While people are well aware of some of the wildlife species that have adapted to living around people, some go unseen and people may not realize how close they live with these wild animals. At times, co-existing with wildlife results in these animals becoming a nuisance/pest and occasionally may even pose a health risk to the humans they live near. They do however possess some interesting and not always well-known characteristics.
Squirrels for example are found in nearly every region of The United States. A group of squirrels is known as a scurry and they are extremely territorial. They will fight, sometimes to the death, to defend their territory. Mother squirrels can be extremely vicious when protecting their young. Nesting often occurs in attics and chimneys in both spring and fall. In order to keep them out, sturdy attic vent guards and chimney caps are recommended. Homeowners should also keep trees trimmed back at least 8 feet from the home to help prevent access.
Raccoons are the masked bandits of many residential areas. They will consume almost anything including fish from backyard ponds, poultry from pens, stolen eggs, and even trash when living amongst humans. They are extremely smart and highly adaptable. Their paws are highly sensitive, especially in water, even when they cannot see what they are touching; they are capable of sensing it. Their finger-like toes are capable of grasping much like human fingers. Raccoons can even open doorknobs, drawers, and cabinets given the opportunity. Homeowners should store trash cans and recycling bins in sealed areas or with animal-proof lids to keep raccoons out. Raccoons, like squirrels, like to nest in attics and chimneys as well as under low lying decks and elevated sheds/outbuildings.
Bats are often protected by law. Prior to bat-proofing your home, you should always check with state wildlife services to find out if they are protected in your area. The best time to bat-proof your home is in the fall after the bats have migrated. This will ensure that all bats have left the premises. Bat proofing during summer can result in baby bats dying in the nursery due to their mothers’ inability to access them. Bats are also known carriers of rabies and should only be handled by a professional.
Voles, also known as meadow mice or field mice may be small in size, but they are found in most regions of the country. They are capable of large amounts of destruction and may cause severe damage to orchards, field crops, lawns, and even golf courses due to their tunneling, feeding on roots, and girdling of trees.