A recent report on the impact of climate change on coastal region towns, including Newport News, in Virginia, suggests multiple elements will make it harder for wildlife to find food, water, and shelter in their natural habitats.

Factors such as rising sea levels, higher temperatures, and weather events are a few reasons we see new species invading our area, bringing with them pests and diseases. Climate change alters local wildlife’s food, water, and shelter options.

What Are the Major Wildlife Removal Concerns in Newport News, Virginia?

Wildlife in Newport News refers to non-domesticated animals that you regularly encounter on your property but that, at one time, you would have only been able to see in the forests, parks, beaches, and other natural habitats. Virginia is a hotspot for biodiversity, with 737 vertebrate species and more than 30,000 invertebrates. Newport News neighborhoods are home to raccoons, rabbits, deer, bats, rats, mice, squirrels, skunks, opossums, snakes, frogs, birds, lizards, and more.

Animals become nuisances over time. Virginia defines nuisance wildlife as one that causes damage to your property, causes annoying disturbances, or poses a threat to humans. You may think getting rid of nuisances is easy. However, local ordinances, state regulations, and federal protections for most wildlife must be followed.

Below are examples of common Newport News wildlife, how they become nuisances, and regulations specific to their species. The Department of Wildlife Resources recommends hiring a professional wildlife control operator to resolve nuisance wildlife concerns for safety and to prevent problems.  

Raccoon Removal

In February 2022, a raccoon in the area of River Point Circle and Flax Mill Road tested positive for rabies. Have you found scattered trash, holes in sod, or unusual scat on your property? Do you hear chirps, growls, screeches, or purrs in your attic or chimney? Are you missing chickens or other small animals? Are you constantly restocking birdfeeders?  

Any of these complaints describe raccoon behaviors occurring now in Newport News neighborhoods. Some families with swimming pools complain they find scat floating near the steps, a clear sign that a raccoon has been enjoying a swim.   Raccoons may likely be the most well-adapted wildlife to urban living. They are omnivorous, meaning they will eat whatever they can find — fruits, vegetables, small rodents, chickens, reptiles, junk food, garbage, table scraps, eggs, and pet feed.  

Raccoons will enter your home, whether through an unlocked pet door, uncapped chimney, vent, or opening into your attic. Raccoons have dexterous hands that help them break into and enter your home or other structure on your property. They can turn doorknobs, push through screens, and climb chimneys and trees. Once inside, raccoons will shred insulation, break wood beams, clog vents, and chew wires. They also create a specific space where they will leave their feces, which can grow mold spores. They raid gardens, ponds, bird feeders, and nests in your yard.  

Raccoons, with their permanent masks across their eyes, can weigh up to 35 pounds, about the size of a large house cat. Their fur is filthy, and they often leave greasy smudges on places like walls and siding. Because they are fur-bearing, special permits and licenses are required inside and outside hunting seasons. There are usually local ordinances to follow when getting rid of raccoons.

Rats and Mice Control

Rodents like Norway, roof rats, and house mice are common in Newport News. You may not always see them, but they are there, lurking in the darker spaces, waiting to gain access to food and water.  

Rats and mice can carry 200 or more germs in their saliva and urine. They often reproduce up to six times a year. One pair of rats or mice and their offspring can turn into nearly 300 in one year. They can squeeze through tiny holes and cracks much smaller than their bodies. They will chew wires and build nests in vents, creating fire hazards. Rats and mice also contaminate groceries, dig burrows outside your home, and leave grease stains, feces, and urine everywhere they travel.  

Most rats and mice will not travel far from their food supply, usually less than 100 feet. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), humans can contract diseases from rodents by being bitten, inhaling mold spores that grow on feces, and via ticks, fleas, and mites.   There are no regulations or ordinances regarding getting rid of rats and mice. However, you must be able to do the following correctly or face more damage:

  • Know where to put the trap.
  • Use the proper baits for the different rodent species.
  • Introduce traps without bait first to help rodents get used to being there. Rats and mice are clever and will avoid something new in their environment.
  • Use the right trap. Small rodents require different traps than larger ones and vice versa.
  • Use more than one trap to catch multiple rodents rather than one at a time.
  • Know how to place a trap, like where each part should point.
  • Use traps that kill the rat or mouse immediately.

The more you can do to prevent and exclude a rat and mouse infestation, the better.


Squirrels are rodents too, but there are significant differences. Squirrels can be seen any time, day or night. They can be cute to watch as they gather foods and nesting materials to store near their nests. They collect bird seeds, grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, twigs, and bark.

Occasionally, squirrels like to build nests in your home and will use your chimney, crawlspaces, gutters, lawn, vents, and ductwork as nesting spots.   Newport News residents may see flying, gray, or fox squirrels. The ones that like to build nests in your attic or eave are the flying squirrels, which are primarily nocturnal. Squirrels have teeth that never stop growing throughout their lifetime. To prevent their teeth from becoming too large and causing much pain, squirrels chew and gnaw on anything they can.  

It is common for a squirrel to chew through vinyl siding, wood, mesh screens, and plastics. They will make a small hole much larger if it means they can enter your house. Squirrels will build nests in your chimneys and ductwork, both fire hazards. When inside your home, they chew wires, shred insulation, use it for nesting materials, and leave feces and urine trails in their travels.  

Outside your home, squirrels damage roof shingles, cause sagging in electrical wires, steal garden crops, dig holes in your yard, and strip bark from your trees.   Local and state regulations exist for squirrels, or fur-bearing, game animals in Virginia. Squirrels can carry diseases, and it may be necessary to have a squirrel tested, depending on the recommendations of the Department of Wildlife Resources.

Bat Removal

Seventeen bat species exist in Virginia, but it is the evening, Brazilian free-tailed and big and little brown bats that live in Newport News neighborhoods. Every bat across Virginia is a necessary animal essential for balancing the ecosystem, mainly because they are responsible for keeping the number of insects we have lower. One bat can consume thousands of insects in one night. Unfortunately, diseases like white-nose syndrome affect the number of bats in existence.  

Three bat species are federally endangered, three are state endangered, and the remaining are non-game protected species. This means you cannot hunt, trap, or kill any bats. Also, during the maternity season, from April to October, you cannot remove, harass, or intimidate bats into leaving your property.   The main concern with bats is the bat guano that can pile up on floors, beams, and rafters, damaging the house’s structure or building. Bat guano can get very heavy when piled high. Putting too much weight on beams can lead to structural damage.  

Bat guano contains acid that stains whatever it touches and can erode metals and wood. The weight can stress beams and joints depending on the size of the guano piles. As guano sits in your home, it can grow mold spores that can linger through your vents and into other parts of your home. Mold spores, when inhaled, can cause respiratory problems in humans.  

If you have bats, there is a great food source nearby, which is anything that attracts many insects, like outdoor night lights, stagnant water, pet, or livestock feed, filled trash cans, and livestock and pet manure.   Bats rarely have rabies, but because it is possible, many states order testing of bats for diseases.


All coastal towns have snakes. In Virginia, 34 types of snakes exist, but only three are venomous. Snakes are generally non-threatening and are mostly known for their benefits. They are given a bad reputation in horror movies, but snakes help control the insect and rodent population. They are essential and, when possible, should be left alone.  

Snakes in Virginia don’t build nests in your home or stay longer than a few days unless you have an abundant supply of food, like a rodent infestation. Snakes roaming near homes usually means there are rats, mice, voles, and moles.  

Understandably, many people fear snakes, and because one definition of nuisance wildlife is its ability to annoy you, it is okay to call a wildlife control expert to remove it from your property using their safe and humane tools.

Skunk Removal

Virginia’s coastal skunks are like raccoons; only they are less likely to make their presence known. Skunks are omnivorous, eating anything they can find. They, too, will rummage through garbage cans, raid gardens, steal pet food, and kill small livestock and rodents for a quick meal.  

Skunks typically stay in a location for three weeks or less before moving to a new environment. During their stay, however, they can damage the structure of decks and porches trying to get into your basement or crawlspaces. They like to hide in piles of rocks or logs around your yard. Skunks are most attracted to a property due to its rodent population.  

Permits are required to get rid of skunks, and local ordinances must be followed. Calling an expert is crucial since skunks are one of the few animals linked to rabies by the Centers for Disease Control.

How Hiring Professional Wildlife Control Services Can Help You

Hiring a professional wildlife expert helps you avoid handling urine and feces and breathing in mold spores. When you hire a professional, you can feel confident that they have:

  • Extensive training on habits and habitats of wildlife.
  • Safe and humane tools to remove wildlife.
  • Insurance, licensure, and proper permits for completing the job.
  • Excellent understanding of local, state, and federal laws.