Although rodents are often considered the most common wintertime pest, nuisance wildlife like raccoons and squirrels can also frequently invade homes during the colder months.
Wild animals are more apt to wander closer to human environments this time of year as they search for shelter from the winter elements. While they may seem cute and cuddly from afar, nuisance wildlife pose a unique set of health and property threats, especially if they find a way inside our homes.
Some of the most common wild animals that may try to gain access to homes in the coming months.
- Bats – There are about 40 different bat species found in the Unites States, most of which are active during the warmer months and hibernate for the winter season. Bats commonly roost in attics, belfries and behind shutters or loose boards. Like other nuisance wildlife, bats can carry rabies and spread disease.
- Opossums – The opossum is the only marsupial found in North America. Opossums occasionally den in attics and garages where they may make a messy nest. They are also known to bare their sharp teeth and hiss when threatened, and in rare cases may bite.
- Raccoons – Raccoons are rarely seen during the day due to their nocturnal habits. They can cause significant damage to roofs and chimneys while searching for places to build their dens in preparation for the winter months. Raccoons are one of the major hosts of rabies in the United States.
- Squirrels – During the colder months, squirrels are known for invading homes in search of a place to keep warm. Fortunately, squirrels rarely pose a threat to homeowners, but they can damage electrical wires and telephone lines outdoors.
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) encourages homeowners to try a few of these wildlife prevention tips to keep nuisances away from your home.
- Keep trash in fully sealed containers
- Cut back tree limbs from the roofline
- Be proactive in fencing off openings to the home
- To prevent wildlife from accessing properties
Anyone who encounters a wild animal on their property should contact a pest professional for assistance, instead of trying to trap it on their own.