Foxes in Pennsylvania

Foxes are very intelligent predators with sharp senses. They can hear a mouse squeal up to 150 feet away! They’re usually known for their nighttime barking in the winter and large bushy tails. Furthermore, males are referred to as “dog” foxes, and females are known as “vixens”. 

What do they look like?

There are two types of foxes found in Pennsylvania; the red and gray fox. Red foxes have a vibrant red coat and a thick bushy tail with a white tip. Gray foxes have a speckled coat and a black tail tip. Both types are typically 2 feet long, with gray foxes being slightly larger than red. 

What do they eat? 

They are carnivores and will essentially eat any game that’s easily obtained. This usually includes field mice, rats, rabbits, groundhogs, opossums, cats, chickens, squirrels, insects, gamebirds, bird eggs, fruits, and grasses. 

They will also scavenge for food including roadkill and winter kills. Additionally, foxes are frequent visitors to the wild game or free-range farm operations. 

What do they do?

Foxes are usually nocturnal animals aside from summertime when they hunt full-time to provide for their young. They’re usually found in open meadows, small woodlots, and around the edges of fences and neighborhoods. 

They make their den sites in abandoned groundhog holes, rock piles, under concrete slabs, sheds, and decks. The entry point for their den is about the size of a basketball and animal bones are usually found nearby. 

Although foxes prey on other animals, they should not be considered a threat as long as they look healthy and usually react to external stimuli like human activity. 

Typical signs of their presence include missing animals, fences, sheds, or decks dug under. 

What diseases do they carry? 

Foxes can be infected and carry rabies so if a fox is not reacting appropriately to human presence, they should be perceived as a threat. Additionally, foxes carry mange, a skin burrowing mite, lose their hair, and exhibit obsessive scratching. Mange can be passed onto other foxes as well as domestic dogs.

Fox Removal

Currently, we do not offer fox removal as one of our services but we may be able to recommend another animal technician that does! Give us a call or contact us for more information about a fox removal referral.

Ticks in Pennsylvania

Checking for ticks is expected during the warmer months in Central PA. Many people know that pets like dogs and animals can carry ticks, but other nuisance animals can too! If these animals gain access to your home, they could also bring ticks inside.

Ticks in Pennsylvania

Ticks are often found in wooded or grassy areas, if your property has or is close to a wooded area your home may be more susceptible to animals with ticks.

Back-Legged Ticks and Lyme Disease

There are various types of ticks in Pennsylvania, but back-legged ticks are the most concerning. They can be infected with Lyme disease and pass it on to their hosts. This typically causes symptoms like fever, headache, fatigue, and a skin rash in adults. If diagnosed early, Lyme disease is treatable.

Back-legged ticks do not fly or jump, they crawl onto people and animals from the ground or low vegetation.

What nuisance animals carry ticks?

We do not offer pest control for ticks but do offer removal of animals that are potential hosts. Penn State offers great advice for reducing ticks around your home. However, we deal with many animals that can carry ticks.

Ticks live on a variety of animals including deer, rabbits, opossums, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, rats, mice, and birds. Ticks can also be found on dogs and cats.

Opossums: The Special Exception

Opossums kill about 90% of ticks that try to attach to their bodies. Although they eat most of them, ticks can still attach to them. Luckily, opossums have great immune systems and can easily fight off Lyme disease!

Animals That Can Be Infected by Lyme

Raccoons, chipmunks, rats, mice, birds, and squirrels can all be infected by Lyme disease. Symptoms are rarely noticeable in these animals, so we always recommend that removal is handled by a wildlife professional.

If you believe your pet has contracted Lyme, noticeable symptoms include lameness, fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite. However, many cats do not show symptoms when infected.

Animals in your Home

Aside from the usual damage nuisance animals create, there’s a chance they could bring infected ticks into your home. Physical removal of the animal is our first priority, we can then assess how to seal the home from other animals entering in the future.

Animals in Gardens

Rabbit eating lettuce

If you tend to a garden, you most likely aren’t a stranger to animals in gardens. You may be wondering, how is it possible to keep them from eating your food?

Depending on the animal, there are a few different methods you can try independently or can be employed by an animal removal technician.

Always identify what animals you’re dealing with first to utilize the best methods.

Prevention Methods for Animals in Gardens

Physical Removal

With animals that we can trap, we always recommend physical removal of the animal first and foremost. Once the animal is relocated, we implement a prevention method for other animals in the future. As gardens are very attractive to many animals, we highly recommend preventative measures in place. Once you have an issue with animals, it is likely they will return.

Chili Powder

There are two main categories dealing with animal invasions; above ground and below ground. Above ground, an easy defense mechanism is applying chili powder to your plant’s leaves and produce. Most animals will be deterred from returning. This process may need to be repeated depending on weather conditions but can serve as a temporary fix.

This can be effective for animals that love to climb over fences like squirrels, raccoons, or opossums. It is also a natural alternative to sprays or other repellents which are rather ineffective and can be harmful to plants. Just make sure to wash your foods well before consuming them to avoid the extra spice!

Fencing

Fences can be somewhat effective depending on the type of animal you have. For fencing, we recommend installing fences that extend below the surface of your garden. This prevents animals like groundhogs, moles, skunks, and rabbits from having access to your garden.

Groundhogs are primarily herbivores, and gardens are the perfect place for them to munch! They burrow underground, a telltale sign we see with groundhogs is multiple holes in your yard.

In addition to groundhogs, moles also spend a lot of their time underground. While they won’t directly eat your plants, their tunneling uproots plants and destroys root systems. A fence that is made up of a heavy gauge wire and extends below the ground would be the best solution for these two animals.

Visual Deterrent for Birds

While we’re unable to trap birds and fences do not offer protection from birds, visual deterrents that do not affect your plants can be effective. Sprays and other repellents are often ineffective when dealing with birds.

With almost any issue you’re having with animals in your garden, we can help. Give us a call or contact us for animals in gardens!

 

 

Animals in Chimneys

Open Chimney Flues

In a previous blog, we wrote about chimney caps which provide a variety of benefits from keeping unwanted animals out to house fire prevention. We’ll go over different types of chimneys and how animals exploit them. 

About Chimneys

We always recommend open and unused chimneys should be closed with a cap to prevent energy loss and unwanted animal tenants. Often, most older homes had water heaters and furnaces, stoves, or fireplaces that were vented through chimneys. Newer homes that include furnaces and water heaters often ventilate through updated methods. With over 15 years of experience in animal removal and repair, we can easily inspect and identify the best solutions.

Animals in Chimneys

Often, they will enter chimneys and find damage inside due to age or weather issues. Common animals that exploit chimneys include raccoons, squirrels, bats, and birds. From the chimney, they can find a way into walls or attics through missing spots of brick and mortar. Homes and chimneys built with stone are optimal opportunities for critters that love to climb. 

Older chimneys often allow critters to easily crawl in and out, which permits them to make your home, their home! Additionally, we have had quite a few customers that have had animals climb in their chimneys and enter their living spaces. In these cases, animals are able to crawl down but unable to crawl back up. 

Chimneys with Dampers

In some other cases, chimneys with dampers also provide access. Some designs of chimneys include a damper which more often than not, can get stuck.

A few years ago, a homeowner experienced this issue and ended up with two squirrels in their living room within a week. After we removed the second squirrel, we recommended the installation of a stainless steel chimney cap to prevent any other animals from entering their chimney.

The Bottom Line

Our stainless chimney caps include a lifetime warranty and include a variety of benefits, keeping animals out first and foremost. If there is more serious damage, we can recommend a consultation with a chimney company for repair.

Give us a call or contact us to identify the best solution for your chimney!

Types of Bats in Pennsylvania

Bat Hanging From Tree

There are a few different types of bats in Pennsylvania; if you see a bat it is most likely a little brown bat or big brown bat. Bats are protected and heavily control bug populations near their roosting sites.

Bats are also common carriers of rabies, and great care must be taken throughout the removal and repair process.

About Little Brown Bats

Little Brown Bats are the most common bats in PA. Their fur is golden, red, or olive-brown featuring a darker face while their feet and wing membranes are black.

They prefer to create their nests, or roosts, in buildings, trees, woodpiles, caves, or manmade structures.

However, their populations are dwindling due to white-nose syndrome. White-nose syndrome is a fungus that attacks bats during hibernation periods. The disease is fatal for bats but it does not affect humans.

About Big Brown Bats

Big brown bags have brown glossy fur. Their wing membranes, face, and feet are dark brown to black. They are much larger than little brown bats, their wingspan stretches up to 13 inches!

Big brown bats can migrate hundreds of miles, and their larger size allows them to hibernate in lower temperatures compared to other Northern American bat species.

Big brown bats hibernate in similar conditions as the little brown bats.

Hibernation

Bats enter torpor, or hibernation when their body temperature is able to drop to near freezing. A bat’s heart rate drops from 200-300 beats per minute to 10 beats per minute. Moreover, they can even go for a few minutes without taking a breath.

In torpor, bats’ energy consumption is reduced by 98%; this allows them to remain in torpor for a few hours or even up to a month in winter. If bats wake up or are disturbed often, they burn through the fat they have stored for the winter before springtime.

Bat Removal

With new developments and construction, bats may be forced out of their homes. However, they reintegrate themselves back into the new environment, making your home their new home.

Additionally, the most common signs of bags in your home are chirping or rustling sounds. As nocturnal animals, these noises likely occur in the evening, late at night, or early in the morning. They also leave grease-stained appearances on components near their entry points.

As mentioned before, bats are protected and there are restrictions with the timing of removal. Depending on what season it is, we can place one-way doors along with sealing secondary entry points, which ensures bats can leave, but not return.

During the summer, we cannot place one-way doors until the young are large enough to fly if a maternal colony is present. We can seal secondary entry points, but primary entry points must remain open.

Repair and Remediation

In addition to sealing entry points, we also offer other methods of exclusion. Chimney caps, custom screening, and vent covers are all preventative services we offer for bats and other animals.

We also offer cleanup of bat droppings (guano). Guano is hazardous due to the potential presence of histoplasmosis, we use HEPA filtered vacuums and PPE to prevent transmission.

Give us a call or use our contact form for the removal and repair of different types of bats in Pennsylvania!