter infestation before it starts. We can protect your home when Jack Frost and his furry friends come knocking.