Category Archives for "Animals"

Armadillo Repellent & Deterrent Reviews – Ultrasonic, Liquid & DIY Remedies

They burrow, they dig through your garden, they get into spoiled fruit in the compost pile and spoiled meat from the trash can. Armadillos are a menace when you are attempting to keep a neat and orderly yard. You can try to deter them by removing potential food sources, keeping garbage sealed up tight and keeping the vegetable garden fenced in. But the truth is armadillos can turn out to be a stubborn problem once the appear on your property.

There is a whole host of armadillo repellent products sold commercially. These formulas feature a number of ingredients, but there are four main categories of armadillo repellents: castor oil, naphthalene, castor oil, and coyote urine. There are also lines of sound machines made to make noises armadillos supposedly hate. If you are in an area where armadillos show up in your backyard, chances are your local home and garden supplier carries these armadillo deterrents.

Castor Oil and Naphthalene (Moth Ball) Repellent

Castor oil repellents are designed to slowly release their formula into the ground whenever wet. They are often combined with ingredients like hot pepper, are labeled organic, and work by tainting the armadillo’s food supply with an unwanted odor and taste. They are supposed to be safe for use around people and animals, though it is worth noting castor oil is harmful to children and pets if ingested in significant enough quantities. The University of Florida Extension program warns against using such products, considering them more harmful to the overall ecosystem of your property than helpful for getting rid of armadillos.

Armadillos are said to hate the smell of naphthalene, the camphor-like chemical that gives mothballs their distinctive odor. Naphthalene is used to ward off armadillos in a few ways. The simplest method is placing mothballs in strategic location around your yard or home; you might surround your garden with mothballs to keep the armadillo from digging for bugs in it and uprooting your plants. This results in mushy mothballs left all over your property, however, and many people report it doesn’t work as much of a deterrent.

There are also products made with naphthalene in them that you can sprinkle in your lawn to keep armadillos away. They are supposed to slowly release the smell of mothballs and even soak down to the deeper levels where an armadillo digs for food. They are eventually so put out by the bad smell, the armadillo eventually stops digging in your yard.

Coyote Urine Sprinkles and Sound Machines

This may be the most “organic” of the armadillo repellent categories. Coming in either a liquid or solid form, coyote urine or the urine of another armadillo predator can be used in the same manner as the other repellents mentioned here. While these products are reportedly helpful for other animals, like deer, they seem to work unpredictably in the case of armadillos.

Another gamble are the sound machines made to scare away armadillos and similar backyard pests. They are supposed to create a high-pitched noise armadillos don’t like. True to their product descriptions, these sound machines do not seem to bother the people who install them. Unfortunately, many report no changes in armadillo activity on their property with these devices installed.

Alternatives to Armadillo Repellent

The above products have their potential uses, but there is a downside to using each of these solutions to your armadillo problem:

  • Despite the “organic” label on these products, castor oil and naphthalene can toxify the soil, plants, and animals in the areas where they are applied
  • Coyote urine isn’t toxic but is not necessarily useful for armadillos; same goes for fox urine and other predator-based products
  • Sound machines are expensive and receive lots of negative consumer reviews even when they are used in large numbers
  • You can only use repellent to fence off an area from armadillos– it does not expel them from the area

Your surest bet for keeping armadillos away from your property is capture and removal. The process of catching and releasing an armadillo is not easy but is simple enough many homeowners choose to complete the task themselves. Alternatively, you can hire a pest control expert to trap the armadillo for you and then take it away.

Trapping requires an extra large trap, bait the armadillo finds appealing, knowledge of your local laws concerning armadillo removal, and a chosen location for release. There are various methods for making your trapping attempts more successful. You can read up on how to bait, trap, and remove armadillos on a site like Florida Wildlife Control. Contact your local extension office for more information on armadillo-related laws and trapping advice for your particular area.

Repellent might serve as a temporary solution for your armadillo invasion, but consider it only the first line of defense. Using it might buy you a little time by keeping your yard free of holes long enough for you to devise a plan that will keep armadillos away from your home and garden for good. Then, once your property is armadillo-free, the above repellents might be a useful method for keeping the next neighborhood armadillo from moving in or making your yard their favorite feeding ground.

Bat Repellents – Effective Home Deterrent Solutions

You may have a fear of a bat flying through the air and suddenly swooping at you to grab a taste of your blood, but bats are mammals that have a diet that consists of seventy-percent insects which makes bats an excellent natural repellent to have in your back yard during mosquito season. Bats diet consist of fruits and nectar from plants as well and due to their carnivorous nature, these small blood-sucking mammals love dining on birds, frogs, lizards and sometimes even small cattle on farms. It is very rare for bats to dine on humans, but one of the many reasons you might want to repel them away is to prevent bat bites.

Why would you want to prevent bat bites? 

In general, bats are harmless to humans, but some can carry diseases which can spread from animals too humans and are known as zoonoses. Zoonoses are viruses and bacterial infections such as the Australian bat lascivious, Leptospirosis infection, salmonella poisoning, Histoplasmosis disease, the Hendra virus and Rabies. Most of these viral and bacterial illnesses you can contract from bats and other animals bitten by an infected bad can be treated, but some can also be fatal. The good news is the chances of being bitten by a bat are extremely low, which leads to the other reason why people may want to repel bats.

What is the other reason for people wanting to repel bats?

The other reason people want to repel bats is simply the fear of them. Some people are superstitious and believe that if bitten by a bat they will turn into a vampire, which is simply false information. You will still be human if bit and most likely just need a medical treatment from the hospital. Other people just want to repel them away from biting their cattle or away from nesting in their attics, garages, sheds, barns and chimneys.

What are some bat repellents that people claim work?

There are many ways to deter bats. Some are home remedies while other repellents are simple electronic devices. The types of repellents you can try out are listed below.  Keep in mind, some are more effective than others and that some people swear by them while others say bat repellents are ineffective:

Naphthalene Crystals: This type of repellent is actually a pesticide that you sprinkle in the areas you wish to keep the bats from, but you will need to replace the crystals every couple of weeks since they do dissolve over time and disappear.

Fiberglass: One of the best remedies for preventing bats is fiberglass. Fiberglass is irritating to bats sensitive skin, which is why it is effective for keepings bats from attics and crawlspaces in buildings and homes.

Bright Lights: Not only do vampires hate bright lights, but bats do as well. If you want to keep bats away from a particular area keep a bright light of some sort shining at all times. One of the best kinds to use is solar powered motion sensor kind that will not run up your electricity bill since it uses energy from the sun and only turns on when a bat flies at it.

High-Frequency Repellents: Just as dogs can only hear dog whistles, bats can only hear high-frequency sounds from an electronic bat-repelling device. Placing these devices around your home or the area you want to keep them from is a sure way to keep these flying mammals at a distance.

Ammonia: One of the best temporary solutions for repelling bats until you find a more effective one when you are in a pinch is ammonia. Spraying an area with ammonia that the bats are hanging out in will sure cause them to fly away to a new location since they hate the smell of it. Pouring ammonia in jars and placing those jars in areas you wish to repel the bats also works.

Peppermint Oil: Planting peppermint plants or spraying peppermint oil around a home or area you desire to repel the bats from is one of the most natural and effective remedies to use. Bats do not like the menthol aroma that comes off the peppermint because it burns and stings their skin and eyes. If you cannot find peppermint oil, other mint essential oils and plants to use are wintergreen, spearmint and chocolate mint.

Chimney Covers: If you are trying to repel bats from your chimney it is wise to consider using a chimney cover to help prevent bats from nesting inside of it when it is not in use. You can get chimney covers at home good stores or fireplace shops. Masons or chimney sweepers may also be able to help you install one too.

Fix Cracked Windows and Walls: If you have cracked windows that need replacing or walls or areas with small cracks it is wise to replace the windows and fill the small holes so bats cannot get into your home or business building and invade your space.

Are there reasons you would not want to repel bats?

If you are, one that wants to repel bats it is also important to know the reasons why it is helpful to keep them around. Bats are not only helpful for repelling insects away naturally and keeping the insect population in check, but they also help pollinate plants and keep the plants of Mother Earth Growing. Maybe instead of repelling these creatures away out of fear you can place bat houses along your property line instead. This will help keep them at a distance and give them their own space to live and be happy. You will also help encourage the repopulation of them since some types of bats are soon to be gone from this world. We need bats to keep our insect population under control and help grow plants we need for food. Bats are a huge part of our ecosystem.

What to do If a Bat Bites You?

Whatever your reason is for repelling bats the remedies and devices you just learned about should help. Remember, though, bats are unlikely to bite you or harm you. Bats are here on the planet to do more good than harm so encouraging their population is a good thing, but if you are absolutely terrified of these flying creatures with wings, fang-like teeth for eating fruits and insects and tiny furry bodies than by all means repel away. If you do become bitten by a bat, which again is extremely unlikely, you do need to visit a hospital right away for proper treatment since some do carry deadly diseases.

Further Information About Bat Repellents:

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: