Category Archives for "Animals"

How To Get Rid Of Voles

Similar looking to mice, Voles are extremely tiny at three to six inches long with small ears and eyes and are typically brown or gray in color. Despite their cute appearance they can be rather destructive by digging holes throughout your lawn and damaging the growth of all the plantation in the landscaping. Here are some of the methods to get rid of voles and if you don’t have them you want to take preventive measures to keep them away.

Often referred to as field mice, Voles typically create small tunnels of two inches wide called runways and they can create pathways or a definitive route in your grassy area damaging much of the strands flattened to the ground and eventually it will turn brown and die off. They tend to grow rather quickly in numbers and can become an infestation in the areas they find plenty of food.

Identifying Signs of Voles

Identify the holes that are not very visible. They are extremely small. Moles create mounds where voles do not. They burrow in your shrubbery and roots of trees and other plats. Voles can prevent your grass and plants from growing as they burrow within the soil and roots and they gnaw at three trunks and the base of large shrubbery.

If you have a lot of property and beautiful landscaping you will definitely want to take precautions to avoid voles from infesting in your area. With abundant vegetation, these little creatures will hibernate and built their nests. Keep your lawn mowed at all times and avoid having ground covering plantation with such plants as creeping junipers. Keep plants that don’t allow these pests to indulge on what is around with above ground plants rather than those that grow like vines.  Avoid putting mulch around your grass and at the base of trees and bushes. This will help prevent voles from coming around as they are so small they can be overlooked in the beginning.

Humanely remove these animals with live traps by strategically placing them around the areas you notice the most damage. You can use vole repellents such as zine phosphide based products such as ZP Gopher Bait. This can be harmful to them and kill them so you may want to use something that will deter them from coming around or make them leave such as predator odors. You can actually purchase coyote or fox urine at your local trapper supply store. Spread this in areas of your damaged areas or at the base of shrubbery and trees to help get rid of the voles. You may notice vole urine and feces in various areas or you may think they are rat feces as they can look the same. With the store-bought urine, this will make the voles want to disappear and find another area to infest.

What Attracts Voles?

If you have any fruit trees then remove the fruit from the branches when they are ripe or remove them quickly from the ground before the voles begin to eat them. Keep trees trimmed from broken or falling needles or leaves. This will help remove keeping the area a comfortable home for the voles.

You can use a wire mesh garden fence that can wrap around the base of any young trees or bushes that you are trying to grow in your front or back yard. These fences will help prevent the voles from gnawing on the barks of the plants. You can place additional fences around your yard, garden, and lawn to help prevent them from feeding on the roots, bark, and branches.

In many cases, people turn to exterminators or rat traps that will inevitably kill these creatures. It’s not necessary if you take the steps to keep them away to begin with and you can still do it humanely with the spreading of predator urine in areas that they typically go to. They will fear for their life and leave.

Other alternatives to keep voles from finding your soil the best place for them to infest is to cultivate your soil and use soil perfector mixed within your soil with 10 percent of course gravel that will make it difficult for the animals to dig through. It may frustrate them enough to make them decide to go somewhere else.

As mentioned, voles can infest your area rather quickly. They breed and produce four to six litters a year. There are three to six voles in each litter. This means that there can be an additional 36 voles growing in your yard in a years time. They typically colonize and stay within the same area and continue to reproduce. Baby voles are able to reproduce within weeks as they are then considered adults. Therefore, modify their habitat by removing any dead plants and limiting hiding areas for the voles. Keep fences around young plants. Remove the existing voles or use methods that will make them leave.

Further Reading on Voles and other Rodents:

Do Squirrels Come Out at Night? – Can They See at Night?

You have probably watched the movie, “Ice Age,” where the squirrel is always trying to get a nut back to his home for feasting on later, but never seems to manage too. There are scenes where the squirrel is working hard to do this job during the day and even at nighttime. This probably leaves you wonder do squirrels in nature work hard during all hours of the day collecting nuts and nesting materials for winter as well? The answer to the question is it depends on the breed of squirrels.

What types of squirrels come out at nighttime?

The breeds of squirrels that come out after dusk are the, “Northern Flying Squirrels” and the “Southern Flying Squirrels.” There is also a tiny breed of squirrels known as Sugar Gliders that are nocturnal as well and you can find them up playing underneath the starry skies of the Amazon Forest. Other than that, all other squirrels sleep during the night, and work hard and play underneath the warm sunny skies of the day. However, there are a few exceptions.

What are the few exceptions?

Some squirrels such as grey squirrels are attracted to warmth and light. If these squirrels have warmth and light at nighttime, they will come out and explore. This is especially true if you have squirrels living within the walls of your home or inside your garage or attic. One sure way of keeping these creatures away from attics, garages, crawlspaces and from building inside the walls of your home is by sealing off any cracks or craves that are visible. Making sure cracked windows and doors are replaced and fixed as well can keep the squirrels out of your home and sleeping fast away in a hollow tree or burrow beneath the ground where they belong during the nighttime hours.

Reasons non-flying squirrels might be out at night

If you see squirrels exploring the nighttime, it is most likely a flying squirrel breed. However, if you do catch other breeds exploring the nighttime it is mainly because there is some warmth or light or both attracting them. Sometimes even warmer temperatures can awaken squirrels from their nighttime slumber and cause them to want to go out and forage for food, water, and nesting materials. It all depends upon the atmosphere, and what the squirrels are feeling from their surroundings. Otherwise, the only time you will see squirrels out playing, hunting for food, drinking water, and building homes is during the day where they can see all that is upon the earth.

Additional Nocturnal Squirrel Resources

  1. Flying squirrels’ flight evolved at night – Daily Collegian by Penn State
  2. Tree Squirrels – Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management
  3. Hairless Squirrels? – Purdue University
  4. Tree Squirrels by Kansas State Extension of Wildlife Managment

 

Do Armadillos Bite People or Pets? Do They Carry Diseases?

The armadillo looks incredibly clumsy carrying around that protective shield of armor. The truth is they are quite the athletic animal. They are creative runners, swimmers, and diggers. When underwater they can hold their breath approximately six minutes and with their pig-like snout and long tongue they can dig their food from the ground. The armadillo cannot see well but does have a very good sense of smell. They are about the size of an opossum and weigh about 17 pounds. What most people wonder when they see this clumsy animal enter their area is, “Do armadillos bite?” Is there a concern or risk for having them on or around your property?

Do armadillos bite?

The armadillo will not bite people. Their mouths are very small with peg-like teeth. The worry about their possible bites may come from the fact that they carry the human form of leprosy. You will see them move about quite quickly in what resembles a hopping fashion, but they have not been known to chase people in pursuit of biting them.

The armadillo is a simple animal and among the least intelligent. They do not provide a lot of benefits for the environment but also do not inflict any harm in the wild. The problem with the armadillo is when they enter our properties and begin their continuous digging for food.

What habitat does the armadillo look for?

Armadillos prefer shady, dense cover of brush, woodlands or forests with easy access to water. The mostly dig for their food so prefer areas where the soil is sandy or loose. They will burrow into rock and brush piles and old tree stumps. When they enter your property they will look for places that resemble their native habitat. They will choose to burrow under your shed, house, porch or deck and will also look for your woodpile or crawl space under your house. They have sharp, strong claws and legs and will use any hole in your foundation to get under your house.

How living with an armadillo can affect you

Signs you may be sharing your property with an armadillo will be digging sites in your garden or flower beds and even random patches of your lawn. They will cause a lot of damage with their digging and it is often unrepairable.

If they have moved in under your house, their damage could cost you a lot of money. They are also a noisy animal which will certainly annoy you. With their armor-like shell, they will rub up against your house which will be loud enough to wake you and when they eat they produce a grunting sound much like the pig. If the armadillo feels threatened it will scream or squeal which is exceptionally loud.

Another problem that exists with armadillos living under your home is the stench that will occur should it die under there. When they dig to get under your home they often fall into an area under your foundation. Since they are not climbers, they will end up dying in this space. The smell will enter your home and cause headaches and nausea to your entire family. Even when alive the armadillo emits an odor that can seep into your home. These are not animals you want to share your living space with, in fact, some areas require by law that you remove any armadillo infestation prior to selling your home.

The armadillo is also associated with several diseases:

Leprosy

The link between the armadillo and leprosy has not been heavily tested, but it is a risk associated with them. Louisiana did a study on their population and found 53% had leprosy. The armadillo is the only animal that transmits leprosy and it is done by attacking with its claws.

Rabies

The armadillo can also carry rabies. This is a virus that can kill any mammal including humans. Since the armadillo is not known to bite it is not as likely to transmit this disease as a raccoon or skunk would.

Tapeworms

These are parasites infecting the digestive system and can be transmitted to humans.

Salmonella

The armadillo can also transmit salmonella which is a serious health risk to humans.

How to remove the armadillo from your property

With all the disturbing problems armadillos present when living on your property; it is best not to take matters into your own hands to remove them. You could put yourself and your family at risk of damage, distress, and disease. When you come into contact with their fecal matter or their claws you could contract a serious disease.

Removal of armadillos should be left to professionals because it is very difficult for an amateur to safely get rid of them.  However, if you decide that you really want to try your hand at armadillo relocation by yourself, I would recommend using a trap like this one…

Try placing Armadillo bait in the trap without setting it for about a week.  This will get the Armadillo accustomed to eating from inside the trap and make them less skittish.  After about a week of keeping the Armadillo well fed, you will want to put on some gloves to mask your scent and place food in the trap and set it.  What should happen if you are lucky, is that the Armadillo will go about its routine in walking into the trap to find food.  The Armadillo being used to getting food inside your trap with no ill consequences, this time should set off the trap if you kept your scent from interfering, and then you will have caught an Armadillo which you can safely relocate far away from your house.  Please share any more tips you have for Armadillo removal or prevention in the comment section below and Best of Luck to you!

Additional Armadillo Bite Resources:

When do Skunks Come Out? Day or Night?

Nocturnal creatures that love adventuring into the night for a good feast and drink of water are skunks. Coming across one of these furry mammals is enough to make anyone want to jump or runny away as fast as they can, but doing so could actually startle these beings enough to spray you, or the family pet with their horrifyingly disgusting liquid odor spray that will leave you wishing you never came across this being to begin with.

Thankfully, remedies such as tomato juice, baking soda, lavender essential oil and vinegar can help make skunk odor go away. Sometimes even dish soaps such as dawn or ivory work wonders for removing skunk odors too.

However, the only way to avoid these cat-like creatures with long fluffy black and white striped tails and bodies is to learn when these animals love adventuring out of their homes.

What exactly are skunks?

Skunks are mammals that are typically brown and black in color, but some can be brown and white or even strictly white in appearance. The animals can weight between a pound to eighteen pounds and range anywhere between fifteen to forty inches long. Skunks also have elongated bodies with short stubby legs and feet that have long sharp claws for digging.

What do skunks love to eat?

One of the ways to avoid skunks is to keep what they love to eat away from your home. This is why knowing what skunks love snacking on for a meal and keeping your garbage bags stored away inside sealed garbage containers. If skunks have access to any kind of garbage, bag or trash can with food inside of it that is ease to access you can guarantee they will be dining on your trash until their tummies are full. Some of the food that is pleasing to skunks is mainly:

How do skunks behave?

Skunks are usually passive creatures, which is why some people have them as pets. With that said, when skunks are in the wild they are typically solitary animals that will spray and make noises at you or other creatures if they feel threatened in anyway such as getting to close to their dens within the ground or their babies. It is very rare that you see these creatures charging at you when you disturb them because their vision is extremely poor. Therefore, if you come across a skunk it is wise to backup slowly and walk away. This will decrease your chances of becoming sprayed by one, or even bit by one, which by the way is extremely rare. If you are ever bitten by a skunk, it is wise to visit an emergency clinic right away for treatment since some skunks do carry diseases such as rabies.

How to Avoid Skunks?

If you ever want to avoid skunks, you do this by staying indoors at nighttime and away from areas they love, building borrows such as fields and woodland areas. Skunks, as you know, are nocturnal animals, which means nighttime is the only time they come out to hunt, eat, drink and build their homes in the ground. Skunks are around more often in early spring too when mating season begins.

Once a female skunk becomes pregnant, skunk kits are born in litters of four to seven about two months later. While the kits are young they mainly stay in dens with their mothers for the first several months, but a year later will leave their dens and begin exploring again in typically the same areas the mothers being exploring.

You typically see less of these creatures in the fall and winter because these animals stay inside their dens where it is warm and cozy until spring arrives again. However, they can come out of their dens earlier depending on the weather outside and their food supply.

When Do Squirrels Have Babies & Typical Squirrel Nesting Behavior

What exactly are squirrels?

Medium size rodents you find climbing up trees, picking acorns up off the lawn, snacking on bird seeds from feeders and chasing each other around from time to time are Squirrels. You can find these creatures in most parts of the world, but mainly in North and South America, Eurasia and Africa. Their family includes all variety of creatures such as:

What do squirrels eat?

Squirrels have a diet that consist of lots of nuts, seeds, fruits such as berries, and mushrooms, insects, larva and green vegetation. Some will even go as far as eating small birds and snake eggs when they are starving and have nothing else to eat since these foods are rich in protein. When these furry tree dwelling rodents cannot get enough to eat in the wild they will snack on birdseeds and berries bushes in gardens.

When do squirrels breed?

Breeding season occurs each year between the months of February and April and between August and September. After the mother is done with her male mate she will drive him from the nest using aggressive behavior. Each litter a mother squirrel has contains two to five young babies. Once the babies are born in a snuggly warm nest made from leaves the mother makes inside a hollow tree, borrows beneath the ground or even in people’s attics and walls when no other place in their surroundings feels suitable to them, the mother nurtures the babies until they are twelve weeks old. This is because when baby squirrels are born they are born naked without fur and cannot fend for themselves. It takes weeks to grow a warm coat of fur, climb trees, hunt for food and defend themselves from harm.

Are squirrels nocturnal animals? 

No, squirrels are not nocturnal. In fact, squirrels sleep during the night in their cozy nests and wake up in the early morning as sun as the sun comes up, but they go in for a rest until mid afternoon. When mid afternoon arrives the squirrels are back up and doing whatever it is they need to do to survive such as build new nest, hunt for food,  and eat and drink water.

Some people believe squirrels are nocturnal because sometimes they can hear these creatures in their wall at nighttime running around. This is only because these creatures are building a nest before winter hits and gathering food. If you feel you have a squirrel infestation in the walls of your home, call in rodent control to help you safely and carefully remove these passive creatures out of it. While these creatures mean no harm to you, they can do damage to your home by chewing away at structural beams, electrical wires and plastic plumbing pipes. Leaving these creatures inside the walls of your home or attics can cause electrical fires that can burn down and entire house in minutes or cause water damage that leaves you rebuilding and redoing the inside of your home.

What to do if you find baby squirrels?

If you find a squirrels nest without a mother and live babies still inside of it, it is best to leave it be and call in Fish and Game services, or a wild life rescue service to come handle the matter properly. If you find a baby squirrel that has fallen out of the nest, the best thing you can do is carefully place it back into the nest. However, if the baby squirrel doesn’t have any other siblings or mother left in the nest some people have been known to nurse them until they are adults and keep them as pets. Although, keeping squirrels as pets is probably not the best options. After all, all creatures that come from the wild as rescues should be return back into it once they become healthy again.