5 Animals That Cause the Most Damage to Your Home
Soft and furry doesn’t always mean friendly and cuddly. When it comes to the health, comfort, and safety of your family and pets, the following creatures should be kept as far away as possible from your property. The last thing you want is to find these animals in the walls of your house and potentially causing thousands of dollars in damage.
How to Get Rid of Groundhogs Under Your House
Even though groundhogs seem to be cute and comical critters, they can actually do considerable damage in yards and in houses when they build dens under residential properties. A groundhog will not only ransack your garden and dig up your lawn, the creature may also burrow under your house. Given the speed at which it digs and the amount of dirt it can excavate, the groundhog can do tremendous damage to the underside of a house by loosening the ground on which the structure is built. This type of pest behavior is most concerning in areas where homes are commonly built on slab foundations.
After checking your municipality’s rules on removing and relocating pest animals, you can live-trap the groundhog and move it to another location. Bait your trap with sweet fruits or berries such as cantaloupe, strawberries, or peaches. They also like string beans, peas, and lettuce. Set the trap about 3 feet from a burrow entrance.
Still concerned about groundhogs under your house? Learn more on how to repel groundhogs.
How Do Opossums Get in Your House?
Most people simply think of opossums as nothing more than roadkill, but like other furry invaders, these marsupials are also frequent visitors to residential properties. An indiscriminate eater, the opossum will devour everything from garbage to carrion, though these creatures’ natural diet includes rodents, bugs, and a wide variety of plants. Its varied diet naturally draws it to human habitations that offer ample and unsecured secondhand food for rummaging.
So how do opossums get in your house? As agile climbers, opossums can easily make their way into an attic through slits and holes in the eaves and vents. Thanks to its repulsive smell and the size of its droppings, the opossum is responsible for some of the stinkiest infestations of any North American animal short of a skunk.
What Draws Raccoons to Your Home?
With their adorable bandit mask and fluffy fur, it’s easy to be amused by a raccoon — but when a mama raccoon nests inside your house, your good feelings will quickly fade. Raccoons are primarily drawn toward houses that unintentionally provide them with food sources, such as bird feed, pet food, and poorly sealed garbage containers. Once a raccoon has picked through the outside of your property, the inside of a house can be quite inviting, especially during late winter when a female seeks shelter to bear her young. Raccoons typically nest inside attics — where they’re liable to tear away at insulation and gnaw electrical wires, which can pose a fire hazard.
How Do Skunks Damage a Home?
Everyone is afraid of skunks, simply because of the powerful, long-lasting, and stinky liquid that the creature sprays in self-defense. Even if you aren’t so unlucky to cross paths with this two-toned omnivore, any skunk in your area is liable to hide under your house or patio when seeking refuge from winter conditions.
These creatures are primarily drawn to properties that offer easy access to food and shelter, so any home that’s not adequately fenced or properly reinforced could be a target in areas where populations fester. A skunk can even access your crawl space by tearing away a ventilation screen.
Once a skunk has established a den under or inside your home, its lingering smell will be cause enough to have it removed. The real problem comes during the removal process, when the skunk may spray defensively and the odor permeates through your entire home. Removing the smell can take hours of work and hundreds of dollars in cleaning supplies.
What Are the Signs of Squirrel Damage?
When it comes to the squirrel, teeth are both its biggest asset and primary burden. On one hand, the squirrel’s big teeth allow the creature to chew through all of its favored foods, such as acorns, seeds, and walnuts. Trouble is, those teeth never stop growing, and constant chewing keeps those teeth trimmed down. This “chewing drive” can be very problematic to homeowners once squirrels make their way into homes where none of the creature’s preferred foods are present. Inside, they will start chewing through anything that isn’t metal.
Squirrel damage won’t be obvious at first. You’re most likely to hear squirrels first – a rustling in the ceiling or the sound of grinding as they gnaw away at some wood. With that clue, it’s time look for droppings in the attic, damage outside that indicates an entry point, wood chips in unexpected places, unexpected “water” damage on a wall or ceiling, a dead-animal smell and damage to your roof.
What Animals Have Invaded Your Home?
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