Springfield is the third largest city in Massachusetts, located on the eastern side of the Connecticut River. It is also known as the fourth “greenest” city in the United States due to the 25 urban parks, 2,400 acres of parkland, clean water, and recycling efforts. Springfield is an ideal location for wildlife. However, significant stressors affect Springfield, forcing wildlife out of their natural habitats and into the city’s 17 neighborhoods.
Stressors include climate changes that affect all four seasons in Massachusetts. The arrival and departure of each season seem to be shifting, starting a domino effect of other stressors. Temperature changes, storms, floods, drought, and changing sea levels can lead to wildlife habitat loss, invasive species, pests, and diseases.
Also, Springfield has an abundance of new residential and commercial businesses. This means forests were developed, along with roads and dams. With each forested area removed, the wildlife living there must find a new source of food, water, and shelter. They often find these in your neighborhood, on your property.
The wildlife adapting to urban living in Springfield includes raccoons, squirrels, bats, rats, mice, snakes, skunks, opossums, groundhogs, beavers, ducks, frogs, deer, etc. Each can quickly become a nuisance. Massachusetts defines nuisance wildlife as those causing damage to any part of your property, posing a threat to the public, or causing an annoyance in the neighborhood.
Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife recommends contacting a wildlife control agent if you have problems with nuisance wildlife. They provide a link to local agents on their website. Below are examples of Springfield nuisance wildlife.
Even though you don’t have too many sightings of raccoons in Springfield, they live here in large numbers. They have been making the news more in the last few years, especially when a raccoon tests positive for rabies, like the one found in Easthampton. A rabid raccoon poses a big threat to the public, but it is not the only way it can be a nuisance.
Raccoons often enter homes looking for a warm place to make a den and possibly give birth to their litter. Raccoons will enter attics, chimneys, basements, and crawlspaces. Once inside your home, they will destroy insulation, drywall, wood beams, electrical wiring, and ductwork. Their fur is covered in filth, leaving a smudge mark on whatever it touches.
Raccoons create latrines or toilets near their nests where they drop feces and urine. Raccoon scat is larger than most small animals and can grow into a large pile in a short time. The feces can produce mold spores and emits a terrible odor, which may be relative to the foods they eat. They are omnivorous, meaning they will eat just about anything.
Raccoons upset trash cans for table scraps, dumpster dive behind restaurants, dig holes in lawns for insects, snatch fish from ponds, steal garden crops, and raid pet feed dishes.
Removing raccoons should be done by a wildlife professional who understands Massachusetts laws regarding trapping seasons, fur-bearing animals, and where to take the animal for disease testing if required.
Bats living in Springfield attics, sheds, and barns throughout the year are the big brown bats. Other local bats, like the little brown, hoary, Indiana, tricolored, and silver-haired, spend most of their time in forests and caves.
Bats are amazing and much needed for balancing our ecosystems. Bats can eat thousands of insects in one night, and they pollinate over 300 species of fruits and vegetables. The plants that need bats for survival are known ingredients in over 80 medicines. Unfortunately, some bat species are threatened by diseases like white-nose syndrome. This is one reason all bats are classified as protected species in Massachusetts.
Endangered or threatened bat species make getting rid of them challenging, so you should hire an expert. You do not want to be fined or legally punished for trying to remove a bat. Also, you don’t want to risk being bitten or encountering feces covering their fur.
It is bat feces that causes the biggest nuisance to Springfield residents. As bats roost, they drop feces and urine below them. It drips over their fur before piling up on the ground. Guano consists of uric acid, which can erode metals and wood. It can also cause stain damage to walls and ceilings. If you have a bat colony roosting in your attic, the weight of the guano can put stress on your home’s beams and joints.
In addition, guano can grow mold with spores that float through the air. If it gets into your vents or travels through your home, you risk inhaling it. There have been reports of people acquiring histoplasmosis and other respiratory difficulties.
In Massachusetts, bats cannot be removed from any property during the maternity season. The month of May and between August 1st and mid-October are the allowed times because they do not interfere with a bat’s maternity season. Newborn bats must be able to fly out of the roost safely. This is one more reason to call a professional for help.
The rat and mouse population in Springfield is alarming. The house mouse, brown rat, and black rat are the most common. What’s worse is the rate at which they reproduce and multiply. Female rodents are ready to reproduce just 28 days after birth, meaning they can do so five or more times yearly. Five or more babies are born with each litter, some of which will be ready to reproduce in less than a month. You can see how an infestation occurs quickly.
This is bad news for your home when rodents choose your attic, walls, ceiling, or any other small space as a place to live. Rats and mice chew and gnaw electrical wiring, baseboards, cabinets, groceries, carpets, furniture, and more. Repairs can become very costly.
Signs of a rat or mouse problem include feces and urine trails that typically lead from their nest to their food source. Greasy smudges on baseboards, cabinets, and appliances are another sign. Outdoors you may find burrows under your house, driveway, or other structures.
If you see one rodent, there are others nearby. Call a technician to get rid of rats and mice right away. They can assess damages and determine how many are living with you. They also know which traps and baits work best for each species. Using the wrong bait or trap can lead to bigger problems. Experts can also help you implement exclusions that prevent future rat and mouse invasions.
Eastern gray, red, and flying squirrels are thriving in Springfield. It is not hard to spot a squirrel busy collecting and hoarding treasures they will use during colder months. Fruits, nuts, berries, vegetables, seeds, grains, leaves, flowers, and bark are a few favored treasures that are hidden just beneath the ground or in holes in trees and other small spaces.
Squirrels are fun to watch, but if you pay close attention, you will see why they can become a nuisance. Squirrels have teeth that continually grow. If you see a squirrel chewing and gnawing on something, it must do so to keep its teeth filed and avoid pain. As a nuisance, squirrels will chew on siding, shingles, electrical lines, and trees. Inside they chew on electrical wiring, wood, plastic ductwork, mesh screens, and drywall.
Squirrels prefer living in attics and chimneys, especially during the maternity season. They build nests in ventilation systems, creating fire hazards for families.
You cannot catch a squirrel and release it on another person’s property or state ground. This is supported by several Massachusetts laws to prevent the spread of diseases. Also, squirrels are considered fur-bearing wildlife and have specific hunting and trapping seasons and regulations.
Wildlife control experts have safe and humane traps to remove squirrels. If babies are in a nest, they reunite with the mother on the outside. They can also offer tips on reducing the number of squirrels on your property, like squirrel-proofing bird feeders and installing tree barriers.
The Virginia Opossum is the only marsupial found in the United States. In Massachusetts, opossums breed from January to July. Opossums can have difficulty with Western Massachusetts winters
. Opossums ofen use homes, shed, and garages for shelther from the cold. Opossums are excellent climbers and can gain access to your chimney and attics.
Skunks can be spotted or striped. The skunks in Springfield are striped. They are about the size of a cat with a black coat and white stripes. Between April and June, female skunks start looking for a place to give birth to between two and ten kits. Often, skunks choose basements, crawlspaces, and the area under decks and porches. They also choose places close to a good source of food. Like raccoons, skunks are omnivores, eating everything from trash and garden crops to pet feed and insects.
Skunks, when left alone, are usually harmless, and once their kits are able, they will move on to a new location. It’s when a skunk feels threatened that they become a nuisance. They will give several warnings to potential threats, like hissing and growling. It will then turn its anal glands towards the threat, flex them, and then release a musk spray to defend itself.
The musk is foul and can stick around for days or weeks. Pets often get sprayed. When they get sprayed under your home, the scent will linger in your home. You can avoid this altogether by hiring a wildlife professional to eliminate the skunk.
Western Massachusetts is home to both the red fox and gray fox.
You might notice foxes on your property during breeding season. Both species breed mid-Jaunary to late February. They usually den on the side of a knoll but they may also den in or under sheds, porches, and crawlspaces. The family unit stays together until autumn at which point the pups become independent.
Foxes are opporunitic omnivores. Their range varies in size from two to seven square miles. So a fox on your property might be searching for food. In that case do not feed the fox and remove any potential food sources like birdfeeders and livestock.
Foxes are considered furbearers in Massachusetts, for which regulated hunting seasons and management programs have been established. If you have a fox problem on your property, we have the knowledge to legally and humanely take care of it.
There are 14 snake species in Massachusetts, but the ones you may find slithering around your home are garter snakes, which are non-venomous. Only two snakes are venomous: the timber rattlesnake and the copperhead.
Encountering a snake causes many people to respond in fear, even though there is usually no reason to be scared. Snakes typically try to avoid humans. Snakes can be a nuisance if their presence makes you uncomfortable. Poisonous snakes pose a threat to the public. If a snake enters your home, it won’t stay long, and they do very little damage to a home.
If you have a snake on your property, it searches for food—specifically, rats, mice, and other small rodents. You may have a rat and mice problem indoors if a snake is inside your home. Calling a wildlife technician for snake removal means you will also get a thorough inspection for rodents.
Eliminating food sources that snakes prefer is the best way to eliminate snakes. Technicians can offer numerous tips to prevent future snake visits.
This franchise is independently licensed and operated by Jancee Enterprises, LLC, dba Critter Control of Springfield, Massachusetts.