Known as "The Valley," Knoxville, Tennessee, is nestled between the Cumberland Plateau and the Great Smoky Mountains. This valley was carved out of the mountains by the running waters of the French Broad River and the Holston River, which converge to form the Tennessee River. Knoxville also has 92 parks within city limits. This combination of water, forested mountains, and parks is a perfect environment for wild animals, including those who pose a nuisance to residents, business owners, and tourists.
In addition to its landscape, Knoxville has a rich cultural life with museums, restaurants, and clubs. More than 12 million visitors descend on the area annually to enjoy the 500 thousand acres of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the most visited national park in the country. As people encroach upon the habits of the region’s wild animals, these creatures travel to seek shelter, food, and water from Knoxville’s residential and commercial neighborhoods.
Raccoons prefer to live in moist woodlands, building their dens high up in trees to avoid predators. When their habitat shrinks or becomes too crowded with hikers and tourists, they turn to people’s attics and chimneys as well as to commercial buildings, barns, and sheds for shelter as they’ve come to know that where there are people, there is a reliable source of food and water.
Although raccoons look cute, they are quite mischievous. Active at night, they can become quite large and can create significant damage living in your attic. Raccoons breed in winter and give birth in the spring. While in your home, they’ll tear insulation to build their den, gnaw on wood and wires, and create unsanitary conditions with their urine and feces.
Because they can become aggressive and can carry rabies, a wildlife professional is needed to get rid of raccoons. Critter Control uses the humane process of live-capturing raccoons to eradicate them.
There are 16 species of bats in Tennessee. Luckily they all feed exclusively on insects which makes them beneficial creatures of the night skies. Signs of a bat infestation include their guano which can cause health issues, smudge marks along walls and siding where they fly in and out, and squeaking inside your walls.
Bats are federally protected animals, and some of them are on the endangered list. Bat exterminators are illegal. You cannot kill them. There are both federal and state regulations that need to be followed when getting rid of bats. Bats have their pups in spring. These pups are not able to fend for themselves until fall, making fall the time of year to call us in to install a bat valve or one-way door through which they can fly out but cannot return.
Eastern Tennesse, including Knoxville, is home to five species of squirrels: eastern gray squirrel, eastern fox squirrel, American red squirrel, northern flying squirrel, and southern flying squirrel. While squirrels are fun to watch when scurrying around outside, they are no fun to find in your attic, where they will damage insulation, gnaw on wood and electrical wires and bring in lots of nuts and seeds.
Squirrels are carriers of ticks, mange mites, fleas, and internal parasites. If you suspect you have a squirrel in your home, don’t attempt to remove it yourself. Squirrels may bite or attack if aggravated, especially if they have young present.
Because the Knoxville region has proximity to several rivers and forested land, there are many bird species living here. Many are native to the area, but some are migrating through. These birds sometimes roost on the edges of homes and commercial buildings and build nests in chimneys, eaves, and vents.
The most common birds that become nuisances are starlings, sparrows, woodpeckers, and pigeons. These birds can be noisy, mess up home exteriors with feces and urine, and will peck in wood siding looking for insects. Excluding birds is the only way to get rid of them. This involves sealing eaves and installing roof barriers so birds cannot land and build their nests.
Rodents such as rats and mice are a perennial problem for homeowners and businesses throughout the world, including Knoxville. Rats and mice have been living amongst humans for over 15,000 years, enjoying free food, water, and shelter in people’s homes.
Mouse removal and rat removal needs to take place as soon as you see their telltale signs, such as feces on countertops and in the pantry, scurrying noises at night in your walls, and oils smudge marks along walls and baseboards. They will not only create significant home damage from their gnawing and tunnel building, but they’ll also contaminate food and pose a health risk. Rodents are also prolific breeders and can have up to six litters per year, so what can seem like a few rats or house mice can turn into hundreds before too long. Critter Control creates a custom plan for eradicating rodents based on their quantity and location.
Opossums will build a den almost anywhere that is dry, sheltered, and safe from predators. In a residential neighborhood, that could mean your shed, crawlspace, or underneath your porch. They are attracted to our yards because of the lack of predators and an abundance of food from unsealed garbage cans, pet food left outside, or fruit that has fallen from trees.
Opossums don’t cause much damage, and because they have a low body temperature, they do not carry rabies. But they do harbor parasites such as ticks and fleas as well as diseases like leptospirosis and tuberculosis.
Skunks are a common pest in Knoxivlle and the surrounding Appalchians. These animals are known for foraging for food in trash bins and pet food bowls. They're also profound and efficient diggers, and can mutilate an entire yard in a single night searching for grubs. They're distinctive black and white fur, and their pungent odor that can linger for days, are unmistakeable. If you happen to cross paths with a skunk, do not try to scare it away. Please also remember that skunks can carry rabies
; therefore, it’s best to let a professional handle removal for you.