What should I do if I find a nest of wild animals in the attic?

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If you fin a nest of animals in the attic, we would highly recommend that you call in a wildlife removal expert to come and get the job done properly. There is a lot of stuff involved with getting these animals out safely, and that means getting the entire family out - mother and babies included - and there’s even more to think about once you have safely trapped the creatures too. The process is long and extensive, and the more you learn about it, the more you should be persuaded to pick up the phone, rather than try to deal with the situation yourself.

If you find a nest of wild animals in the attic, this is what should be done:

- The mother and babies / nest must be located.
- Depending on the species of the animal, the babies can be grabbed by (gloves and protected) hand and placed into a trap (or using a snare pole), then used as bait to capture the mother also. One-way exclusion devices or traps can be used in cases where the youngsters are close to old enough to leave the nest on their own.

You cannot and should not remove a mother without the babies, or the babies without the mother. Doing this will result in almost certain death for the youngsters, despite your best hand-rearing efforts, and the mother will continue to come back to look for them for some time afterwards. She may very well break back into your home.

- Holes must be sealed and damage must be repaired. You will need to learn how the animals were getting into your home in the first place, and those entry points must be addressed. A suitable material must be used to ensure the creatures can’t break their way back in again. If you're talking about a rat infestation, you will need to use metal. They can chew through plastic, wood, drywall, concrete, and virtually everything else you put in front of them.
- Modifications must be made to the home to ensure the problem can’t return. If gaps in tiles were what led the animal into your attic, you will need to find screens or covers to ensure this problem doesn't return. There are always property and land modifications that you can make to animal-proof your home, such as chimney covers, angled fencing to protect against snakes and lizards, and spike traps to stop birds and other flying critters from landing in places they shouldn’t. Even bird feeders can be amended to ensure raccoons and other wild animals can't get to the goodies inside.
- The cleanup mission must take place. This will involve removing ALL contaminated material left behind by the wild animal, and this can often mean entire sections of attic insulation, which will then need to be replaced. Prized possessions may need to be destroyed or disposed of, and you may even notice that a number of these have already been damaged.
- You should call your home insurance provider to find out whether or not you are covered for the damage caused by the animal infestation you have. Rat infestations, for example, are generally NOT covered by your homeowners insurance, because it is a problem that you COULD have prevented.
- Feces and urine must be cleaned up in a manner that is considered safe, and very specific cleaning products will be required in order to ensure all threats of disease are eradicated. You will also need quite a lot of it, and you will also need some serious scrubbing techniques. The slightest remainder of rat’s urine will still contain enough pheromones to relay information to another rat, if you don’t clean it up properly. These pheromones, which are sprayed with the urine as the rat runs about your home, are designed to signal to other rats, and send back information. It is a way that these rodents, and other wild animals, communicate. If you don’t clean up, those communication channels will still exist.
- Any damage that has been caused by the wild animals will need to be repaired. In cases of chewing animals, such as rats and mice, this could include re-wiring of electrical cables, repairing drywall, and maybe even repairing wooden beams or structures designed to support your home

Dealing with a nest of wild animals in the attic is a very long and extensive task, and isn't one that you will be able to complete ‘on the cheap,’ or overnight. Do yourself a favour and let the professionals handle the job. You'll only wished you had when you hold your hands up in defeat, in a few months time.

For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How To Guide: Who should I hire? - What questions to ask, to look for, who NOT to hire.
How To Guide: do it yourself! - Advice on saving money by doing wildlife removal yourself.
Guide: How much does wildlife removal cost? - Analysis of wildlife control prices.
animals in the attic
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