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Managing the Critters!

When most people think of outdoor pest control, they often think of termites or fire ants or some other type of small annoying insect that can be managed through proper lawn care. However, there is a larger class of pests that need to be addressed. These include raccoons, skunks, deer, snakes, alligators, armadillos, and other larger animals that may hope to invade your back yard and make themselves at home.

Some signs you may have a big critter hanging out in your home include: strange noises in the attic, basement or garage, garbage cans being knocked over, seeing feces in your pool or on your sidewalks or even seeing the blasted things run away or try to hide.  If you have a dog, your dog may be going crazy barking and trying to alert you to the presence of something strange in the house.  If you have a skunk nearby, you will probably smell it.

These critters really don’t want anything specifically from your house and, in fact, are usually just looking for a space to live, something to eat or something to drink. Some things you can do to help prevent becoming a critter target include:

*Strapping down the garbage can lid. You can use bungee cords or some type of locking mechanism. This gets rid of a very enticing food source.

*Secure your house – have a professional check for any unintended entrances to your house and help you seal them up. Most often raccoons get into the attic through an open vent, skunks get under the house by looking for gaps and alligators get into the pool through a gap in the fence.

*Keep pet food secure and keep your pet door locked.  Raccoons, skunks, snakes and smaller wild pigs can all fit through a pet door and they absolutely love dog or cat food.

*If you have a garden, place chicken wire around it that’s at least five foot high. Gardens provide a buffet of food for any large critter. Deer and raccoons love gorging on fresh vegetables.

*If you have a shed, keep it locked and make sure the doors and windows seal tightly.

Most importantly, keep bushes and trees trimmed, your yard well maintained, and your yard free of debris.  This allows you to better see evidence that you might have a critter problem. Armadillos and moles will dig quite large burrows – usually somewhere around the foundation of the house.  Snakes are attracted to areas where they can burrow in and make a home – such as piles of clutter or areas where there are heavy bushes or lots of weeds.

If you find you already have a critter problem, call for professional help and do not try to trap them yourself.  You don’t know if any of the animals have rabies or some other disease and there’s a good possibility that a raccoon or skunk has already had babies in your house.  Professionals will know how to handle and permanently get rid of these critters for you.

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