Our Current Blog Articles
July 13, 2017
Identify Critters and Their Noises
At Animal Removal of Denver, we want to help you identify critters and their noises, particularly those that might be likely to try to take up residence in your home. Do you hear scratching noises from your ceiling at night? Maybe you hear a rustling in your walls? It could be one of many common pests such as rodents, birds, bats, squirrels, and raccoons.
If you hear scratching noises in the walls or attic, and they are accompanied by squeaking, you might have a bat trapped in your attic or walls. Bats will sometimes enter a home through small holes and occasionally, they make their way to being stuck in the walls of a home. You are likely to hear the scratching and squeaking at night because bats are nocturnal.
Since bats have been known to set up colonies in attics, you want to have them removed as soon as possible. Calling professional services, like Animal Removal of Denver, is a great way to track down the noise and the animal, as well as figure out where they gained access.
Rats and Mice
The most common noises associated with rats and mice in the home are scratching and chewing noises coming from the walls and ceilings. These rodents will make noise at night when they are likely to be searching for shelter or food and water, particularly in winter. They are unlikely to make the squeaking noises associated with bats but are likely to try to chew through stuff in an effort to find what they need.
Birds will sometimes enter a structure to make a nest and can become trapped much like bats, in the walls or the attic. Birds in your commercial building or home will often chirp or make fluttering or scratching noises in an effort to get out. Such noises will often be heard in the early morning when birds are normally on the hunt for food to start their day.
If the noises your hear seem particularly loud, you may have a raccoon problem. Raccoons are nocturnal and since they are some of the larger animals that find themselves in attics (chimneys as well), they tend to be quite loud. Sometimes you will hear them run and scratch. They will often try to move into your attic to have babies, so getting rid of them quickly is recommended.
These critters also have a tendency to take up residence in homes, particularly in attics. Since squirrels can be particularly destructive, you are going to want a professional to help you out. Professionals will have recommendations to help you keep squirrels from returning. Squirrels tend to make scurrying, scratching, chewing, and jumping noises during the day. These noises are usually as they travel in and out of your home in search of food and water.
If you are hearing noises and some help to identify critters and their noises, call us here at Animal Removal of Denver. We can help you find the source of the noise and remove it from your home quickly, safely and as always, humanely. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
June 14, 2017
Are You Sharing Your Home with Squirrels?
Are you sharing your home with squirrels? At Animal Removal of Denver, we have removed squirrels from a number of homes, and know it is not always as clear as you might think. Some squirrels take up residence for a long time before a homeowner discovers them. Knowing the signs will help you rid yourself of these potential pests before they do too much damage.
Do you hear strange noises?
The sounds of jumping and scampering may not always be clear, but if you hear noises that could be either of these, you may have a squirrel issue. If a squirrel becomes stuck somewhere, you will hear a persistent scratching noise. This scratching sound is often the noise that will prompt a call to a professional, but if a squirrel is not stuck, the noises can harder to detect.
Often mistaken for bat droppings, squirrel droppings appear in very similar piles. If you see droppings in your home or garage, you’re going to be in need of animal removal services. In cleaning up wild animal feces, it is important to remember to use proper hygiene and care—something a squirrel removal professional must regularly practice. You can also contract salmonella if you are not careful in performing the removal yourself. We recommend being safe and bringing in professional services such as Animal Removal of Denver.
Small damaged areas outside
Most people are not aware that squirrels, much like mice and raccoons, are able to chew through anything—even metal! To search for squirrel damage, you will need to look for damage to shingles, eaves, fascia boards, and outer panels both along the ground and the roofline. While mice generally leave holes, and raccoons use larger holes, squirrels sneak through very small spaces and holes that sometimes aren’t even recognized as damage. Extra careful inspection is important.
Squirrels love attics and this is the most common location for a squirrel infestation. They seem to enjoy making themselves at home particularly where the insulation is readily available for chewing and shredding. When squirrels tear up your insulation and shred it into tiny pieces, the insulation will lose its effectiveness. Squirrels also enjoy shredding ductwork. Inspect your attic regularly. If your roof becomes leaky, or you see evidence of bats or other pests, be on the lookout for signs of squirrels too. One pest often invites others into the area.
Sometimes foul odors will emanate from your ducts or you may notice foul odors during an inspection of your attic. This is may be a sign you may have a squirrel problem. If a squirrel dies in you attic or elsewhere, the smell of dead squirrel will often result in headaches and nausea. Be aware that trapped squirrels will sometimes die in the walls, having fallen through gaps in the attic. Sometimes, a repair on a damaged area is done without knowing there is an animal to remove and the squirrel or squirrels become trapped and die then.
Chewed or ripped up shingles
It doesn’t take a squirrel much time to gain entry to your home. A squirrel can even chew through weaker forms of steel in less than an hour. They are very determined creatures. Since the roof is the most common entry point, look for shingle damage around roof vents, plumbing vents, and chimney flashing. The shingle damage will be more obvious than other entry points.
Squirrel footprint trails
Footprints from squirrels are pretty easy to distinguish. Squirrels have four fingers on their front paws. These fingers are shorter than the five fingers of their hind paws. Looks for tracks in the dirt or snow in areas such as your deck, garage, attic, and garden. If you see tracks, be sure to look for signs of entry around your house and particularly on your roof.
“Water damaged” ceilings and walls
In some homes, particularly larger ones, a family of squirrels can take up residence for years and not be noticed or heard. Years of life in your attic will create a build-up of feces and urine that can look like ceiling leaks or leaks at the tops of walls. Such damage can be incredibly costly, because not only will the damage to the wood and insulation need to be repaired, but also the area will need to be decontaminated and cleaned properly. Clean-up following a long-term infestation of squirrels can be a big and expensive process.
If you experience a flea infestation, it is possible the squirrels brought them to you. This would be another reason to perform a thorough inspection to be sure that more than one pest hasn’t made its way into your house. It is important to note, that squirrels can carry a number of diseases that pose health risks to humans. They can carry tick fever, encephalitis, and rabies in addition to harboring fleas and ticks.
What should you do if you have squirrels in your home?
Because squirrels can carry disease or be rabid, we recommend professional removal. We also recommend using profession services, such as our own Animal Removal of Denver, because a nest of babies can be difficult to locate and you want the removal to be complete and accomplished safely. If a nest of offspring is left behind, you may end up with an additional odor problem or a new squirrel problem in the future. Additionally, a professional can alert you to issues you may overlook as well as help you with prevention.
If you suspect you have squirrels, do a thorough inspection and look for other hints that you may have a problem. You can also contact us at Animal Removal of Denver. We can answer the question: are you sharing your home with squirrels? If you do have squirrels taking up residence in your home, we can make sure they are removed completely and safely. We can also help you ensure that they do not return in the future.
May 9, 2017
How to Deal with Raccoons in Spring and Summer
Animal Removal of Denver 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?
Our 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.
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.
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
- 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.
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
Animal 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.