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May 9, 2017

How to Deal with Raccoons in Spring and Summer

Animal Removal of DenverHow to Deal with Raccoons in Spring and Summer knows all about how to deal with raccoons in spring and summer. The following tips and tricks will help keep raccoons from setting up shop on or near your property or even in your house. Spring and summer are the seasons when raccoons try to find good locations to protect their offspring and raise a family. This is the ideal time to work on your raccoon prevention plan.

Keeping Raccoons out of the Garbage

Available garbage is a very appealing invitation to raccoons. The best prevention is to keep your garbage on lockdown. A garbage can with a twist lid is a good deterrent because raccoons are unable to pull the lid off easily like they are able to do with other lids. Waiting until morning to put out your garbage, allows time for most raccoons to retire and spend the day sleeping. This limits their exposure time to your trash. If you are unable to wait, the type of garbage can you use will be important. Good alternatives to the twist lid include locking straps that attach to the sides/handles or garbage bins that include some form of a lockdown device.

Raccoons in Dumpsters

In addition to keeping raccoons out of your garbage, it is helpful to deter raccoons away from your property. If you have dumpsters located near your home or business, these are very attractive spaces for raccoons, providing possible food and a fairly protected living space. The key to keeping raccoons out of dumpsters is simply keeping the lid closed. Often, disposal companies will leave lids open after emptying them. The key would be to encourage everyone who uses the dumpster to close the lid. Posting signs and friendly conversations are a good way to do this.

Raccoons in Attics and Chimneys

In the spring and summer, mother raccoons will be in search of a den in which to raise and care for their cubs. Installing steel mesh caps on any ventilated area is the easiest prevention tip. This will stop any raccoons from making their way down your chimney or sneaking into your attic via wide ventilation slats. If you find that a family has managed to make their home in either of these spaces, give us a call at Animal Removal of Denver and we will safely and humanely remove them and relocate them to a more appropriate location.

Removing Cat Food

Some cat owners prefer to leave cat food out all the time for their outdoor feline friends. While it may work well for the cats, any available food is a definite attractant for raccoons. The solution would be to change to a morning and late afternoon or very early evening (i.e. before dark) feeding time for your cat. Your pet will adjust quickly to a new feeding schedule and you will avoid attracting additional visitors.

Raccoons Will Visit Your Home Via your Cat and/or Dog Door

While pet doors are often very convenient, they are a surefire way to find your home with uninvited guests. The easiest method to avoid this would be to stop using the dog or cat door. If the dog or cat door is something you cannot live without, you can replace the door with a model that is electrically controlled to only let your pet through the door. Such doors vary in expense and levels of success. Be sure to do your research if you plan to use an electric model.

Raccoons Love Pond Fish

If you have an outdoor pond stocked with fish, your yard or property may become a new vacation spot for raccoons in your Denver neighborhood. Take heart, this does not mean you have to abandon or remove your beautiful koi pond. The easiest method to deter our bandit-looking friends is to maintain a higher water level of 3 feet or more. Also, provide a place for your fish to hide from predators at the bottom of your pond. Large rocks, underwater castles, cinder blocks, or fish shelters work well.

Raccoons Are Attracted to the Bugs in Your Lawn

If your lawn is well watered, chances are that you have created a fine environment for bugs, grubs, and worms to rise to the surface. While this environment is healthy for your plants and shrubs, it may provide a feasting ground for raccoons.

If your lawn has been victim to raccoon grubbing, your grass may not look its finest, but any damage is generally not permanent. Do not use chemical pesticides on your lawn in an effort to deter raccoons. Such chemicals can have a deadly effect on birds, bees, the environment, and even people. You can add Milk Spore to your soil, which is a natural bacterium. This is a long-term solution (sometimes taking a year or more) but some people find it to be worth the effort.

Installing xeriscape landscaping and gardening is a fine alternative. Because such landscaping involves little to no water, you will find your soil will be less attractive to the bugs and fewer raccoons will settle in for a midnight snack. Alternatively, you can call us here at Animal Removal of Denver and we can work with you to transfer your nighttime visitors to another area.

Raccoons in the Chicken Coop

Adding chickens or other birds to your backyard is a great way to get farm fresh eggs and to cut the bugs in your yard. The downside is that raccoons find chickens to be an ideal fresh meal. Also, raccoons love eggs. They are very capable hunters and will feast on birds and even small livestock. Reinforcing your existing coop is a necessity. Heavier gage fencing should be used and a finer mesh should be added to prevent raccoons from reaching through to grab your feathered friends. A well-maintained coop will prevent your birds and eggs from falling prey to raccoons.

We hope the above tips will help prevent raccoons from taking up residence in or near your home and have shown you how to deal with raccoons in spring and summer. If you find yourself with a raccoon problem anyway, give us a call here at Animal Removal of Denver. We will effectively remove and relocate raccoons using safe and humane methods.

April 14, 2017

What Animals in Colorado Can be Domesticated?

What Animals in Colorado Can be DomesticatedOur specialists at Animal Removal of Denver caution that you should find out what animals in Colorado can be domesticated because it is illegal to own wildlife. Wild and exotic animals as pets may be the latest fad, but it’s generally not good policy. According to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife article, there are laws and regulations that govern wildlife. Wild animals belong to the state and its citizens, and you can’t just take a wild animal home as a pet.

If you get a license from the state, there are some animals that you’re allowed to keep as pets. Our state also has laws about exotic or non-native animals. Some imported and exotic species brought into Colorado are legal with permits and others are prohibited. Restrictions are to keep people safe and prevent spreading diseases to people, pets, livestock, and native wildlife.

Domestic Animals

Of course, it is legal to have domestic animals in Colorado. They are  listed in the Colorado Parks and Wildlife article and include: alpacas, donkeys, bison, camels, cats, cattle, chickens, chinchillas, dogs, ducks, emu, European ferrets, Guinea fowl, geese, gerbils, goats, hamsters, horses, llamas, mice, minks, ostriches, peafowl, Guinea pigs, pigeons, European rabbits, rats, rhea, reindeer, sheep, swine turkeys and yaks.

Wildlife You Can Own

There is some exotic wildlife in Colorado that are allowed to be commercially sold called unregulated wildlife. You do not need a license to own, import, or sell these species.

Legal Non-Mammals

According to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, these are the non-mammal species that are legal to own in Colorado:

  • Tropical and subtropical birds, including parrots
  • Tropical and subtropical fishes, including goldfish and koi
  • Tropical and non-native subtropical lizards, frogs, snakes, and toads
  • Venomous snakes need a license and proof of commercial use
  • Marine vertebrates and invertebrates
  • Tropical and non-native subtropical turtles
  • Caimans
  • Alligators and crocodiles require a commercial wildlife park license
  • Four or less of reptiles and amphibians can be held in captivity, provided that no more than 12 in the aggregate may be possessed at any time

These are legal non-mammals: plains spadefoot, Woodhouse’s toad, Western chorus frog, painted turtle, Western box turtle, Sagebrush lizard, tree lizard, side-blotched lizard, prairie and plateau lizards, bull snake, Western terrestrial garter snake, plains garter snake, lesser earless lizard, Western whiptail, racer, and Western hognose snake.

Legal Mammals

Alternative livestock, like elk and fallow deer, are licensed by the Department of Agriculture.

The other mammals that are legal to own in Colorado include: African pygmy hedgehog, red kangaroo, short-tailed opossum, sugar gliders, Bennett wallaby, Dama wallaby, swamp wallaby, and wallaroo.

Making a Pet of a Wild Animal

Whether a bear, elk or a raccoon, trying to domesticate a wild animal almost always ends up poorly for the animal and the human. What it comes down to is a difference between when a wild animal becomes accustomed to humans and when a wild animal imprints on people.

A wild animal that is used to being around humans but is not tame can survive in the wild. But a wild animal who imprints on people cannot. Imprinting is permanent learning that takes place when wild animals are tamed by humans.

For example, the elk in Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, are accustomed to people and wander through the town, the golf course, and nearby neighborhoods. Although these elk pose a potential danger, the elk usually keep a safe distance from people and will flee when people try to get too close to them. On the other hand, an elk that imprints on humans is more dangerous than a mountain lion or bear because it no longer knows how to act like an elk.

Imprinting on their parents very early, wild animals need to learn these survival skills in the wild. When a wild animal becomes dependent on humans, it will never be able to fully develop the skills needed to live in its own environment. The animal will not know how to take care of itself if it’s released into the wild or how to interact with members of its own species.

If a wild baby animal is raised by humans, it may go well for a while, but as it grows up, things can quickly change with the animal becoming aggressive and dangerous. Once imprinting occurs, your options to do what's best for the animal becomes very limited. The wild animal eventually becomes unmanageable, often at sexual maturity. Many people just let the animal go, but it will usually seek out another human habitat because that’s all it knows. But this can end up disastrous for both animals and humans.

A wild animal has to know to stay away from human contact, have the ability to understand the danger, and hunt its natural prey or seek food sources. Its survival depends on it. Once an animal imprints on people, it became impossible for the animal to ever return to the wild. It has become dependent on humans and no longer knows how to be a wild animal. Even those wild animals raised by people from babies still have moments when animal instinct takes over and may act aggressively. If a wild animal expects food from people it begins to expect food from every person and can become aggressive if it’s not fed. There are many cases of wild animals who were raised as pets who end up killing their owners.

With this in mind, Colorado has made it illegal in Colorado to feed big game, and possess or transport wildlife that’s sick, orphaned or injured. Wildlife rehabilitation permits are only given to people who have adequate training and facilities to care for distressed wildlife in a manner that minimizes human contact and focuses on that wildlife being returned successfully to the wild. Bottom line, you can’t have wildlife as pets, not even if you “rescue” an injured squirrel or baby bird that’s fallen out of its nest.

The goals of the state are to protect the wildlife and domestic livestock, as well as the public’s health and safety. Many of Colorado’s native wildlife species can be dangerous and spread diseases to people and other animals. That’s why our specialists at Animal Removal of Denver caution that you should find out what animals in Colorado can be domesticated. Contact us today if you need help removing any wildlife from your home or property.

March 27, 2017

Facts About Raccoons

Facts About RaccoonsAnimal Removal of Denver knows the facts about raccoons. Sure, they are cute animals, but not if they’ve invaded your home’s attic or chimney. When that happens, give us a call, and we can humanely get rid of your uninvited guests. Even better? We’re here to help you learn more about these critters so you can protect your home and family from a possible invasion.

According to an A-Z Animal's article, raccoons are medium-sized mammals that were originally only found in North America, but the raccoon was deliberately brought into other countries like Europe and Japan. The raccoon is found in most of United States, parts of Canada, Mexico and the northern-most regions of South America, Germany, and Russia.

There are about ten different species of raccoons that range in size but look similar, found throughout the Americas. Here are even more facts about raccoons.

Size

A PBS article reports adult raccoon average between 24 to 38 inches in length and can weigh between 14 to 23 pounds, although some reportedly weight up to 35 pounds. The raccoon male is called a boar and is slightly bigger than the female, who is called a sow. The young raccoons are referred to as kits.

Habitat

The raccoons live in densely wooded areas and large forests, as well as mountainous and wetter habitats. Raccoons often move closer to our communities to find food.

Food

According to the A-Z Animal’s article, raccoons are omnivorous animals. They like to eat insects, plants, and small animals like fish and sometimes a bird. They have been known to eat berries, nuts, rodents, frogs, eggs, and crayfish. Sometimes raccoons will dig through human garbage for food, scavenge your garden or kill poultry.

Raccoons tend to be nocturnal but it is not uncommon to spot a raccoon during the day.

Foraging for their food, raccoons are often found near water. They are often seen looking like they are washing their food in water before eating it. But it is thought that their highly-developed nerves in their front paws are heightened when wet. Others interpret this raccoon behavior to be searching for, looking at and taking apart their food before they eat it.

The name raccoon means one who scratches with his hands. The raccoon’s scientific name, Procyon lotor, means dog-like washer.

Appearance

Raccoons have grayish brown fur with five to eight light and dark rings on its tail. They have a black mask around their eyes. A raccoon has a thick layer of fur which keeps it warm during the cold winters and dexterous front paws. The raccoon’s back legs are longer than the front legs. The raccoon’s five toes on the front paws allow it to grasp and manipulate food and other things like doorknobs, jars, and latches. Their agile front paws are covered in a spiny coating that protects them when they are using them to eat.

According to the A-Z Animal’s article, raccoons have four feet with five toes which give the raccoons stability when they run and climb. Raccoon feet are bare-soled and flat which makes them sort of waddle. The front feet allow to the raccoon to easily hold onto things. The larger back feet are large giving more power and balance.

The five long toes and sharp claws let them climb trees. Their modified ankle joints let them turn out 180 degrees which allow them to climb down the trees frontward or backward. Raccoons swim in streams as they search for their food or to avoid danger. Raccoons sometimes drown animals by grabbing their head and holding it under the water.

The raccoon is a nocturnal animal, and will often be seen foraging and feeding at night. The black mask of black fur over its eyes, which even newly-born raccoon babies have, may help reduce glare and help its night vision.

Babies

Although raccoons are often seen alone, many believe that raccoons gather in gender-specific groups. According to the PBS article, January through June is the mating season for raccoons, with most female raccoons starting to have babies at the age of one, with a 65-day gestation period. In the spring, female raccoons give birth to two to five babies known as kits or cubs. The male raccoon doesn’t help raise the kid. Instead, the female raccoon usually separates from other raccoons to raise her babies, alone. The kits usually stay their mother until they reach 13-14 months old.

The raccoon kits are born deaf and blind but can see and hear around the first month. Baby raccoons are not born with a layer of light-colored fur and the black mask. Raccoon kits are normally about four inches long at birth and weigh around three ounces.

When our technicians at Animal Removal of Denver get rid of raccoons from attics and chimneys we don’t want to separate dependent young raccoons from their mothers. We are careful not to plug the entryways until all the raccoons including the babies are out.

Life Expectancy

Raccoons in the wild have a much lower life expectancy than those in captivity. In their natural habitat, raccoons can survive about 2 to 3 years, but in captivity, a raccoon can live around 20 years.

Raccoon Behavior

As winter gets close, raccoons eat as much as possible so they can build up an extra layer of fat. Raccoons don’t hibernate, but they live in dens during the coldest days and sleep, sometimes up to a month. Their extra fat and their heavy coat of coarse fur provide the insulation they need.

They are solitary animals but live in groups in the den during the winter. Female raccoons share a common area, while up to four unrelated males may live together in groups to protect themselves from invaders and to fight off foreign males during the mating season. Sometimes raccoons kick out other animals like skunks or foxes and take over their den.

Raccoons are crafty creatures. Knowing the facts about raccoons can help you if they make their way into your chimney or attic to make their homes. If you hear or see a raccoon in your home call us. Getting raccoons out and keeping them out, is not difficult if you know what you’re doing. Our removal technicians at Animal Removal of Denver know the best techniques and come prepared to get the job done.

February 5, 2017

Squirrels in Your Attic? Uh-oh

Squirrels in Your Attic? Uh-ohSquirrels are cute in a city park, but squirrels in your attic? Uh-oh, maybe not so cute. In fact, squirrels are pests that can be dangerous and cause damage. Your best plan of action is to always contact us at Animal Removal of Denver to humanely remove squirrels from your attic.

If you hear scratching and chirping, bumping and jumping from the ceiling, it may be squirrels in your attic. Squirrels love dry and warm places for nesting, so you should get rid of squirrels as soon as you find out they have invaded your home. A single squirrel colony is twenty or more squirrels, so make sure you get them all out. Don’t leave any baby squirrels behind. You can hire us to make sure it is done safely and humanely.

According to the Humane Society, squirrels in your attic are dangerous because they can cause damage, create a fire risk, and pose a health problem.

Squirrels Cause Damage to Your Home & Health

These critters are known to dig and rip out your insulation and damage the boards in your attic.

The worst damage is done to the outside of your home. As these invading squirrels grow up and leave the nest, they make their homes in a new area of the attic to build their own nests. If you don’t get rid of all the squirrels they will continue to chew holes around the outside, making more entry points to get into the attic.

Once these pests get in, they often chew on exposed wiring, which can cause a fire. After removing them, you may want to call an electrician to take a look at all exposed wiring.

As for your health, squirrels can cause minor issues since they carry pathogens like salmonella that are harmful. However, it’s very rarely transmitted to people. And while squirrels can get rabies, the Humane Society says there are no documented cases of people getting rabies from a squirrel. If you’ve heard stories, they’re absolutely not true.

How Squirrels Get in & How to Get Them Out

Above the gutters and where dormers meet the roof are common areas where squirrels are getting into your attic either by chewing holes from the outside or finding gaps and holes that already exist. They also get in by chewing corners of trim, making any small hole bigger.

Our experts will find where the squirrels are getting in. If there is no obvious way into the attic, we’ll check the eaves, vents, and roof. We will block all entry points except for the main one. This will force the squirrels to exit from a single entry point where we can set out humane traps.   

Once squirrels are trapped, they can be safely removed. We will make sure to keep the traps set until all of the squirrels have been removed. Sometimes we use a one-way door on the attic hole which has a special tension flap that lets the squirrels exit safely, but can’t go back inside.

We Take Special Care of Squirrel Babies

One reason you have squirrels in your attic in the first place is that squirrels have litters of babies twice a year, in the spring and fall. Mother squirrels are looking for a safe, warm, dry place to make their nests. Your attic is the perfect nesting place.

Our goal is to locate the nest. It may be made of readily available materials like insulation, cardboard, and leaves. If it's February through May or August through October, you can be guaranteed that babies will be there. If that is the case, the best thing to do is wait a few weeks until the babies grow old enough to leave with their mother because the babies won't live without her. Don’t try to trap and relocate the squirrels yourself.

Preventing Them from Coming Back

Once all the squirrels, including the babies, have been removed, you should think about covering all the entry points including the vents with mesh screens, as well as installing chimney caps and sealing any openings that a squirrel could get through. We suggest using metal flashing to keep squirrels from re-opening access points into attics.

What happens if you see squirrels trying to get back in? Frantic mother squirrel attempts to get back in may mean that babies are still inside the attic. If this happens we can remove the patch, let the mother return, and wait until the babies are big enough to leave.

You should also trim any trees you have near your home as squirrels can use the overhanging branches as a bridge onto your roof. Trees near your house allow squirrels easy access into your attic. The faster you can remove them, the less damage to your house and the fewer squirrels you have to remove.

Things that Don’t Work

Some people try to get rid of the squirrels on their own. This can be dangerous and most of the time does not end in success. Here are some things that don’t work:

  • Don’t waste your time on noise machines, powder repellent, or flashing lights as they seldom work and end up being more annoying to you and your neighbors.
  • Don’t buy any rat poison. It usually won’t kill them and even if it did, other squirrels will just take their place. We also always recommend humane ways to get rid of pests, yes, even squirrels.
  • Don’t set traps on the roof. It’s dangerous and is not efficient. Even if you catch some, you probably won’t catch all of them.
  • Don’t set traps inside your attic. You might get real lucky and catch one or two, but most squirrels will avoid it.

Do you hear scratching and clawing up above? Are there squirrels in your attic? Uh-oh. Don’t try to handle it yourself. You know what to do. Call our friendly and knowledgeable experts here at Animal Removal of Denver and let us take care of it for you. We have the training to remove squirrels without harming them, and we can help stop them from returning! For a squirrel-free home, call or contact us today to schedule an appointment.

January 17, 2017

Raccoon Romance is Right Around the Corner in Colorado

Raccoon Romance is Right Around the Corner in ColoradoDid you know that raccoon romance is right around the corner in Colorado? We’re not talking about Valentine’s day, but raccoon mating season means raccoon babies. That’s all wonderful unless those raccoons are living in your attic or chimney. That’s where we come in. Our raccoon experts at Animal Removal of Denver can humanely remove your romantic raccoons and return them to a more appropriate raccoon habitat.

Raccoon Mating Season

The mating season usually begins in January and lasts through June. The raccoon gestation period is only 65 days. Raccoons usually have between two to five babies.

The raccoon is a nocturnal animal, often feeding at night. The raccoon eats an assortment of insects, fruits, plants, nuts, eggs, berries, rodents, frogs, and crayfish. Of course, in towns, raccoons are often found digging through people’s garbage for whatever food they can find.

The mask of black fur over the eyes, which they are born with, may help reduce glare and aid their night vision. They have grayish brown fur with five to eight light and dark rings on its tail.

The website PBS.org reports that an adult raccoon averages between 24 to 38 inches in length and weighs between 14 to 23 pounds. The male raccoon is called a boar and is slightly bigger than the female, called a sow. The young raccoons are referred to as kits. In its natural habitat, a raccoon lives only about 2 to 3 years, but in captivity, a raccoon can amazingly live 20 years.

Raccoons Families Move in

In their search for a warm, safe place to den, raccoons often make attics their home, using it for living, feeding, and bathroom areas. Of course, this can cause a lot of damage to your home.

What happens is raccoons will flatten and get rid of insulation where it decides it wants to sleep. This reduces your insulation efficiency.

Female raccoons will often choose an area of the attic to give birth and raise its babies. If you don’t get rid of the raccoons right away, they will increase the amount of living space they take up in your attic, and that will increase the damage.

Raccoon Destruction and Smells

Our removal experts warn once raccoons are living in your attic, they will use whatever materials are available to make their home. They might decide to shred house materials like the roof, wallpaper, vent, ducts, along with the insulation. It’s important to remove the raccoons quickly before they destroy all of these items and much more. Their chewing and scratching can also damage the electrical wires. Their destruction sometimes even causes them to fall through the attic ceiling and into your home.

You might notice a horribly foul odor in your attic, not only from their urine and feces but also because sometimes they die. People usually hear raccoons in their attic at night, or see them often around their home or on their roof. Once they have babies there is even more activity in your attic. Raccoons also like to bring their food (often garbage they’ve scavenged) and other things into the attic since it is now their home. The damage to your home’s structural materials can be extensive, and the cost to repair them will add up quickly.

Raccoons are Aggressive

A lot of people think that raccoons are cute and have seen videos online that show them to be almost dog-like in nature. This is not a realistic portrayal of these animals. Many homeowners encounter these pests in attics, under decks, and in other areas in and around their house. If approached, raccoons may feel threatened or cornered and often become aggressive. 

Your Home as a Raccoon Nursery

Available food sources such as dog food and trash in open receptacles are the most common reasons raccoons come around your house. During the winter months, these animals will look for a place to nest and commonly use attics where there is easy access. If you don’t do anything about it, you may find out in a couple of months that your attic is a nursery for baby raccoons.

Raccoons are generally solitary animals but they will actually den in groups during the winter. Female raccoons can start having babies at the age of one, and kits usually stay their mother until they reach 13-14 months old. It’s been seen that female raccoons often share a common area, while up to four unrelated males may live together in a group in order to protect from invaders and maintain their positions against foreign males during the mating season. 

Raccoon Diseases

If you have raccoons in your home, your family and pets are exposed to the risk of problems including trichinosis, distemper, lice, fleas, and rabies. In places where raccoons have lived for a long time, their feces may accumulate. Take care to avoid exposure to roundworm eggs, which can be found in raccoon feces.

Raccoon Babies in Your Attic or Chimney

One concern we have when humanely getting rid of raccoons from attics and chimneys is that we don’t want to separate dependent young raccoons from their mothers. We need to be sure we get all the raccoons out safely. If the raccoon has babies, the best thing to do is wait a few weeks until the babies are old enough to leave with their mother. If not, they won’t survive.

We don’t recommend trying to trap and relocate the raccoon family yourself. It almost always leads to separation and possibly death of the baby raccoons, unless done by professionals like us who know how to reunite mothers with their offspring. This allows the mother to safely move her young to another den site.

Because raccoon romance is right around the corner in Colorado, let us know if you see raccoons near your property or hear or smell them in your attic. We know that raccoon mating season means raccoon babies and that makes things more complicated in getting them out. But either way, our experienced raccoon experts at Animal Removal of Denver can humanely remove the invading raccoons and return them to an appropriate raccoon habitat so the raccoons and your home can be safe again.

 

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