Sometimes your habitat looks better to the critters than their own habitat. Then they show up and move in while you aren’t watching. That’s when we come in. We can go over your entire property and fix, repair, and seal any areas that need attention. In short the critters stay out so you can stay in. We can even install a one way door so that the critter is shut out and doesn’t even need to go through the traumatizing stresses of trapping. Next time you see that cute fuzzy little face she won’t be looking back at you from inside your own attic or crawl space.
Integration of Habitat Management and Animal Control
” If the only trick in your animal control tool bag is to show up with a trap in your hand you are not a good Wildlife Manager” my old professor would say. A deep understanding of the habits of each species is crucial. Better customer satisfaction can often be obtained through management of the surrounding habitat instead of making many expensive return trips. Understanding the species that you are dealing with is crucial.
No harm animal deterrent and exclusion
Many customer/wildlife conflicts can be resolved without harming the wildlife. We try, whenever possible, to provide solutions that do not harm the animals that we deal with and that have the best possible environmental impact.
Our techniques may be unusual or surprising; but they work. We never “decorate” a customer\’s property with useless plastic owls or scare eye balloons.
Animal damage repair
Wildlife can damage property through their nesting, feeding, or roosting activities. Most rodents have teeth designed to for gnawing and can create serious property damage. Generally speaking, wildlife can wreak havoc on your property. We are happy to help homeowners with repairs that need to me made after wildlife is evicted if possible.
Dealing with Groundhogs on Your Property
Groundhogs are common in this area. They show up in farmers’ fields, fencerows, roadsides, backyards, etc. If there is enough soil for them to burrow and vegetation to eat, they will happily build a home. Digging a burrow is a time consuming process and a groundhog that decides to begin a new burrow in the open exposes himself to predators. To reduce this risk, groundhogs choose to burrow, whenever possible, under something that protects them or reduces signs of their presence, anything will do. They will dig under buildings, brush piles, decks, patios, shrubbery, etc.
Burrowing under buildings can become a special problem. They move significant amounts of soil and burrows can unsettle foundations. Tunnels can run in excess of 25’ in length and up to 8’ in depth. One customer, who has had several groundhogs removed from under the foundations of his building, now has trouble opening the doors to the building due to settling. Groundhogs had lived under his building for many years.
Normally, squirrels, mice, and rats are the culprits responsible for chewed wiring. But, if wiring has been run in the area of a groundhog burrow, it is possible for them to chew the wiring causing fire hazards and destroying the wiring. Though rare, some customers even report groundhogs climbing into the engine compartment of vehicles to chew wiring.
I often tell my customers that groundhogs are the “building contractors of the small mammal world”. Other mammal species that use underground burrows readily use abandoned groundhog holes. Skunks, raccoons, opossums, and even coyotes will use groundhog holes to rear young and for cover. People who set up traps for groundhogs have a surprise waiting for them in the trap the next day. Additionally, there is no shortage of groundhogs in the area. Once the first is removed, another takes its place. One customer has had no less than four groundhogs removed from under his building in as many months. It is impossible to permanently remove all the groundhogs in an area.
To further complicate the process, groundhogs tend to wander from home to home. They often have summer and winter homes and also move from hole to hole in search of better forage. A groundhog hole may have an adult groundhog one day and be empty the next. Or, it may be home to an entirely different species another day like an opossum, raccoon, or skunk. Earlier this year we were called to remove a groundhog from a client’s property. A groundhog had been seen only two days prior to our arrival. We set up a trap over the groundhog hole so that escape from the hole was impossible; but nothing showed up in the trap. The trap over the hole was removed, but reset a few days later only to catch a raccoon. The hole was plugged and, as far as we know, no groundhog ever returned to the hole.
Groundhogs can have several holes, some of which are not interconnected and located significant distances from one another. Often groundhogs cross property lines and are only present on the customer’s property during certain periods of time. Holes can be a complex series of interconnected tunnels or just a single “jump hole” or escape hole. Holes can also be separated by significant distances and groundhogs often wander from hole complex to hole complex.
Excluding groundhogs from under buildings is the only long term solution to prevent severe property damage. Many times homeowners try to solve groundhog problems by plugging the groundhog’s hole with stone, bricks, or debris. This rarely works. Groundhogs are quite adept at burrowing around whatever obstacle they find. Groundhogs routinely run into obstacles when digging underground and understand how to deal with them. A brick tossed into the tunnel entrance is not a major challenge as long as there is soil around the brick that can be dug away or the brick itself can be dislodged. Earlier this year a groundhog pushed through an entire pile of brick that was stacked over a long standing groundhog hole. Groundhogs may even have another entrance to the tunnel waiting and will switch to the new entrance once the first is plugged or covered with a trap. Entrances under buildings must be thoroughly sealed with a heavy grade of screen wire. Wire mesh must be dug into the ground with an “L” shaped leg bent out underneath to discourage digging underneath the fence. Though it would not seem to be the case, removing groundhogs from your property can be very challenging. All these factors complicate groundhog work and can require the help of a professional.
How We Price Our Work
Every new customer wants to know what it will cost to have their work done. Unfortunately pricing in this industry is difficult. For example, all wildlife entrance holes in a home may not be readily visible; but they must all be sealed for success. So, we always start each job with an estimate and keep our clients up to date on our progress. If additional problems arise, we let clients know immediately.
Pricing is based on an hourly rate for exclusion work and a per visit fee for house calls such as trap pick up and drop off. Work such as removal of animals from under a structure are generally “per visit” based. The “per visit” charge is based on the distance that the client lives from our center of operations. We usually plan for at least three trips to the client’s home. The first to set up the traps then a second to remove the problem animal. The third run is made just to make sure that everything has been removed. We will make additional visits as needed and requested by the client.
Pricing of removal of animals that enter homes requires a different approach. We price by the hour to do exclusion work and also include several trapping visits to the clients home to remove the problem animals. Pricing varies depending on difficulty of access to work areas, height of work area off ground, number of access points to be sealed, etc. An estimate is provided once the problem areas are inspected. Equipment for the work is usually already on the truck and work can often begin on the first visit once an estimate is completed and approved.