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Stay Safe! Why Wildlife Removal Is Not DIY

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There are plenty of great DIY projects out there. From home improvement to outdoor gardens and painting, the satisfaction of a successful DIY project is undeniable. Plus, in many instances, doing something yourself can save money compared to hiring a professional. But some projects aren’t worth doing yourself. Wildlife removal is one of those projects. We’re not talking about spraying for ants. We’re talking about wild animals that can inhabit your home or property.

As humans build farther and farther out into the hills, forests, deserts, and other wild areas, encounters with wildlife are becoming more common. Unfortunately, those encounters usually end up worse for the animals than the people. It is important to realize that you are moving into their home, and you can’t just expect wildlife to disappear when you build your home. Wild animals should be treated with respect and care, and whenever possible, they should be removed alive. Of course, to do that, you’ll need more than just a DIY spirit. Wildlife removal is a job for trained professionals. Here’s why wildlife removal is not a DIY project.

Stay Safe! Why Wildlife Removal Is Not DIY [infographic]

The Danger of Wildlife Removal

One reason to leave wildlife removal to the pros is that it can be a dangerous business. Without the proper training and tools, you could easily be injured or sickened by wild animals. 

Animal Bites

Wild animals are… wild. Raccoons, opossums, and even smaller animals like squirrels will bite if they feel afraid. And those bites can be seriously dangerous.

First of all, an animal bite is a wound that needs to be treated. Depending on the size of the animal and the location of the bite, an animal bite may require bandaging, stitches, or even surgery.

But what makes a wild animal bite more dangerous than a regular wound is the pathogens that may come with it. Wild animals carry many germs and parasites that can make humans sick. Some of the most dangerous and difficult to contain human diseases, including coronavirus, AIDS, and even bubonic plague, first spread to humans from animals. One of the most dangerous diseases carried by wild mammals in human areas is rabies, a severe illness that can easily kill humans if not treated quickly.

Snakes pose a particular danger. While many species are mostly harmless, it can be hard to tell a venomous species from its lookalikes. Many nonvenomous species have developed markings that mimic more dangerous snakes as a way of scaring off potential predators. That makes it challenging to determine what sort of snake you are dealing with. If you find a snake living in your home, under your deck, or somewhere else where it could harm humans, you need to call a professional to remove it. In most cases, professionals can safely capture a snake alive and release it into a more suitable habitat.

Animal Waste

In addition to the danger of live animals, animal waste can also spread disease. If animals have taken up residence in your attic, walls, or basement, the safest thing to do is leave them alone and call a professional. Animal nests are usually full of animal waste, both fecal matter and nesting materials that are soaked in urine. Disturbing this waste can send microscopic bits flying into the air, where they are inhaled by unsuspecting humans, along with some nasty diseases. Bat guano is notorious for its plethora of harmful bacteria. The last thing you want to do is take that into your lungs.

Birds and bats pose a particular problem when they roost in your attic, soffits, outdoor beams, and other architectural features. They can leave waste that is unsightly, unhealthy, and damaging to paint and surfaces. Removing these pests involves remediating a large amount of animal waste, which should only be done by professionals with appropriate protective gear and breathing apparatuses.

Legal Issues With Wildlife Removal

In addition to the physical danger of DIY wildlife removal, removing wild animals yourself could land you in legal hot water. A wide variety of animals in Georgia and other states require permits for removal. Many of these even have official hunting and trapping seasons. So trapping or killing wildlife without the proper permits could be illegal.

The specific laws regulating hunting and animal trapping vary from state to state. In some states, the law is different when you hunt on your own land. Some states also have exceptions for animals that pose a threat to humans or livestock. Before trapping or killing any small game—that includes raccoons, opossums, squirrels, rabbits, foxes, bobcats, and others—you should find out which laws apply to you. You may or may not be allowed to kill or remove them. Or, of course, you could just leave it to properly licensed professionals.

In addition to regular hunting regulations, some animals may be considered protected. And even if you catch an animal alive, you need to be careful where you release it. It is generally illegal to release any animal on public land, whether that’s a local park or national forest. So if you capture a squirrel or snake, you can’t just let it out at the nearest neighborhood park.

Elimination vs. Exclusion

There are generally two ways to deal with wildlife that is living in your home. You can either kill them or remove them. In most cases, it is better to remove them, and not just for the animal’s sake. If you use poison or another method that kills the animals infesting your home, you may be in for more problems. If animals die inside your home, you could be left with dad animals trapped inside your walls, resulting in awful odors and dangerous pathogens.

The best way to handle wildlife is to remove it alive and release it in an appropriate location. Once that is done, you need to find the right way to prevent wildlife from returning. The appropriate exclusion measures depend on which animals you are dealing with. For birds, you may need to install netting that prevents them from getting into your attic, and needles that keep them from roosting on your beams. To prevent small mammals from entering your home, you need to inspect your home and seal small cracks and holes that could allow squirrels or other small mammals to enter. Larger mammals like raccoons and opossums are often drawn by trash, so it’s crucial to secure trash bins and ensure that there is no food available to pests.

Figuring out exactly how to remove pests and how to prevent them from returning is not always easy. Trained professionals can identify the problem areas and resolve them in a way that prevents future infestation.

If you want to find the best solution to your wildlife infestation problems, don’t do it yourself. Contact a TrustDALE certified wildlife removal expert and leave it to the pros.