Busting Raccoon Myths

Have You Heard of These 3 Top Myths about Raccoons?

  1. Raccoons Only Carry Rabies

While raccoons are a primary reservoir for rabies, they also carry many other diseases that can be transmitted to humans, such as raccoon roundworm and leptospirosis. Raccoon roundworms are spread via airborne eggs excreted when the raccoon defecates. Humans can inhale these eggs and become immediately infected. Leptospirosis is transmitted to humans through a raccoon’s feces and urine. Both diseases may cause life-threatening symptoms in infected humans.

  1. Raccoons Only Venture Out at Night

Like other wild animals, raccoons are opportunistic omnivores always searching for their next bite to eat. When food is plentiful during the summer, raccoons tend to forage mostly at night. During winter (raccoons do not hibernate), they will forage day and night for food. Also, they are not territorial. They will wander everywhere and anywhere to find food resources and especially like creeks and ponds.

  1. Raccoons Make Great Pets

No, they don’t. Also harboring a range of diseases, raccoons are destructive, nearly untrainable (they ARE wild animals) and notorious biters. You cannot train a raccoon not to bite humans, dogs or cats, even if the raccoon is raised by humans from birth. Also, most veterinarians have no experience treating a sick or injured raccoon. Before a vet even looks at a raccoon, the person bringing in the animal must show proof they have purchased the raccoon. It is illegal to take raccoons from the wild, and you could be fined if wildlife officers find you have taken a raccoon as a pet.

What To Do If You Encounter a Raccoon

Never approach a raccoon if you find one in your home or on your property. They will instinctively bite when scared, stressed or angry. If your property is being overrun with raccoons or you discover a raccoon family is squatting in your attic, call Critter Control at 305-258-3587 for immediate assistance with raccoon removal services.

How to Get Rid of Dead Animal Smell

It does not take long (especially in warm weather) for an animal carcass to start decomposing. Bacteria consuming soft tissues excrete foul-smelling, sulfuric gasses that cause the dead animal to swell to sometimes three times its size. Bloating further forces fluids out of the animal’s orifices, which only increases the intensity of the smell and fluid seepage.

The quickest and easiest way to get rid of dead animal smell is to dispose of the dead animal carcass. When you find dead animals outside, the smell dissipates as soon as the carcass is removed. However, getting rid of strong odor of a dead animal that is decomposing inside your home is not so easy.

Home Remedies

  • Enzyme Cleaners--solutions containing enzymes can break down and dissolve molecules responsible for harboring dead animal smells and producing stains. Enzymes are non-toxic proteins that expedite chemical reactions necessary to break down odorous substances released by an animal’s decomposing body.
  • Baking Soda--mix baking soda with water to make a paste that can be applied to areas where dead animals are decomposing. Allow the paste to dry before removing the residue.
  • Bleach–using full-strength bleach to get rid of a dead animal smell will only work on certain solid surfaces that bleach won’t damage. Bleach does kill many kinds of microorganisms but it may only cover up an odor temporarily

Downside of Using Home Remedies to Eliminate Dead Animals Smells

If a dead animal decomposes inside walls, on insulation, dry wall, fabric or porous wood, you will probably need to remove and replace the items to completely remove the smell.

Dead animals may also leave behind infectious bacteria capable of spreading diseases to you and your family. Enzymatic cleaners, baking soda and even bleach may not completely eradicate disease-causing bacteria.

Instead of wasting your time and money on home remedies, call Critter Control for professional removal of dead animal smells. We use only industry-strength solutions formulated to eliminate persistent, dead animal odors. In addition, we will carefully inspect your home and yard to dispose of all dead animals and the odors they leave behind. Contact us today for immediate assistance.

Why You Shouldn’t Remove Dead Animals Yourself

You may be pleased to find a dead mouse or raccoon on your property – yay, pest problem solved! But it could be just the beginning of your problem. What to do with the carcass? Don’t even think about flushing it down the toilet. And you can’t just throw it in the trash in most parts of North America. Give it a decent burial? Even if your property is large, can you bury the carcass deep enough and securely enough to ensure it won’t be dug up by other vermin, or the neighbor’s dog? Times like these, it pays to call a professional with dead animal removal experience.

In case you’re skeptical, here is a brief (and we think, convincing) list of the major reasons homeowners should not take on the task of removing dead animals from around their property:

  • Skilled diagnostics – a professional can often glean information about communicable disease (such as rabies) or other potential infestation issues by examining an animal carcass after death
  • Disease – potentially deadly diseases such as tularemia and leptospirosis can be contracted by touching or even being in close proximity to an animal carcass. Professionals carry the necessary hazardous material equipment and safety gear to ensure these are not transmitted
  • Special health risks – people with compromised immune systems, degenerative disease, or who may be pregnant should definitely not be exposing themselves to decomposing flesh of any kind
  • Psychological distress – you may think you can handle it, but sensitive homeowners with a soft spot for animals (or who have small children hanging around) may prefer to avoid dealing with carcass removal for emotional reasons. That’s perfectly OK – call a pro
  • There may be additional clean-up required – odors, stains, emissions, flies or maggots. Ask yourself if you also have the skills (and stomach!) necessary to deal with the aftermath once a carcass is removed
  • Dumping is discouraged – most jurisdictions don’t allow carcasses to be disposed of through regular household waste collection programs. It may even be illegal in your town or county

Except in rare cases, animal carcass disposal should be handled by a professional. Critter Control Miami will not only take care of your living pest problems; they can safely and expertly deal with carcass removal and the clean-up to follow. Do yourself a favor and call them today for all your pest and vermin removal needs.

What do I do With Rat Droppings in my Attic?

If you currently have or recently had rats in your attic, you’ll have to deal with a clean-up at some point. After all, you don’t want to just leave animal feces up there with all your boxes and belongings! So how do you handle it?

Identify the Problem

Before figuring out how to handle the droppings in your attic, you might need to identify what the problem animal is and if you are still dealing with the infestation. Listen for squeaks or scurrying sounds, especially at night. The best option here is to have a professional come out and do a full inspection. You don’t want to have to do a bunch of clean up and replacement of materials if you have rats that are going to come back and destroy it again.

Assess Damage

Once you know the infestation is gone and you’ve prevented the animals from coming back, you’ll need to assess the severity of the damage. Any insulation that has been touched by the droppings is compromised and should be replaced. In addition, there may be urine and other damage from chewing and nesting to be handled. Rats tend to stay close to walls, so be sure to note whether there are any grease and dirt smudges along the outside that will need to be cleaned.

Precautions

We always urge you to use a professional for removal and restoration of your attic because it is necessary to handle it with proper care and expertise. Regardless of your experience, you should never touch rat droppings with bare hands. Wear gloves and face masks when going into the affected area and use the correct sanitizing tools. Often, you’ll have to replace your insulation as well, so ensure you are wearing correct protection from the fiberglass.

Best Option

If you’re dealing with rat droppings in your attic, just stay calm and give us a call at 305-258-3587. We’ll inspect your home and make a restoration plan as well as ensure you don’t have an infestation hanging around. Additionally, we’ll suggest any precautions you need to protect your home from future infestations.

Should I use Rat Poison for a Squirrel Problem?

Dealing with any type of rodent in your home is cause for stress and frustration. You don’t know how long they’ve been there or how much damage they’ve done, and you may find yourself desperate to get rid of them by any means necessary. However, the first thing you need to do before you ever try to handle a nuisance pest is take a breath and think logically about the method you choose.

Inhumane

The majority of rat poisons are anti-coagulants mixed with other chemicals. The chemicals make the blood vessels weak and cause internal hemorrhaging. With the anticoagulant preventing the blood from clotting, the rodents die within one to two days. Another type of poison is a phosphide that reacts with stomach acid to create a toxic gas, killing the rodent usually within 2 days. A third is calciferol. When ingested, calcification occurs on many organs in the body and can take up to a week for the rodent to die. All three of these are very slow and painful processes for the rodent, and there are many better ways to go about handling a rodent problem.

Ineffective

While they are both in the Rodentia family, rats and squirrels have very different diets. Rats are very much creatures of opportunity, eating just about anything that’s available while focusing on high protein items. Rat poison takes this into consideration and utilizes an attractant such as peanut butter, fish oil, or ground meat. Squirrels, on the other hand, are not nearly as attracted to those smells as their diet consists of more plant-based items. And, while squirrels may like peanut butter occasionally, they prefer full nuts. On the off chance the attractant does work, and a squirrel ingests the poison, you will be left with the strong odor of a dead squirrel carcass somewhere hidden in your home.

Small Children and Pets

Another problem with using any kind of poison in your home is when there are small children or other pets in the house. The pellets often look enticing to dogs as they often smell appetizing and can look similar to dry dog food. For young children, it is often a matter of curiosity. Children like to put things into their mouths, and you definitely don’t want a child ingesting poisons.

In short, the answer is no, you shouldn’t use poison on squirrels. There are many other methods that are safer, more humane, and more effective. If you are having a squirrel problem in your home, give Critter Control® of Miami a call. We’ll set up a free inspection to help assess the severity of the issue and then walk you through all of your options. Contact us today to get started.

How Does a Bat Get into My House?

At the height of summer, it’s quite possible you may have bats living somewhere in your walls or attic. At night, especially in Miami, your a/c is probably running. The cool air draws bats in and they will likely find solace during the daytime in your walls. The insulation tends to keep this area a more stable temperature.

Do I have Bats?

There are a few signs that are significant indicators that you have bats roosting in your home.

  • Bats flying around your home during dawn or dusk hours.
  • Droppings, or guano, on window sills and around the edge of your house
  • Chirping, squeaking, or scratching sounds coming from walls and attic at night
  • An ammonia smell

How Did They Get In?

If you are dealing with bats, you may be wondering how they got into your home. After all, it’s not like you’re leaving your windows open in this heat. You may be surprised to learn that bats can squeeze their bodies through holes or cracks as small as a half-inch! These cracks, holes, or even vent openings, especially on two story homes, can be hard to detect.

Legal Issues

Bats are some of the most important creatures to our ecosystem. Alongside bees, they work to pollinate up to 60% of the produce in our diet. In addition to their pollination, they are also some of the best natural pest controllers out there, consuming up to 8000 insects in a single night. Because of this, there are restrictions on how you can handle bats. For instance, it is unlawful to purposefully harm or kill bats.

If you suspect that there are bats in your home, it may be a good idea to get a professional out for an inspection. Luckily, Critter Control® of Miami has expert technicians trained in the best ways to handle a bat situation, so they can safely remove the animals and clean up after them. To get started today, give us a call at 305-258-3587.

How Does a Raccoon Get Into my House?

Do you suspect that you’ve got a furry intruder in your attic? Raccoons are sneaky and adaptive little critters, so it’s no wonder they’re nicknamed the ‘Masked Bandit.’ With their strong hand-like paws and sharp claws, they can make their way into your home fairly easily if potential access points are not secured.

Some signs that you may have a raccoon on your property include:

  • Tracks in your yard
  • Open and rummaged trash cans
  • Animal droppings
  • Scratched trees
  • Noises
  • Seeing raccoons

Why My Home?

Man-made structures such as your home are ideal places for raccoons to not only hide from potential predators but brave the elements and protect their young. Your attic provides shelter with an easy way in and out, and the insulation is perfect for creating a soft nest. Chimneys are also quite popular with raccoons because they replicate tree hollows rather well when the vent is closed.

Easy Access

You may not realize it, but there are many potential access points into your home, especially from the roof. Take the following into consideration:

  • Chimney: As mentioned earlier, a chimney is the perfect place for a family
    of raccoons to make a den. Make sure to include exclusion mesh at the top to prevent trespassers.
  • Vents: These are typically made out of wood, plastic or light metal like aluminum. Especially as they age, these materials weaken and can make you susceptible to animals.
  • Roof-Soffit Intersections: Often, there is a gap where the soffit meets the roof. Raccoons can peel or pull this section back and squeeze their way into your attic.
  • Plumbing Mats: The mats around the outside of plumbing vents can become weak and be torn apart by raccoon’s sharp claws.
  • Eaves: Raccoons can make their way into your home by chewing or pulling back on the materials covering the bottom of eaves.

Professional Inspections

In order to prevent costly damage from a raccoon infestation, you’ll need to act quickly and efficiently. An inspection should be done at once to find any potential or compromised access points into your home and ensure there are no animals in the home before sealing it up. Critter Control® of Miami has been handling wildlife for decades and not only has the experience, but also the expertise to perform a quick, safe, and humane removal of raccoons from your home. Give us a call today at 305-258-3587 for a consultation and home inspection.

Can a Rat Chew Through Walls?

If you’ve heard any noises in your walls, you aren’t crazy – some animals can make their way inside them and build a nest. Even though it might seem like nothing could get inside them, walls are a favorite nesting spot for rats. But how in the world do they get in? Sometimes they can slip in cracks, but they can also create their own entry points as well. You’d be surprised by the strength of their jaws and teeth.

The Astonishing Jaws of Rats

As rodents, rats have teeth which are constantly growing. In fact, rat teeth grow about 1.4 mm per day. This means that they must constantly gnaw on materials to grind their teeth down, to prevent them from growing into their skulls. This makes almost any hard material in your house fair game as a rat-chewing object.

Not only are rats incessant gnawers and biters, they are extremely powerful for their small size. Though exact figures are hard to pin down, rats have an incredibly high bite pressure considering their size. Most people measure that rat bites exert more force per square inch than alligators and sharks. Because of this, rats can chew through almost anything: wood, drywall, brick, concrete, aluminum, sheetrock, and more. When motivated, a rat can almost certainly make its way into your home using its powerful jaws.

How to Avoid Infestations

The best way to keep rats out is by making sure that you eliminate any food sources around your home. Rats won’t fixate on your house just because they want to come in; most of the time rats move into a home it’s because they have found a consistent food source.

Another good way to keep rats out is by sealing any potential entry points around your house. Though rats can make a way inside if they really wanted to, they will generally take the path of least resistance such as holes or cracks in the exterior of your home. Make sure windows, doors, soffits, eaves, vents, and pipes are properly sealed, and you will have a better chance of avoiding a rat problem.

If a rat or two does make it in, it isn’t the end of the world. There are ways you can get these disgusting and problematic pests out. The best thing you can do when you first notice signs of rats in your home is to call Critter Control® of Miami, the leading animal control experts in the industry. Every rat infestation is different, but our years of experience has taught us how to pinpoint the problem and solve it efficiently and safely. Call us today for a free inspection at 305-258-3587.

How Did a Squirrel Get in My House?

Some people love to watch squirrels. They can be entertaining critters, chasing each other around trees, their bushy tails flicking up and down. Some people even place birdfeeders in their yards just to attract more squirrels, but this can be dangerous. Since squirrels will keep coming back for more, and may one day become brave enough to try to nest in your house.

Expert Invaders

Though you might think there is no harm in feeding squirrels, you should think again. Squirrels, unlike more shy animals like rabbits and foxes, quickly become acclimated to the presence of humans. Often, some will even come right up next to you to steal your food. Their bravery makes them especially likely to try to make their way inside your home.

Squirrels also have clever hands and strong teeth, which helps them pry open spaces or even make their own holes to get inside. As proficient climbers, they will often target the attic. They climb up trees, scurry across branches that extend out over or near your house, and then leap onto the roof. Once there, they will try to find a weak point in the exterior to access the inside. This will often be a gap in the gutters, soffits, trim, or vents. If there isn’t a space large enough they can fit through, they can chew holes in the corners of the roof.

Squirrel Removal

Squirrels frequently invade homes in the late winter and spring because they find attics to be a great place to birth and rear young. This means that if one squirrel makes it inside, you could have a few more in a matter of days. This makes removal especially tricky because it can be difficult to locate the nest as well as trap the mother with her babies.

If this happens to you, don’t hesitate to call Critter Control® of Miami. We will rid your home of any squirrels in the safest way for both you and the animals. There are many careless trappers out there who will end up killing the young squirrels or even adult ones with their negligent methods. We know how to trap and handle the animals humanely, giving the mother and young the best chance of thriving later back in the wild. If you have more questions about our squirrel removal, we can give you a free initial inspection if you call 305-258-3587!

Squirrel Babies in the Attic

Animals are wonderful things. They can bring joy to so many people, both watching them in the wild and owning them as pets. However, when an animal comes into your home unexpectedly, the result is much different. Squirrels often will sneak into attics in the winter and spring months to have their young, potentially causing damage to your home and keeping you up at night in the process.

What You Should Avoid

When confronted with squirrels in your attic, you may think it is a good idea to leave poison up there. While this may seem like an easy, no-hassle solution, this is actually a terrible idea. The squirrel young won’t be able to move around to get to the poison, so it would only affect the mother and potentially others in your household. Without the mother, the babies will die of starvation. Dead squirrels will decompose in your attic, and you may not be able to find them or get to the bodies, so you could have horrible smells and even bacteria in your house.

You also might think that you need to seal your home as soon as possible before more squirrels can use your attic as a birthing space. But, this will simply trap the existing squirrel babies and potentially the mother inside, leaving them all to die of starvation. This will have similar results with bad odors and decomposition like the poisoning method. Even if the mother was not trapped inside, she will simply chew another hole somewhere to get in to her babies.

Proper Squirrel Removal

The most effective and safe way to remove the squirrels from your home is by hiring a professional wildlife management service. At Critter Control® of Miami, we have decades of squirrel trapping knowledge and we use only the most efficient and humane removal methods available. Call us today for your free consultation at 305-258-3587.