Pest & Wildlife Pressure in Charleston
A Warm-Weather Refuge
Level terrain, abundant forests, and mild winters support wildlife in Charleston, SC. Common year-round pests in the region include tree squirrels, skunks, and raccoons.
Tree Squirrels in Charleston Homes
Tree squirrels enter attics in search of a place to raise their young. Once indoors, the pests rip up insulation for their nests and chew on wooden rafters and support beams. A squirrel in the attic may also gnaw on wiring, which can damage fixtures and even cause house fires.
Raccoons in Charleston use their strong, agile paws to dig through trash bins and enter homes. They can tear up roof tiles to get indoors and build nests in attics. Some raccoons accustomed to humans may even enter houses through pet doors to steal food.
Outdoors, the pests' droppings near patios and recreational areas are dangerous due to raccoon roundworm. This parasite in their waste contaminates the underlying ground and can live for years in the soil under the right conditions.
Bats can be an issue for area residents. These pests may roost in attics, using these shelters to give birth. As their numbers grow, so does the chance of disease transmission. Bat infestations carry the threat of both rabies and histoplasmosis.
Snakes of South Carolina
The heat and humidity in Charleston, SC, make it an ideal place for snakes to gather. Residents encounter both venomous and nonvenomous snakes in their yards or basements. Since the pests hide under bushes, rocks, and other debris, it's easy to startle them.
A bite from any snake is painful. However, venomous snake bites require swift medical attention. The following species are especially dangerous:
- Copperheads - Able to live in many diverse habitats, copperhead snakes are common across South Carolina.
- Timber rattlesnakes - These rattlers have chevron scale patterns, which helps them blend into their surroundings.
- Cottonmouths - Also known as water moccasins, these snakes thrive in Hanahan's creeks and wetlands.
- Coral snakes - The harmless kingsnake mimics this species' coloring, but a coral snake is venomous.
Coyotes near the Coast
As neighborhoods and cities like Mount Pleasant expand, coyotes look toward yards for meals and shelter. Coyotes prey on rodents, small pets, and livestock. In rare cases, these animals can attack people. Keeping pet food and trashcans indoors helps prevent coyote encounters.
Opossums in South Carolina
Since these animals are nocturnal, residents rarely see opossum damage until the next morning. Tipped-over garbage cans and trash strewn across lawns are common sights when opossums are around. These pests also raid gardens and dig through compost bins to find food.
Opossum dens under porches and sheds are another problem in South Carolina. The pests usually target yards with easy access to birdseed or fallen fruit. While their nests don't cause structural damage, opossums carry a number of parasites, including fleas and ticks.
Q&A with Local Franchisee John Newland
What are some of the most common wildlife issues that homeowners face in your area?
We're busy with raccoons, rats, bats and alligators. We're one of the only offices that deal with alligators.
How do the seasons affect wildlife activity in your area?
Our seasons don't really affect wildlife, except for bats in the winter months.
What are some common signs of nuisance wildlife activity?
Hearing noises in your home or finding feces in/around your home.
Any prevention tips for residents in your area?
Make sure all crawl space and attic vents are properly secured.
When should homeowners call Critter Control?
Homeowners should call when a property is not properly secured and there's evidence of animal activity.