Be warned that there are some unwanted house guests who might be moving in pretty soon. In fact, they might already be living there and are even planning on raising their family under your roof!
If this residential intrusion sounds peculiar, for the estimated 50 or more raccoons and hundreds of squirrels who live in your neighbourhood, it’s often just a matter of urban survival.
As winter begins to creep towards us in the coming weeks, combined with ever-dropping temperatures, urban wildlife such as raccoons and squirrels will hunker down in their homes. These humble, wildlife abodes are inside attics and walls providing perfect shelter for these creatures. And while the family dog or cat might provide a slight deterrence, they are nothing compared to the predators in the “real” wilderness such as coyotes. So, why not stay awhile and enjoy the luxury of house living?
Well, it might be nice to have a cute family of raccoons sharing your “guest accommodations,” they can actually pass along some unwanted diseases.
The Problem With Wildlife In The Home
You may recall a very tragic story last year of a young Hamilton, Ontario boy who was infected by a parasite called Baylisascaris. It is found in raccoon feces, and if inhaled or ingested, can cause severe neurological problems. The boy’s family was unaware of this danger and believe that he may have tracked the parasite in on his clothes or shoes. Raccoons are also quite destructive, using anything they can get their strong little paws on, including sheathing, insulation, shingles and siding. And, well you can imagine what happens when these animals use your attic for a bathroom . . .
Squirrels are also rude houseguests and enjoy scurrying about at all times of the day and night. They are often attracted to roof, attic and wall spaces around bedrooms because they are quiet. But continuous feeding, gnawing and baby tending is not conducive to your well-needed night’s sleep. These animals are famous for chewing through anything, including electrical wires and roof trusses. That damage can be very hazardous to the safety and integrity of your home. And they too carry parasites such as bed bugs, fleas and mites.
The bottom line is if you think you have unwanted house guests, you need to get them to leave as soon as possible. If you can do this before the babies are born, it is much easier and much less stressful for the mothers. Raccoons and squirrels usually have a number of backup den and nesting sites in the area where they can relocate.
A few months from now, as you begin to emerge from your own winter hibernation, look for signs of increased wildlife activity around your home, keep garbage out for as short a time as possible and trim tree branches that extend close to your house. Also, consider hiring a professional wildlife removal company who will not only remove your guests humanely, but make sure that your guest accommodations are reserved for human friends.