Our wildlife management professionals at Minuteman Pest Control are Massachusetts’ certified problem animal control [PAC] agents. They have had extensive training in humane handling, capture techniques, animal welfare, diseases and parasites, and follow all Massachusetts statutes and regulations.
Has life in your house gone wild? Our problem wildlife service can help.
INSPECTION… Do you hear the pitter-patter of little paws between your walls?
Wild animals that have taken up residence in your home or business not only are a serious health risk, but can cause substantial damage to the structure of your house or building. Minuteman Pest Control and Problem Wildlife can identify the type of animal, find the point of entry, and make recommendations for the remediation.
REMOVAL…Do you need to evict uninvited “houseguests”?
It is important to have animals that have entered your building removed because of the threat of animal bites and diseases, including rabies. We follow all state and federal guidelines for the handling of these animals.
EXCLUSION…Do wild animals see your home as the perfect nesting place?
Wild animals often enter buildings to nest. After they have been removed from a building, it is important to take measures to prevent return visits. We can install devices to discourage re-infiltration by the animals, such as air vent screening, and chimney caps.
Don’t try to tackle wild animal problems on your own.
Minuteman Pest Control and Problem Wildlife has the experience and know-how to handle any situation involving the following:
- Appearance: Winter- body gray, summer-body red or brownish gray. Underbelly always light in color. Bushy tail. Some Gray squirrels exhibit a black color phase or melanistic phase.
- Vocalization: Chatter, squeak, and bark.
- Habitat: Forests, woodlots, parks, residential fascia and sofit board areas and attics.
HABITS AND BEHAVIOR
Gray squirrels are active throughout the year. They are not considered hibernators but will avoid searching for food in bad or inclement weather. A gray squirrel will normally begin its day in the early morning hours between six and nine AM, will then rest during the hottest part of the day and then reemerge between three and six PM. Its diet will change with each upcoming season but will generally consist of buds, seeds, nuts, acorns, fruits, leaves, grasses, insects, bird eggs, mushrooms and fungi. Once a den site has been established gray squirrels usually will not travel further than 1,000 feet of its nest. Squirrels are known to be promiscuous breeders. They have two breeding seasons per year, one in late January or February and the second in late May or June. After a gestation period of approximately 44 days a litter of three to five young are born. Young squirrels will depend on the mother for approximately 12 weeks. Once mature, the young from the first litter will venture out on their own in early May and those from the second litter will venture out in early August.
In residential areas, if given the opportunity, squirrels will travel power lines and subsequently short out transformers. They will gnaw on wires, enter buildings and build nests in attics, barns and garages. They frequently chew rather large holes through fascia and soffit board areas. Squirrels will also damage lawns by digging up areas in search of buried nuts. They will readily chew bark destroying ornamental trees and shrubbery. Squirrels will often raid bird feeders in search for food as well.
- Appearance: Small reddish squirrel with a white underbelly, bushy tail, and a white eye ring.
Summer- black line along side of body, Winter- tufts on ears noticeable with a brownish coat and a red streak down back.
- Vocalization: Ratchet-like call
- Habitat: Coniferous or mixed woodlands
HABITS AND BEHAVIOR
Red Squirrels are active throughout the year. Red Squirrels have no protective layer of fat therefore they must continuously feed. This explains why they spend most of their time during the summer and fall seasons storing nuts, acorns, and seeds. Its diet consists not only of nuts, acorns and seeds but also of insects, berries, corn, fruit, and bird eggs. Red Squirrels are active during the daytime hours. They normally will not travel any further than fifty yards from their nesting area. Red Squirrels have two mating seasons, one in March and the second in June or July. After a gestation period of approximately 36-40 days a litter of one to seven young are born. The young will depend on their mother for approximately 12 weeks.
Red squirrels can enter buildings from high levels as do gray and flying squirrels but also have the capability of entering buildings from lower levels as well. Such areas consist of corner boards, stone foundations, sill areas, and under porches. Due to the numerous entry point possibilities the Red Squirrel can establish a nest in wall voids, attics, crawl spaces, and basements. Red Squirrels are also notorious for traveling along piping throughout the house.
There are two species found in the northeast, the southern and northern flying squirrel. Both are similar in their appearance however northern flying squirrels tend to be slightly larger in body size.
- Appearance: Back reddish brown and gray, underbelly white. Large eyes and a bushy flat tail. Flying squirrels have loose folds of skin along sides of body.
- Habitat: Woodlands but become a problem when they establish a denning site in attic areas or wall voids.
HABITS AND BEHAVIOR
Flying Squirrels are nocturnal. This explains why they are seldom seen by people. They are active throughout the year. Flying squirrels will leave their dens in the evening hours in search of food. Their diet consists of nuts, seeds, berries, mushrooms, buds, insects, and meat. Flying squirrels do not actually fly. Due to the extra folds of skin stretching from their ankle to the wrist they swoop in a gliding motion from tree to tree. The southern flying squirrel has two mating seasons. The first in February or March and the second in June or July. The northern squirrel has only one mating season between March and May. After a gestation period of approximately 44 days a litter of two to six young are born. After a weaning period of approximately ten weeks the young will venture out and become independent.
A problem arises when a nest is established in an attic area or between wall voids. Flying squirrels will typically enter the attic or between the walls via louver vents, sides of dormer windows, where telephone and electrical cables enter the building, ridge peak areas, and loose flashing around chimneys. Flying squirrels will typically establish a specific latrine and/or bathroom area. Once determined, this area will consistently be used over and over again causing a build up of both feces and urine. Usually this area tends to be found in the gable end of residential attics. Once a den site has been established you’ll know it. Squirrels can be heard running in “herds” between floors.
NOTE: Due to the numerous amount of possible wildlife entry points not visible by the human eye flying squirrel trapping may take longer then usual thus resulting in additional charges.
- Appearance: Black, gray, and brownish body with a black mask. Ringed tail, small head and a pointy nose.
- Habitat: Urban as well as rural areas. Prefer areas near a water source.
HABITS AND BEHAVIOR
Raccoons or “coons” are nocturnal by choice. Mostly active at night but on occasion will be seen during the daytime. Its diet consists of crayfish, insects, mussels, fish, fruit, nuts, seeds, and corn. Raccoons are active throughout the year however will remain in their dens during inclement weather. Mating season begins in late January, February or March. After a gestation period of approximately 63 days a litter of three to seven young are born. The family group is very sociable and will remain together throughout the summer months and may den together during the following winter.
Raccoons will normally nest in hollow trees, logs, rock crevices, vacant buildings, beaver lodges and woodchuck burrows. Sometimes, however they become a nuisance when they tear up lawns, raid garbage cans; establish a den site in chimneys, attics, and hollow areas beneath buildings and porches. Raccoons will tear up or “roll back” sod in lawns in search of worms and grubs causing extensive damage.
- Appearance: Black body with white stripes that run from the head and down along the back. Long furry tail with a small head and short legs.
- Habitat: Woodlands, urban as well as suburban areas.
HABITS AND BEHAVIOR
Skunks prefer to feed at night. They are considered omnivorous. Its diet consists of insects, grubs, fruits, berries, rodents, carrion, and eggs. Skunks are not considered true hibernators but will remain in their dens during inclement weather. Mating season begins in early March. After a gestation period of approximately 63 days a litter of four to seven young are born. Young may remain with their mothers through their first winter. At that time they will begin to wander off on their own and become independent. Skunks have a long temper but will release a repugnant odor if startled by a loud noise or in the process of defending themselves. Before spraying a skunk will lower its head, stamp on the ground with its paws, and growl. A skunk can accurately hit its target from five to ten feet away and may reach as far as twenty feet.
Skunks will destroy lawns and golf courses by digging up the earth in search of grubs and insects. A sure sign of skunk activity is approximately three to four inches of upturned earth. Holes will usually be one to two inches deep. Skunks will also become a problem when they establish a den site underneath buildings, steps, porches, sheds, barns, and in basements. Once a den has been established an odor may be evident if the skunk is disturbed.
- Appearance: Bulky body with short, stubby legs, small ears and a short bushy tail. Fur is light to dark brown.
- Vocalization: Whistles but will chatter teeth when cornered.
- Habitat: Prefer open farmland. Burrows typically found in fields and pastures along fencerows, stonewalls, roadsides and near building foundations. Burrows are almost always found near open meadows or fields.
HABITS AND BEHAVIOR
The Woodchuck is a member of the rodent family. They are most active during the daytime hours and prefer to feed in the early morning or evening. Woodchucks, which are vegetarians, prefer to feed on such foods as alfalfa, clover, grasses, leaves, dandelion buds, common chickweed and agricultural plants such as beans, peas, carrots, and apples. Woodchucks are considered true hibernators. Hibernation starts in the fall around late October or early November. This will continue until late February and March. The male will be the first to re-emerge followed by the female and subadults. Breeding season begins in March and April. After a gestation period of approximately 32days a litter of two to six young are born. Young will remain dependent on their mothers for approximately 60 days. Woodchucks typically stay within 150 feet from their den site during the daytime. However this might vary during mating season or in time of food shortage. Woodchuck burrows are sanitary and may be used for several seasons. A typical burrow may be 10 to 12 inches wide at the opening, approximately 5 feet deep and approximately 8 to 66 feet long. A large mound of excavated earth at the main entry point may distinguish holes. There are usually 2 or more emergency exits to each burrow system. These holes are well hidden and hard to find.
Due to the woodchucks feeding and burrowing habits damage typically affects farms, home gardens, orchards, nurseries, and around buildings. Gnawing on underground wiring also can cause electrical problems. The excavated earth around the burrow system often presents a hazard to horses, riders, and farm equipment.
- Appearance: Light gray coat, white face, and a pointed nose. Opossums have a long, scaly, naked tail and small, rounded naked ears. They also commonly suffer from frostbite and may be missing tips of their ears and tails.
- Vocalization: Growl or hiss when disturbed or frightened.
- Habitat: Tend to be in lower elevations. Prefer woodlands near streams or swamps.
HABITAT AND BEHAVIOR
The opossum is the only marsupial found in North America. It’s rather a primitive animal with a peanut-sized brain. Opossums will use their tails to hang from trees for short periods of time and will use its first toe for grasping. Mating begins in March with a possibility of two litters produced each year. After a gestation period of approximately thirteen days a litter of five to thirteen premature young are born. The young are weaned for approximately 75 to 85 days but usually will remain with their mothers for three to four months. Opossums are shy animals therefore prefer to feed at night. They are not territorial and may share roaming areas. Individual range may vary and is greatly dependent on the existing food supply. Some may cover an area as large as 1 to 2 miles and as small as ¼ of a mile. The opossum is considered both an omnivore as well as a scavenger. Its diet consists of insects, fruit, nuts, grain and on occasion road kill.
Are notorious for entering poultry yards and killing birds and/or smashing eggs. Opossums usually seek shelter in hollow trees and woodchuck holes or beneath rock ledges. Become a problem when a den site is established under porches, sheds, barns, and buildings.