Wild Things: Dealing with Critters in Your Home

Spring is the time of year when critters look for good places to have their babies. Sometimes, this means they find their way into people's homes, especially attics. The most common animals people encounter in their homes are raccoons, squirrels, skunks and birds, especially house sparrows and starlings.

The best way to stop this from happening is make sure there aren't any weak spots on your home's exterior that animals can use as an access point, and eliminate any possible items that might attract them to your yard such as food, water and shelter. Make sure garbage cans have lids and can't be accessed, and eliminate food and water sources in your yard.

If you find an animal in your home, try to get the animal to leave on its own by shining a light in the area and/or creating noise. Typically animals will move out on their own if you make it unpleasant for them, according to Willowbrook Wildlife Center naturalist Stephanie Touzalin. Give them time to move out and get their babies as well before you seal up the hole, she said.

Touzalin does not recommend trying to trap the animal because that requires a permit and an approved spot to release it.

Skunks like to locate under porches, sheds or decks. You can discourage them from moving into these locations by putting an ammonia-soaked rag in the area. But Touzalin said you should not use ammonia if there are babies that aren't mobile yet in the den.

If you suspect you have a critter living in your house, call Willowbrook Wildlife Center at 630-942- 6200 for help on how to get it out.  

Other helpful resources:
Living with Raccoons
Living with Skunks
Living with Squirrels 

Touzalin talks more about how to deal with critters in your home on Wild Things on WDCB Radio (90.9 FM).    


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