Problem Wildlife in the House
Wild animals need food and shelter just like people. Animals may move into basements, attics, or garages in search of a place to live. They may also be attracted to food such as garbage, pet food, or birdseed. When this happens, it's not safe for the people or pets in the home or the wildlife. Wild animals can damage electrical wiring and destroy insulation. They can also carry diseases like rabies, or parasites such as fleas and ticks into your home. Never approach a wild animal and keep children and pets away from all wildlife. Contact your local animal control officer if you suspect a wild animal is sick.
- Know your pest! Its habits, preferences and needs will determine your control strategy. Your local Cooperative Extension Service or state wildlife agency can help.
- Periodically check for openings in the roof, under the porch, or to the basement. Cover or seal openings to prevent wildlife problems.
- Keep your garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids. A metal container may be needed to keep out persistent wildlife.
- If pets are fed outside, empty their bowls after they are finished eating. Store pet food indoors or in heavy-duty containers.
- Find out how the animals are getting into your home. Block entrances with durable materials like wire mesh or sheet metal.
- Seal all cracks and openings, including holes for wiring. A persistent animal can widen almost any crevice or opening.
- Birds or other animals may get trapped in chimneys or use them to enter your home. Special caps or dampers are available to block chimneys.
- Many animals enter homes by way of the roof. Trim overhanging branches at least 8 to 10 feet away from the home.
- State and federal laws protect many animals, including most birds and their nests. Always check with your state wildlife agency before disturbing, trapping or poisoning a wild animal.
- If you are concerned about disease or the risk of being bitten, consider seeking professional help. Many counties provide 'animal control' services.
- Mothballs are not animal repellents. If you choose to use a pesticide, always follow the label. Try a lower toxicity product first. Only use products designed for use in your home and for the type of wildlife you want to control.
If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information on Specific Types of Wildlife
- State Contacts, Fish & Wildlife Officials - US Fish and Wildlife Service
- Principles of Vertebrate Pest Management - Washington State University Extension
- Nuisance Wildlife - Ohio Department of Natural Resources
- Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles (Vertebrate Pests) - University of California Integrated Pest Management Program
- Living with Wildlife in Illinois: Frequently Asked Questions - University of Illinois Extension
- Batty About Bats - University of Arizona Extension
- Permanently Excluding Unwanted Bats - Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
- Bats - US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Bats in Houses - Maryland Department of Natural Resources
- Bats in and Around Structures - University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension
- Barn and Cliff Swallows - Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
- Woodpeckers: Damage, Prevention and Control - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- Urban Pest Birds: Controlling Damage - University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension
- Chimney Swifts - Maryland Department of Natural Resources
- Controlling Nuisance Blackbirds in Roosts - University of Missouri Extension
- Raccoons - University of California Integrated Pest Management Program
- Raccoon (Procyon lotor) - University of Illinois Extension
- Raccoons: Preventing and Controlling Property Damage - Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
- Raccoon Control - Missouri Department of Conservation
- Skunk Damage Control (video) - Missouri Department of Conservation
- Skunks - University of California Integrated Pest Management Program
- Skunk Control - Missouri Department of Conservation
- Striped Skunk: Damage Prevention and Control Measures - University of Illinois Extension
- Dealing with Skunks - University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension
- Control of Tree Squirrel Damage - University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension
- Living with Wildlife in Illinois: Tree Squirrels - University of Illinois Extension
- Tree Squirrels - Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife