Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wildlife In The Attic - A Career Option You May Have Overlooked

It is early morning and you're awakened by the unmistakable patter of running feet in your attic. You quickly dismiss the thought that it is a thief. It's too small and besides, what thief would be running around the attic? Perhaps, it's a raccoon or a skunk then? How about a simple country mouse?

And you quickly come to the core of the problem. Once you know it's an animal up there, who are you going to call for aid? Not Ghostbusters, definitely. And surely, not SWAT. What are they going to do; shoot the poor thing?
The rapid growth of urban and suburban areas across the country is eating into the natural habitats of many animals. These displaced animals camp out in your backyard, make their home on your porch or slip into your attic.

These animals, though generally harmless, are indirectly dangerous. They can be like recalcitrant house pets and chew on your electrical wiring which can cause a fire. They will eat holes into your roof and ceiling as well and let the rain in.

Health-wise, there is no telling what diseases these wild animals carry: rabies is very high on the list. Bird or bat droppings that are allowed to accumulate in eaves and attics carry the risk of diseases such as histoplasmosis. And what homeowner would be happy when, on stepping outside for a breath of fresh air, he is confronted by the sight of a skunk family having feasting on his garden?

The increasing number of animal-human encounters has bred the need for wildlife management professionals who have the knowledge, equipment and experience to help homeowners deal with such problems.

--- The Growth of Wildlife Management ---

Admittedly, nuisance wildlife management was not really needed before. Then, there was a distinct border line between human and wildlife habitats. Population growth and urban/suburban expansion meant that people were 'trespassing' into traditional wildlife habitats. Most wildlife - especially the smaller ones - quickly learned to adapt to the human invasion.

Homes may be for humans, but wildlife can find a warm, comfortable nest in human households. Food is easy to find; they just need to dig around the garbage. If they're herbivores, humans are prone to planting gardens (both ornamental and vegetable) where the food is out there for the picking. Most homes have numerous nooks and crannies, as well as insulation (especially in cold areas) which provide a warm and safe environment for raising animal families.

Animals mean humans no harm. However, these animals can still present a danger to the humans in the house.

This is where wildlife management professionals come in. They have the training, temperament and equipment to handle the problem professionally, efficiently and humanely. They take special care not to harm the wildlife and they are forever looking for ways to reduce the conflict between humans and wildlife.

--- Prevention is the Key ---

The primary role of a wildlife management professional is to stop a problem from happening, and the best way to do this is by helping homeowners prevent it from happening in the first place.

If you're a homeowner in a recently developed urban/suburban area - one which was only recently uninhabited - it would be best to call in a wildlife expert to check out your house. If you want to do it yourself, check out your home's roof as well as sidings for entry points that wildlife can use.

Check out your chimney to ensure that no animal has moved in that way. Also have a regulated chimney cap installed. Inspect your porch, your roof and your sidings for holes where animals can comfortably burrow. Get up into the attic and check your attic screens and look for animal tracks. Torn screens and animal tracks are sure signs that an animal has either taken up residence with you, or is about to move in.

If there are animals already in residence, call in a wildlife management expert to evict them for you.

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