Are You Sharing Your Home with Squirrels?

Are You Sharing Your Home with SquirrelsAre 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.

Squirrel droppings

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.

Attic damage

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.

Foul odors

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.

Fleas

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

How Raccoons Prepare for Winter

How Raccoons Prepare for WinterYou may think raccoons are just cute and harmless with their black masks, little black noses, and bushy tails. Don’t let them fool you! They are fierce, curious, and highly intelligent. When a raccoon takes up residence in your home, it’s not good for you or them, but that may be how raccoons prepare for winter. That’s where we come in. Our experts at Animal Removal of Denver can humanely remove the raccoons and send them back to their natural habitat where they belong.

According to a Burlington Free Press article, their intelligence makes raccoons good problem-solvers, which allows them to adapt to different habitats and food sources. They can live just about anywhere if there is water. They live in forest areas, wetlands, farms, and cities. They are nocturnal animals and their curiosity often gets them into trouble for raiding chicken coops, or trashcans.

Which brings us to the next point, raccoons will eat just about anything. They will eat birds, eggs, fruit, carrion, small mammals, crayfish, and sometimes the most annoying thing is they will eat human garbage, gardens, and poultry. Raccoons weigh about 15 to 35 pounds and can squeeze into small openings. Although sometimes a captive raccoon can live over 20 years, a raccoon’s life expectancy in the wild is only 1.8 to 3.1 years.

Many people think raccoon wash their food, but they’re really just using their front paws to search for, look at, and take apart their food before they eat it. Their highly-developed nerves in their front paws become even more sensitive when they’re in water.

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

The raccoon’s sensitive feet with five long digits and sharp claws can come in handy for climbing trees. Believe it or not, their modified ankle joints can turn out 180 degrees. This lets them climb down the trees frontward or backward. Raccoons are capable of swimming in streams while searching for food, and sometimes to avoid danger. They’ve been known to drown pursuers like a dog, by grabbing their head and holding it under the water.

As winter gets close raccoons eat as much as they can to build up that extra layer of fat. Unlike other animals during the winter, raccoons don’t hibernate, but they stay in dens during the coldest days and sleep, sometimes up to a month. Their extra fat and their heavy coat of coarse fur provide insulation.

They are solitary animals but they will actually den in groups during the winter. That’s how raccoons prepare for winter. 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. Raccoons have even been known to kick out other animals like skunks or foxes and take over their den.

As for that raccoon den, it can be a tree cavity, an underground burrow, or even your chimney. That’s when you call us. Our experts at Animal Removal of Denver can humanely remove the raccoons that have invaded your home and send them back to their natural habitat where they can find a den to get them through the winter.

Squirrel Care in Colorado is Harder to Find

Squirrel Care in Colorado is Harder to FindWhere do you take a squirrel if it’s injured or has been separated from its mother? It’s not easy to find a place because squirrel care in Colorado is harder to find, but the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Longmont still takes care of squirrels. And our experts at Animal Removal of Denver have been humanely rescuing squirrels that have made their homes in your home here in Denver and all over the front range of Colorado for over 28 years because we care about Colorado wildlife, including squirrels.

Colorado Public Radio explains the fall always brings an influx of squirrels to the Greenwood Center where they feed the youngest ones with a syringe despite the fact that the squirrels dig into the animal rehabber’s (an animal rehabilitation expert) skin with their long black nails. The goal of the Center’s rehabbers is to offer quality care for animals without spreading diseases to people or other wildlife.

As winter comes, there are fewer animals being brought into Greenwood Center except for squirrels. Squirrels are different from most mammals. Squirrels breed in March and again in August, so right about now, newborn squirrels sometimes fall from their nests. When they get stranded on the ground the young squirrels cry for their mothers.

When people can’t reunite the young squirrels with their mothers they often bring them to the Greenwood Center. Recently, the Greenwood Center had 141 squirrels in their care. This year was a particularly busy for the Center. They took in almost 600 more animals than the year before. Why so many more animals? The answer may be because other major rehab centers have closed on the Front Range leaving the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Longmont as the only operating rehab center between Colorado Springs and the Wyoming border that treats small mammals, songbirds, and waterfowl.

WildKind in Fort Collins closed in 2012. WildBird Rehab in Denver closed too. Recently, the Squirrel Creek Wildlife Rescue in Littleton was also shut down. Now it’s hard to find care for small animals. 

The Colorado Public Radio reports the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife declined to renew Squirrel Creek Wildlife Rescue’s license this year, saying they kept the animals too long (which many diminish their natural instincts and make them more of pets instead of wild animals and that reduces their survival rate) and didn’t release them at the correct locations.

The agency raided the facility in March of this year and removed 91 animals from the property. Twenty-three were euthanized. The rest were either released or moved.

If there aren’t enough rehab centers for animals, it may cause the animals to end up being food for another animal. Sometimes it’s people encroaching on the animal’s territories that cause them troubles and many people believe it’s our responsibility to make sure we take care of them.

Squirrel care in Colorado is harder to find, but the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Longmont is working overtime. Our humane experts at Animal Removal of Denver will help you remove animals that invade your home. We’ve been helping people and animals in Colorado for over 28 years to make sure animals are returned to their natural habitat.

Raccoon Facts

Raccoon FactsWith their bushy tails and black masks over their eyes, you may think that raccoons are adorable. And if you don’t know your raccoon facts, you may not understand that these cuddly-looking bandits are really quite aggressive. And they’re a huge nuisance when they unexpectedly moved into your home. If you have an unwanted raccoon visitor invading your home, don’t worry, there is help. Our animal experts at Animal Removal of Denver can humanely remove the raccoon.

Here are some raccoon facts from a Live Science article about the cute, but often fearsome creatures.

Where They Live

Raccoons make their homes in North America, Central America, Europe, and Japan proving they are very adaptable and can live in a wide range of habitats and climates. Their homes are dens, usually in trees or caves. Because they like cozy, closed-off locations they may also make their homes in barns abandoned vehicles and possibly your attic.

Keep in mind that although they are cute, they can be vicious if you get near them. Another warning, be careful around raccoons because they can carry rabies, roundworms, and leptospirosis. In fact, raccoons are considered one of the primary carriers of rabies.

Raccoon Basics

Raccoons are active at night and sleep during the day. They don’t hibernate but sleep more during the winter. During this time of increased sleep they live off their stored fat, losing almost 50 percent of their body weight.

Raccoons live around two to three years in the wild. They can run up to 15 mph and can fall 35 to 40 feet without being injured. Raccoons are about the size of a small dog and weigh 4 to 23 pounds. They have five toes on their front paws, which they use much like human fingers.

Some scientists believe that the raccoon’s black mask around its eyes helps deflect glare and improves night vision. Despite being disease carriers, they are actually very clean animals, even washing their food in streams and digging latrines.

What They Eat

Raccoons eat vegetation like cherries, apples, acorns, persimmons, berries, peaches, citrus fruits, plums, wild grapes, figs, watermelons, beech nuts, corn, and walnuts. They also eat meat like frogs, fish, crayfish, insects, rodents and bird eggs. If food can’t be found in their habitat, they sometimes eat roadkill or dig through people’s trash.

Raccoon Reproduction

Baby raccoons are born in the early summer and are called kits or cubs. Raccoons can have one to seven babies after a 60-73 day gestation period. These babies will be fully independent at 8 to 12 months old.

On the Endangered List

Did you know that the common raccoon has an endangered cousin? The pygmy raccoon on Cozumel Island, off the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, is a threatened species with a population of less than 955 pygmy raccoons left in the wild. 

Now that you have all the raccoon facts, you likely know that it’s best to enjoy their cuteness from afar.  And if they decide to make a den in your home, be sure to call our experts at Animal Removal of Denver. We have the expertise and equipment to remove raccoons visitors humanely so they can return to their natural habitat and you can enjoy your home pest free.

Coaxing a Squirrel Out of the Chimney

Coaxing a Squirrel Out of the ChimneyHow do you get an unwanted squirrel out of your house? The best way is to call a professional. Our animal removal experts at Animal Removal of Denver are good at coaxing a squirrel out of the chimney.

Chimneys are a favorite place for squirrels to try and make their homes. Sometimes, when they go into one, they can’t get back out. If you hear the frantic scratching and scrambling of squirrels in your chimney, they are probably trapped unless you see them climb out on their own. They may also panic and exit through your fireplace opening or your basement ducts.

The Humane Society lists several things to keep in mind when coaxing a squirrel out of the chimney.

Don’t Use Smoke or Fire

Never use smoke or fire to try and get the squirrel out of a chimney. This can be dangerous to the trapped animals and their babies.

Make Loud Noises

If the squirrel ends up in your fireplace, hopefully behind the glass or screen, try to make loud noises to scare the squirrel back up above the damper.

If that works, close the damper. Now you can use a rope to allow the squirrel to escape.

Offer a Rope as an Escape Route

Hang a three-quarter-inch or thicker rope down your chimney so the squirrel can use it to escape. Tie the rope to the top of the chimney and give it enough length so that it can reach the damper or smoke shelf. Make sure whatever you use, you can pull it up when you are done.

Hopefully, the squirrel will use the rope to climb up and out of the chimney within a few hours during the day.

Once you’re sure the squirrel has safely escaped the chimney, then go ahead and remove the rope. Cover the chimney with a commercially made cap.

This can be dangerous, so be careful as you climb the roof to reach your chimney. If you’re not big on heights, have a steep roof pitch or simply don’t feel like dealing with pesky squirrels on your own, you can always call in a professional to help you out.  

How to Catch and Release

If noise doesn’t motivate the squirrel to leave the fireplace, then you will need to use a live trap, which can typically found online (e.g. Ace or Home Depot) or perhaps at a nearby feed store. Again, you may need a professional at this point.

First, close all the interior doors in the room and open either an outside door or window, including any screens. Choose a door or window that can be seen from the fireplace. If the squirrel gets out, you won’t want to chase it. The open door or window is the squirrel’s exit.

Next steps:

  1. Bait a humane live trap with peanut butter and carefully open the fireplace. Most squirrels will be scared and retreat to a back corner of the fireplace when you open the fireplace screen. It may also make a run for it, so brace yourself for that possibility, too.
  1. Slowly place the live trap inside the fireplace and quietly shut the doors.
  1. Leave the room to let the squirrel enter the trap.
  1. Once the squirrel is in the trap, very carefully take it outside. Stand behind the trap and open it. The squirrel will usually run out right away. If it doesn’t, pull the door open and secure it with a zip tie. Stand back away from the trap and let the squirrel leave when it’s ready.

Cap the Chimney

Most squirrels are trapped in your chimney by accident, so they probably won’t return. A professional can help you put a cap on the top of the chimney to prevent any future squirrel or other animal visits. A professional will know about building codes and venting considerations for the cap.

Professional Animal Removal

Getting rid of invading squirrels can be scary and sometimes dangerous. It’s best to hire someone who knows what they are doing. They can protect the animals and your family from harm.

Don’t Relocate the Squirrels

Some people think you can trap the squirrels and then take them to some other location to live. Most squirrels won’t survive the move and more than likely another squirrel will take its place in your yard.

Diseases

Squirrels have diseases like rabies but it is rare for a person to get rabies from a squirrel. Squirrels can carry pathogens like salmonella but it usually does not transmit to people.

Squirrels in your chimney can be a real hassle. For the squirrel’s safety and your own, you should always call a professional. Our experts at Animal Removal of Denver are versed at coaxing a squirrel out of the chimney. We have the experience, equipment and training to do it without harming the squirrels and we can help prevent them from returning. If you’ve got a rustle in your chimney, call or contact us today.