What Are the Major Wildlife Removal Concerns in Northern Shenandoah, Virginia?
Northern Shenandoah, Virginia, has experienced changes in recent years to its forests, grasslands, mountains, and other wildlife habitats. Forest fires, climate changes, and land developments make it challenging for the animals living there to find food, water, and shelter. This is one reason wildlife can be seen everywhere in Northern Shenandoah, even in neighborhoods and occasionally in homes. Wildlife on your property can be a nuisance, defined by law as a species found committing or about to commit depredation to your landscaping, pets, home, vehicles, crops, livestock, or other wildlife.
Virginia further explains nuisance wildlife by clarifying the animal groups excluded from being nuisances. These groups include those listed as endangered or threatened, game or fur-bearing, or protected by the state or federal government.
Fortunately, it is possible to get rid of wildlife nuisances, even the ones protected by law, with the help of wildlife control operators. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources recommends hiring a professional who understands hunting, trapping, and removal laws. This remover will have the correct permits and licenses to do the job legally.
The most common nuisance wildlife in Northern Shenandoah includes raccoons, bats, rats, mice, skunks, snakes, squirrels, native and non-native birds, groundhogs, and rabbits. Below are examples of how some of these animals create problems.
Raccoon Removal in Virginia
Having a nuisance raccoon means you can expect a range of mild behaviors, such as opening trash cans and scattering trash, or severe damage to landscapes, livestock, crops, and structures, including your home. Raccoons seek food, water, and shelter. These omnivores eat plants, small animals, pet feed, and more. Scan your property to assess food sources that may attract raccoons, such as birdseed, bird eggs, garden crops, fruits, nuts, grains, chickens, frogs, fish, and insects.
You may not see raccoons in action because they are primarily nocturnal. If you do see one, you may think it is cute with its black mask, fuzzy, striped tail, and hands that appear to be gloved. These traits are fitting for a bandit like a raccoon. The male raccoon lives and travels between three and twenty miles, while the female rarely travels over six miles. These animals leave plenty of signs wherever they go.
Raccoon hands are amazing and similar to human hands; they help these critters climb chimneys, soffits, and trees, especially if it leads to an attic entry. Even though raccoons can be the size of a large cat, they only need a four-inch space to enter your home. They won't hesitate to bend or break vents and caps leading to your attic. Inside your home, you will find shredded insulation, chewed boards and wires, and piles of feces in one area. Outside, raccoons will break shingles, gutters, and siding. You will find holes in your lawn, missing crops, and dead birds and chickens.
Hiring professional wildlife technicians, like those at Critter Control, is recommended for getting rid of raccoons, considered a fur-bearing game in Virginia. The pros know which permits and licenses are necessary for trapping. They also know the regulations regarding having a raccoon tested for rabies. Most experts have safe and humane traps. If trapping between April and August, they know how to remove a mother with her babies. A professional animal remover can even implement exclusion techniques to prevent future raccoon visits, including permanently closing entry points and removing food and water resources.
Bat Problems in Shenandoah, Virginia
Seventeen bat species exist in Virginia. The bats that may be roosting in your attic in Northern Shenandoah are the big and little brown bats, evening bats, and Brazilian free-tailed bats. When you know you have a bat or colony of bats in your home or other structure on your property, call an expert for help. Bats are one of the most legally protected wildlife due to decreased populations caused by diseases, wind turbines, climate change, and deforestation.
Virginia law states you cannot "harass, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, collect, etc. endangered or threatened species." Do not make the mistake of trying to get rid of bats alone and end up in legal trouble. Most species of bats in this area are non-game protected. If bats are a nuisance on your property, an expert wildlife controller can discuss your options.
Nuisance behaviors of bats include the buildup of guano, or feces, which can carry fungal spores. If humans breathe in the spores, they risk having respiratory issues and getting very sick. Guano also contains acids that corrode wood, metal, and other materials. It causes ugly, sometimes permanent stains on buildings where bats roost.
Bats are incredible and an essential part of our ecosystem. They can't see very well, so they use a sonar called echolocation to find and capture insects. They consume thousands of insects each night, protecting us from becoming overtaken by bugs. They pollinate plants and disperse seeds that help with reforestation. Bat behaviors save over a billion dollars annually by preventing crop damage. Without bats, we would have to spend that money on pesticides that affect the environment and human health.
Wildlife technicians have humane ways to remove bats from your property. More importantly, they do so without violating laws, such as the ones that apply to mating and maternity season. Removing or tempting bats to move between May and August when babies are born and learning to survive is illegal. You can begin the removal process only when the babies can fly out of a roost on their own, often in mid to late August.
Critter Control professionals will seal all entry points bats use to enter your structure. They also help you exclude future bat stays by eliminating outdoor night lighting, stagnant water, manure, and other things that attract insects.
Rat and Mice Problems Near Shenandoah
Out of the ten types of rats and mice in Virginia, the Norway rat and the house mouse are the most common nuisances in residents' homes in Northern Shenandoah. While you do not need permits or licenses to get rid of rodents, hiring a professional to take care of the problem is still a good idea. There are many reasons why, an important one being female rats and mice can reproduce several times a year, giving birth to six or more in each litter.
You may think you only have one or two hiding in your home when you have an infestation. Knowing how to trap all of these animals with the right bait is challenging. House mice are tiny, only needing a hole the size of a dime to enter a space. Picture a mother mouse with ten babies living between your walls. Rats can squeeze through anything the size of a quarter. Imagine multiple rats making a nest in your HVAC ducts.
Additional damages by rats and mice include chewed electrical wires, contaminated groceries, and trails of feces and urine. Waste trails are usually less than fifty feet from a nest since rodents don't travel far from their food sources. In their travels, mice and rats memorize the surroundings. Introducing something new, like a trap, can make some rodents avoid it, except when using the correct bait.
The Norway rat can eat up to 1/3 of its body weight in 24 hours, and the house mouse consumes 1/10. That's a lot of contaminated food and waste. These critters need very little water to survive. They also burrow underground, which can make home foundations and driveways unstable. Rats and mice gather household materials to build nests—items like carpet, insulation, toilet paper, newspapers, paper from books, etc.
Nuisance wildlife experts know how to control rat and mouse populations, including exclusions such as sealing access holes and properly storing pet and human foods.
Squirrel Removal in Virginia
The Eastern gray squirrel, American red squirrel, fox squirrel, and Southern flying squirrel are typical nuisance wildlife in Northern Shenandoah. If you have nuisance squirrels, you must know how to identify which squirrel is causing problems. Believe it or not, squirrel species differ in several ways, including food preferences.
All squirrels eat seeds, nuts, flower buds, small bird eggs, fruits, berries, corn, garden crops, bark, and fungi. How they store them is different. Gray squirrels store acorns and other nuts in various places underground but near their nest. They will access the storage spots during winter.
Red squirrels pile up all their findings, food, and nesting items, into one large mound. If you have squirrels in your attic, this pile could be there too. Sometimes it is as large enough to fill a trash bag. Flying squirrels eat small birds, eggs, insects, and waste-containing edibles. They may store this in your attic too. The smell that lingers through your air system is awful.
To enter your home, squirrels may gnaw through vents, caps, siding, and wood. Pay attention to the size of the hole. Gray squirrels typically chew holes the size of baseballs, red squirrels the size of a golf ball, and flying squirrels the size of a quarter. All squirrels gnaw electrical wires, window frames, carpets, and floors. Like other rodents, they chew on most materials to keep their teeth filed. If they do not gnaw, their teeth grow too big and become painful.
If a squirrel is causing problems on your property, contact a wildlife expert for help. A professional can ensure the lawful capture and removal of squirrels and their young that may be found in a nest. Squirrels are fur-bearing game animals in Northern Shenandoah, requiring licenses and permits during particular seasons.
Squirrels carry parasites with bacteria that can affect humans and animals, like ticks with Lyme disease and multiple co-infections, bot fly larvae, fleas, mange, and more. Let the experts with safety gear handle the dirty work, including clearing waste and applying sanitization treatments. They can also seal holes and cracks to prevent squirrels from entering your home in the future.
Woodchuck Removal in Shenandoah
Whether you call them woodchucks, groundhogs, or whistle pigs, this wildlife causes damage to personal and agricultural properties. They are chunky members of the squirrel family, making them large rodents with big teeth that help them chew, gnaw, and chisel.
Woodchucks live underground and, during winter, go into total hibernation. The rest of the time, they steal food to store in their dens, such as legumes, vegetables, grasses, hay, straw, and clover. They become a nuisance when they create large, expansive tunnels underground. Some will create numerous tunnels, with their den at the center, allowing them to travel miles while staying beneath the surface.
Underground burrows cause instability in the land and for any structures sitting on top of the burrows. Most structures affected include swimming pools, homes, sheds, sidewalks, and driveways. Tree roots are often damaged, killing the tree and any fruit it may produce. Another danger is for livestock that accidentally steps into a woodchuck hole. They can easily break a leg.
Getting rid of woodchucks can be challenging unless you contact a wildlife expert. Repellants, toxicants, and scare devices are available, but sealing the burrow entry points is essential. Experts know which type of fence to use and the best dimensions for each one.
Preventing Woodpecker Damage in Virginia
Birds of all species can be nuisances, but the woodpecker can do extensive and costly damage to your home. Their beaks are like miniature drills, allowing them to create holes in trees, wood beams, siding, decks, and porches. Woodpeckers don't typically pick a spot and start drilling. They are pecking at insects found in the structures.
Drilling or drumming is also a sign of creating a nesting site, calling a mate, and marking territories. The holes left behind invite insect and small animal infestations. When it rains, water will fill the hole, potentially leading to the interior of your home and supporting leaks and mold growth.
Wildlife control operators can help you change the details of your property so it does not attract woodpeckers. A few examples are using insecticides to repel bugs, installing netting in trees and on your home's roof, and replacing wood with materials woodpeckers do not like.
Allowing an expert to handle your woodpecker problem can save you significant legal troubles because a professional will understand the regulations for removal. In Virginia, it is illegal to trap, kill, or poison woodpeckers. You cannot destroy a woodpecker's nest or any eggs inside a nest. The Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act protects them. Of the eight woodpecker species in this area, the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker is protected under the Endangered Species Act.