Reports claim Norfolk is a hot spot for climate change and particularly at risk of flooding. Prevention measures include building flood barriers that will protect the residents. Along with climate change, Norfolk is expanding with new residences, offices, and entertainment places built throughout the bay area.
While protection and expansion are positive developments for Norfolk residents, they strain local wildlife, who lose their food, water, and shelter sources. Squirrels, deer, raccoons, bats, snakes, frogs, birds, skunks, opossums, beavers, groundhogs, and hundreds of other native and non-native wildlife species must search for new sources in a new area. Most of the time, the new area is your neighborhood.
The more human and wildlife encounters that occur, the more likely the wildlife will become a nuisance, which Virginia defines as an animal that:
- Causes an annoyance or disturbance.
- Threatens the health of humans.
- Damages or destroys property.
Virginia allows Hampton Road homeowners to resolve a nuisance wildlife issue on their property. Still, you must have the proper permitting, licenses, and a good understanding of the laws regarding endangered or threatened species’ protections. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources recommends hiring a nuisance wildlife trapper. They provide a trapper finder tool on their website.
Keep reading to find out how wildlife control experts handle common nuisances in Norfolk.
Removing a raccoon from your property in Norfolk requires obtaining the correct permit outside trapping season, having a valid license in season, and following local ordinances. You cannot relocate a raccoon to another property due to its potential for spreading disease. You may need to contact the local DWR to see if testing the raccoon for a disease is necessary. Virginia is one of six states where raccoons have been found to carry diseases that affect the central nervous system.
Raccoons in Norfolk are about the size of a large cat. They have permanent masks and striped tails. Despite what many think, raccoons can be seen searching for food and water during the day. If they behave normally, they are not typically dangerous and will flee. If they behave oddly, like moving towards you or staggering, move to a safe place and call for help. Most of the time, though, raccoons will scavenge mostly at night.
Raccoons are attracted to all kinds of food sources, including scraps in trash cans, fish in ponds, garden crops, rodents, bird eggs, birds, chickens, and insects. They can wreak havoc on your unprotected landscape and livestock. If they find a good source of food on your property, they will build a nest nearby, which may be in your attic if they can access it.
Raccoons have human-like hands that help them rip, tear, climb, shred, and open most objects, such as screens, boards, and caps covering the opening of your chimney or attic. Once inside your home, raccoons will shred insulation, scratch walls and flooring, and leave piles of feces and urine, which can grow mold spores humans should not inhale.
Raccoons leave greasy smudges on things they rub against, like siding, walls, chimneys, and floors. And beware, raccoons have been known to enter a home through an unlocked pet door if they think they can access food.
Raccoon Under Norfolk House
This mom raccoon wiggled her way under a home to a enclosed area.She wanted nothing to do with the traps we put out at her entry point after a few days of no results. We spoke with the owners of the home the last resort was to cut a hole in the hardwood floor to get at the raccoon and her babies. They said "lets go for it."
So we made the cut and we hit pay dirt the entry point was so small the mom raccoon could not get out fast enough. We put the catch pole on her then retrieved the little ones and they were brought to a local wildlife rehabiliator.
Rat and Mice Control
The City of Norfolk lists the Norway rat, house mouse, and roof rat as public health concerns in our area. They recognize the rodent population is growing too fast and that something must be done to control it. If you see one mouse or rat on your property, there are likely ten or more living nearby. Rats and mice reproduce often and can have six or more litters in twelve months. With each litter, six or more newborns can arrive. The math is frightening. Just one female rodent can have at least 36 babies in a year.
Even worse, female rodents can begin reproducing after six weeks. If the original litter has at least three females, six weeks later, you could have four rodents pregnant with six or more babies simultaneously. Most rodents will only travel up to 300 feet away from their nest to find food and water. They travel this same route repeatedly, making them extremely wary of anything new, like a bait trap.
Because rats and mice spread multiple diseases directly and indirectly, it is essential to know the right baits and traps to use and how and where to place them when getting rid of rats and mice. Type, size, location, preferred baits, and number must all be considered. Rat and mouse removal can take weeks or months when done correctly, longer if not.
You will know if you have a mouse or rat problem if you notice nests, droppings and urine trails, scattered food pieces, gnawed or chewed wood, plastic, carpet, drywall, etc. Rats and mice have teeth that continue to grow as they age. They chew on anything, even siding and metal screens, to keep them filed. Do not wait to contact a wildlife control expert when you see rat or mouse activity signs.
Squirrels are rodents, but their activity differs slightly from rats and mice. Getting rid of squirrels is much different than other rodents. A permit from the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources is required in some circumstances, and in hunting season, a license may be required to remove squirrels. All activities must follow local ordinances.
All five Virginia squirrels love to raid bird feeders, bird nests for eggs, and gardens for fruits and vegetables. They eat seeds, grains, nuts, flowers, and tree bark. They dig holes in the yard, scrape trees, break limbs, climb chimneys, dent gutters and soffits, and chew on everything.
Like rats and mice, squirrels gnaw to keep their teeth filed, making their teeth and bite stronger as they age. They will chew wires, siding, shingles, thin metal screens, wood, and plastic. Because they can chew through most materials, they can easily access your attic, chimney, crawlspace, or basement. Flying squirrels are the biggest culprits. Once inside, they create nests, sometimes in hazardous locations like vents and pipes.
Squirrels collect treasures to store near their nests, leaving a big mess on your property. While cute and fun to watch, squirrels can cause damage, costing you a lot of money.
At least 17 bat species have been documented in Virginia. It is illegal to transport, release, or relocate a bat to any other property than where it was found. It is against federal law to harass, hunt, capture, or harm a bat on a state or federal protection list. Currently, seven bats are federal or state-protected. For example, the little brown bat is on Virginia’s endangered species list due to the white-nose syndrome killing many of them.
The most common bats in Norfolk neighborhoods are the big brown, little brown, Brazilian free-tailed, and evening bats. Some roost alone, and others roost in colonies mostly made of mothers and their babies. During maternity season, which begins in the Spring and ends in the Fall, you must leave bats alone.
Bats are essential for the ecosystem. Every bat can eat thousands of insects a night. If you have bats on your property, start searching for sources of insects, like outdoor lighting that comes on at night, stagnant water, and animal manure.
The problem with bats is their guano and the fact that they can grow mold spores that, if inhaled by humans, can cause respiratory problems. Guano also contains an acid that can erode wood and metal and leaves ugly stains on walls, floors, and siding.
Removing a bat on your own is not recommended for several reasons. One is to prevent being bitten. While less than 1% of bats carry rabies, they can harbor bacteria that will cause an infection. Bats roost upside down, meaning their guano runs down their entire body, covering their fur, before landing on the floor. If you touch a bat, you will be handling the guano. You are right; it’s gross.
Like bats, the mere thought of having a snake in your home or property makes many people fearful. Snakes and bats are, for the most part, harmless and essential for the balance of the ecosystem. They will only become aggressive when they feel threatened.
However, no one should have to live in fear on their property. Calling an expert to remove a snake is a good idea, especially if you do not know the difference between non-venomous and the three types of Virginia venomous snakes. Another reason is that if you have snakes near your house, you likely also have a rat and mouse problem, the preferred food of snakes.
Wildlife experts have tools to corral and store a captured snake, like snake poles and traps. They can also locate the food sources attracting snakes to your home, including small rodents such as rats, mice, voles, and moles. They can simultaneously eliminate multiple nuisance wildlife issues.
Skunks and Opossums
Special permits are required to take care of nuisance skunks and opossums on your property. You must also follow all local ordinances. Skunks and opossums in Norfolk are like raccoons in behavior and mannerisms. If they are on your property, they have found a good source of food, which can include garbage, small rodents, fish, insects, garden crops, beehives, and pet feed. They will root through anything left out in the open. Skunks and opossums are likelier to create a den in a crawlspace, basement, or underneath a deck or porch.
Skunks and opossums destroy gardens, lawns, siding, and other exterior home materials. Inside they will damage walls, flooring, and any items stored in the area. Like raccoons, seeing them in the daytime is not a sign of rabies, but it is still a good idea to call an expert to determine if it is dangerous and for removal.
How Professional Wildlife Control Services Can Help You
Besides helping you avoid handling feces and urine, hiring an expert ensures the following:
- Local, state, and federal laws are followed.
- Wildlife removal is safe and humane.
- Experts provide inspection, removal, and repairs.
- Experts are licensed, certified, and insured.
- Experts have completed the Virginia Wildlife Control Training Program.