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Wildlife Removal Blog 2004

This weblog chronicles some of the adventures I have had while operating my wildlife removal company in Orlando, FL - Click any of the photos for a larger image and more information.

I currently have 351 blog entries. You can select them sorted as such: 2003   2004   2005   2006   2007   2008   Armadillo   Bat   Bird   Dead   Opossum   Rat   Snake   Squirrel   Others   Repairs   All Entries

12.23.2004 - Snake Catcher - How to Catch a Snake
Many people ask me how to catch a snake. Before I explain how, I want to stress that oftentimes, it's best to leave snakes alone. Second, it's very important that you are able to identify snakes, and know which ones are dangerous, and which ones are good and beneficial to have around. Okay then, your four major options for catching a snake are: 1)By hand 2)With snake tongs 3)With snake hook 4)With snake trap. I will analyze these four methods now. 1) By Hand - I've caught the snake in the above photo by hand.  I catch most of my snakes by hand.  This is because ...click for more

12.22.2004 - Rodent Extermination
Rodent extermination, From my rat association, I set a trapping station, Of my own creation, When to my elation, I found that my location, Built a large foundation, Of dead rat decoration, It was a revelation, When my trapping preparation, Made the operation, A thing of admiration, It was my expectation, Based on a conversation, That I lacked the education, To cause rodent anniahlation, And I hit the realization, That the situation, Could be solved by motivation, And trap administration, Rats are my occupation, I run a rodent corporation, I cause pulverization, Of ...click for more

12.07.2004 - Raccoons on the Roof
Raccoons are excellent climbers.  They are very strong, they have very nimble hands, and they can actually swivel their hind feet 180 degrees, allowing them excellent grip and the rare ability to descend a tree (or a wall, downspout, or screened-in pool such as seen above) headfirst.  Thus, raccoons commonly crawl on the roofs of homes.  Raccoons go on roofs for many reasons.  They often crawl up there for a safe place to spend the night.  Some people call me simply to report sleeping raccoons on top of houses.  Other times, they may crawl just for the heck of it.  I've wo ...click for more

12.06.2004 - Eastern Coachwhip Snake
Sweet! My first Eastern Coachwhip! I've been reading about this snake, and always wanted to catch, or even see, one. Today I finally got my chance. A customer called about a snake terrorizing his lawn, and now hiding under a large piece of plywood. I arrived at the house, and upon lifting said plywood, out shot this snake like a lightning bolt! The Coachwhip is the fastest snake in North America! But it's not faster than me. I pounced with my super duper lightning mongoose speed, and captured the hapless serpent. It struck a few times, but I was impervious to the ...click for more

11.24.2004 - Dead Pigeons in Ceiling
I found these dead pigeons in the ductwork of a public building. They had an open mushroom vent on the roof, and a large colony of pigeons was entering the ducts and living there. They made a huge mess in the ducts, complete with nests, eggs, a ton of droppings, and quite a few dead birds. Pigeons are often filthy animals, and they simply do not keep clean quarters. They don't live long in cities, and like any other wild animal, carry some risk of disease. They are known, in particular, to be susceptible to salmonellosis, tuberculosis, and ornithosis, but we know ...click for more

11.19.2004 - Squirrel Poop - Droppings & Waste in an Attic
Here is a close-up photo of squirrel poop.  I took it from an un-insulated section of attic space, or essentially, above a ceiling in a house that was filled with squirrels.  The squirrels left thousands of droppings sprinkled throughout the attic, but this was just one tiny area.  Most of the squirrel turds in this area are pretty fresh.  Though some are old, you can see that they are drier or have mold growing on them. It's often hard to distinguish between squirrel and rat droppings.  Squirrel droppings are just slightly larger, and slightly shorter with more rounded ends.  But it's not ...click for more

11.18.2004 - Do Mothballs Repel Armadillos?
I am annoyed at mothballs. Somehow, somewhere, someone got the idea that mothballs would repel wildlife. Now I encounter mothballs on a weekly basis - inside homes occupied by animals who don't give a crap about mothballs. Armadillos are just one such animal for which people use the magic cure-all critter repellent, mothballs. Thus, this homeowner dumped a box of moth balls down this armadillo hole. Amazingly, the armadillo didn't care. As you can see in the above photo, lower right side, the armadillo continued to use the burrow, and some of the ...click for more

11.17.2004 - Frog Removal, Control, Get Rid of Frogs
This was certainly one of my more unusual jobs. A lady called me, stating that her swimming pool was full of frogs, and she asked me if I could remove them. Although this was uncharted territory for me, the fact is that many of my jobs are actually uncharted territory, and this didn't sound terribly difficult. I figured that I'd show up, and by hook or by crook, I'd catch those frogs and save the day. So we scheduled a time and I showed up, but I soon realized that I needed neither hook nor crook, but rather a net. I had some nets, but the size of the pool made the skimmer a fair ...click for more

11.09.2004 - Roof Rat - Control, Removal, Trapping
The common name of the species called rattus rattus is the Roof Rat. Sure, some people call it the Black Rat or the Citrus Rat, but Roof Rat is the most commonly used name. There's a reason for this name. This rat likes to run across your roof. They may do so in the course of their nightly scavenging, but in reality, if you've got rats living in your roof, they're there for a reason, and it aint to eat the shingles. They're probably on the roof because they've found some holes there that lead into the attic, and rats love to live inside warm, safe, dry attics. In the case ...click for more

10.31.2004 - Flying Bat Photo
WooOOOoooOOO!! Happy Halloween! I've come to suck your blood! I mean, I've come to professionally remove the colony of bats from your attic while everyone else has fun partying and trick-or-treating. This is my best photo of a bat in flight thus far. I took it on a normal bat exclusion job. When I block bats out of their home - and remember, I don't trap or kill them - they swirl around, trying to get back in. They eventually give up and go elsewhere, but not before I have a chance to get a snapshot of them flying about. Timing and focus are difficult for me ...click for more

10.25.2004 - Raccoons in the Ceiling
This was a rare case of raccoon removal.  There were raccoons in the house, which is not uncommon, but they were in an uncommon place.  In almost every case that I've dealt with thus far, the raccoons are in the attic.  However, in this case, all the noise was heard in between floors, above the first story ceiling and below the second story floor.  There's not a whole lot of room in that space.  However, critters have a way of fitting in tight gaps. I thought that the animals would be rats, or maybe squirrels, based on the location. However the homeowners were hearing voca ...click for more

10.24.2004 - Possum Photograph
I thought that this was a fine photo of an opossum. Possums are slow animals, and they have very tiny brains. They are not so smart. Thus, when they encounter trouble, sometimes they just kind of stand there. Sometimes they play dead, sometimes they open their mouth and bare their teeth, sometimes they try to run away, sometimes they grimmace (really), and sometimes they ...just stand there. That's what this one did. I was tasked with catching it, since it was hanging around the property and not leaving, and the homeowner was concerned that it might attack or ...click for more

10.22.2004 - How to Find a Lost Snake in the House
I removed the above pictured snake from a residential neighborhood. Whether it was a lost snake or a released pet I can't be sure, but my later experience leads me to believe that it could well have been a lost pet, because this one was a bonafide escape artist. This snake is a Boa Constrictor. I removed it and brought it back to my house so that I could hang on to it while I waited for a local snake rescue and breeding group to come pick up the snake. I put the 5 1/2 foot snake in a large cardboard box and closed the top, sealing it shut with a laundry bas ...click for more

10.22.2004 - Trapping Wild Animals of Orlando Florida
Here's today's catch of wild animals in Orlando Florida. As you can see, I caught a large Boa Constrictor snake! I also caught two opossums and two raccoons. I got the Boa at a residential neighborhood yard, where the homeowners saw the snake slithering along. I removed it for no charge. I got the first opossum from inside a garbage can - it had climbed in and couldn't get out! I snared it and put it into a trap. I got the second opossum from a trap that I set at the crawlspace entrance of a home. I caught it with orange slices, which possums often seek out for the ...click for more

10.18.2004 - Iguana Control in Orlando Florida
Orlando is swimming with iguanas! They're coming out of the sewers! Marching in giant packs across our fields! Slithering across our highways! Invading our libraries and schools! Eating all of our crops! Scaling the roof of your home! Coming up through your toilet! Eating your children in the night! Well, these are exaggerations. They are merely nibbling at your children in the night. Still, there are iguanas in Orlando. I catch them from time to time. For example, I caught one today. There it is. In the above photo. Looking smart. This iguana was just sitting in the c...click for more

10.14.2004 - One Way Door To Remove Squirrels
One of the most common ways that I solve a problem with squirrels in the attic is via the use of a one-way door.  The principle is simple: the squirrels are going in and out of the house, through one of more holes that they've chewed open or that already exist.  I find those holes and block up all but one of them, the most heavily used one, and install a one-way door that will allow the squirrels to get out of the attic, but not back in.  Sometimes, because squirrels are prone to chew on wood to get back in, I use a one-way door with a cage attached, such as shown in the abo ...click for more

10.14.2004 - Dead Possum Under Trailer Home
This job was extra super duper hard and difficult and aggravating. In fact, dead animals under trailer homes make me angry. This job is always a bitch. In fact, it's pointless to say dead "animal" under a trailer home, because it's always "dead opossum under trailer home". The animal is always a danged opossum. I don't know why I'm complaining. It's not like I care about what the specie is. I guess maybe a little variety would be nice. But if the job lacks variety of animal, it doesn't lack variety in architecture, and this particular trailer home featured a very annoying ...click for more

10.12.2004 - Rodent Trapping Techniques
I will now outline and discuss various rodent trapping techniques. When I say rodent, I'm talking about rats (many animals, from squirrels to beavers are members of the rodent family). I only really deal with rats inside homes. There's no way to stop them from living outside. Within homes, the vast majority of the trapping takes place in the attic, because that's where the rats are, most of the time. Customers call me to complain about the scurrying and running and scratching noises of rats in the attic. The customers don't, of course, hear the chewing on electrical wires, ...click for more

10.07.2004 - Possum in a car engine
Wild critters get into all sorts of places my customers would rather not have them - in attics, garages, swimming pools, under porches, and so on. Well, from time to time wild animals get into real zany places, such as this opossum in a car engine! The homeowner left his car parked for two weeks or so without moving it, and then when he tried to start it up, it wouldn't start.  He said he noticed a faint odor, but tried to start it again, to no avail - no power at all.  He popped the hood and was in for a heck of a surprise when this toothy fellow lunged at him! The opossum had ...click for more

10.06.2004 - Baby Black Racer Snake
Here it is. I probably get more emails about this snake than any other. This snake is incredibly common, especially throughout Florida, and people see it, don't know what it is, take a photo, email it to me, and ask exactly what crazy new species of snake they've discovered. The answer is that it's a baby Black Racer. I sometimes answer that it's a juvenile Black Racer or a hatchling Black Racer, but it's a baby Black Racer all the same. Many snakes change color and pattern as they mature. I'm not sure exactly why, but my guess is that the color pattern on the babies is ...click for more

10.02.2004 - How To Trap a Bat
What's the best way to trap a bat? It depends on the situation. If the bat is stuck inside the home and you merely want to get it out, then it's a simple matter - if you know where it is. If the bat is lying still somewhere, then simply take a tupperware container, place it over the bat, and slide a piece of paper or cardboard or something thin underneath, and trap the bat in between the paper and tupperware. Then you can carry it outside and let it go. Please do not kill it. Also, it's usually a better idea not to pick up the bat, because it might be rabid. Most of ...click for more

09.22.2004 - Florida Cottonmouth Snake
Here's a Cottonmouth Snake (Agkistrodon piscivorus) that I caught in Orlando Florida.  The Cottonmouth gets its name from the color of the inside of its mouth, which is white, and which the snake often displays, with a wide open gaping, if threatened.  It does not have rattles to warn of its venomous bite.  It is a member of the pit-viper family, which mostly consists of rattlesnakes.  The Cottonmouth is a rare exception, and it's also unique because it is an aquatic snake.  It seems to prefer swampy areas the most, but also lives in and around most of ...click for more

09.21.2004 - Dead Dog Under a House - How to Kill a PitBull
I was called out regarding a bad smell under this house - a dental lab, to be exact, where they make dentures and such. I arrived and asked the usual questions, such as, "When did you first detect the odor?", and "What part of the house smells worst?", and "Do you think you can give me a good deal on porcelean crowns?". The lab tech motioned to the southeast part of the house, and said that he thought it was a dead opossum. He seemed distracted and intent on clearing up his supplies. I started to get ready, with my Tyvek suit and gloves and HEPA mask a...click for more

09.20.2004 - Armadillo Hunting in Florida
I am an armadillo hunter. There are two types of armadillo hunters. One is a slack jawed yokel who stalks these critters from the back of a beat-up pickup, shoots it with a 12-gauge, has his dillo hound retrieve the carcass, brings it back and roasts it up for supper, drinks a little moonshine, and scratches the rosy area between his shoulders and head. The other type of armadillo hunter is an educated professional who sets humane cage traps, removes the animal in a timely manner, relocates it to wilderness areas, and goes off to a sophisticated dinner of poached ...click for more

09.18.2004 - Florida Gopher Tortoise
I simply found and photographed and then released this fine specimen. The Florida Gopher Tortoise, Gopherus polyphemus is, like most torti, slow. However, unlike most tortoises, it can dig really f'ing well. It digs these amazing burrows, which are like, fifteen feet deep or more. Several wildlife species, such as the rare Indigo Snake, use these burrows for refuge. Unfortunately, the Gopher Tortoise is in trouble. As usual, habitat loss is the problem. There's a lot of land development here in Florida, and much of the land previously used by the turtles is now ...click for more

09.15.2004 - Albino Rat Caught on a Snap Trap
Wow, an albino rat!  This was my first and likely only albino rat of my career.  I've caught over 1000 rats in my time so far, both with lethal and live traps, and I've never seen an albino rat before.  Sure, white rats aren't terribly rare, especially the white Norway Rats that people keep as pets, but this rat was a true naturally-occurring albino rat. Albinism is a hereditary condition, caused by a lack of melanin pigments.  It's usually passed on from recessive genes from both parents.  Albino genes are often weeded out amongst wild animals, particularly if the animals rely ...click for more

08.23.2004 - Pet Raccoon
I probably get two or three requests per year for raccoon babies that people want to keep and raise as pets.  I mean, just look at how cute they are!  How darling!  Your grandaddy told you that he kept a raccoon as a pet, and it was great!  Who can resist that black mask and that ringed tail and those cute little hands?  I do admit, I handle a lot of baby raccoons that I get out of attics, and they are just about the cutest animal alive - cuter than kittens or puppies, and they make the most darling noises.  Just look at it cuddling on my lap. Irresistible. Great then! Just the pet you ...click for more

08.21.2004 - Florida Bat Removal Project
I faced many challenges in this bat removal project. One of the most common problems in bat control lies in reaching the bats. Since they can fly and I cannot, they can easily reach places that I cannot easily reach. In this case, the bats chose to roost in the barrel tiles of this roof, in several areas, including the towers. In order to reach the towers, I had to bring ladders onto the flat roof portion. Interestingly, I had to navigate them up a spiral staircase. Once I got the ladders on the roof, I faced the second challenge - tiles. Tiles are always a pain. I basically have to ...click for more

08.16.2004 - Squirrels in the Soffit
Squirrels are the most common animal, nationwide, to break into houses.  They will use an open hole or chew their way in, and live inside your house, which is dryer and safer than any tree.  I'm currently working on removing a group of four or five squirrels from a home here in Orlando.  They are mostly living in the soffit area of this home. The soffit, if you are unfamiliar with architecture, is the bottom portion of the eave (the underside of the part of the roof that hangs over the edge of the house.  Most homes have soffits. Squirrels just love to live in them. They provide plenty of ...click for more

08.12.2004 - Legless Lizard
This is an Legless Lizard, often referred to as a Glass Snake, although the true name of this reptile is the Eastern Glass Lizard. What's that you say? I'm wrong you say? You know a snake when you see one, your granddaddy taught you what is and what is not a snake and he'd say that this is a snake, you say? Well you, and your granddaddy, are wrong. It's a lizard. It just so happens to have the same body design as a snake. This is similar to the way a dolphin may be a mammal, but looks more like a fish, because having smooth skin, a torpedo shaped body, flip ...click for more

08.03.2004 - Kittens in the Attic - How To Get Them Out
A female feral cat, like any other wild critter, wants a safe place to have her young. So pretty much every time (but not 100% of the time), when I have a call for cats in the attic, there's also some kittens somewhere. It's important to find the kittens, and to check the female cat, if you've caught her without kittens, for swollen cat-teets, which indicate nursing. Believe it or not, kittens drink milk. Who would have thought? So in this case, I searched and searched for a litter of kittens, and sure enough, I found them, huddled in a ball in the insulation. They looked cute! But ...click for more

07.28.2004 - How to Get Rid of Mice in the Attic
Most people object to mice in the attic because they hear the noises of the mice every night, running around in the attic, and scratching. Mice also chew on wires or pipes, and they defecate and urinate a lot, and can spread disease. With time, they can destroy an attic and make it unsanitary, and they eventually come down the walls and find a way into the house, where they'll break into the pantry and chew on and contaminate food. The sooner the problem is solved, the better. I'm going to examine the steps necessary to getting rid of mice in the attic: Home Inspect ...click for more

07.12.2004 - Do Snakes Chase and Eat Other Snakes?
I plan to make this my worst snake blog page of them all. There's really no point for it whatsoever, except to showcase the above photo, in which a large snake appears to be chasing a small snake. I say "appears", because first of all, that's a legless lizard chasing the small ringneck snake, and second of all, it's not chasing at all. I simply put both of these snakes on the carpet at the same time, and they wound up in this configuration. In nature, it's possible that the legless lizard would in fact eat a small Ringneck Snake like this, but of course, once critters are captured ...click for more

06.20.2004 - Vent Repair to Keep Squirrels Out
Attic vents are a common wildlife entry point, particularly for squirrels and rats.  The above photos were taken at two different homes, one of which had a squirrel problem, and one of which had a rat problem.  The rodents were entering the attic through improperly screened vents.  You can see in the photo on the right that this vent used to have a screen of some kind, but it was very flimsy, and it eroded with time. Rats were able to easily climb right into the attic.  I sealed off the vents with a heavy-duty steel screen.  In the photo on the right, squirrels were seen ...click for more

06.09.2004 - Armadillo Capture by Hand
I captured this small armadillo by hand. I was at an armadillo trapping job, when I noticed this dillo scurrying through the underbrush. I chased after it, and despite its attempts to escape via short and quick erratic hops, I was able to get my hands around it and pick it up. I don't think I would have been able to do so if this were an adult armadillo. The young ones have a softer, more flexible shell, as you can see in the above photo. Adult armadillos have much harder shells, and thus are hard to hold. In addition, adult armadillos are much heavier and stronger and also ...click for more

06.08.2004 - Raccoon Damage - Wall Torn out At Apartment
This was a very interesting job.  I got a phone call from one of the apartment complexes here in Orlando that I regularly service.  They usually have problems with squirrels getting into the attics of the buildings.  Thus, when I got yet another call for noises in the attic, I went prepared to do a squirrel removal job.  When I got on the roof of the 3-story building to inspect, I saw this!  There was a large hole torn into the wall of the apartment at roof level, with a big wooden board missing.  A tenacious female raccoon had climbed 3 stories up, which wasn't an easy climb ...click for more

06.06.2004 - Eastern Mole Control
The Eastern Mole (Scalopus aquaticus) is common throughout most of the eastern United States, from Canada all through Florida. This little critter only grows to about 6.5 inches in total length, and 3 oz. in weight. It has no ears or eyes, as you can see in the above photo, but it may be able to detect light. Moles, of course, live underground, where they dig a network of tunnels. They burrow through the soil in search of earthworms and grubs, and they can dig very quickly. They are very energetic, and they eat a lot, about half of their body weight each day. ...click for more

05.25.2004 - Animal in the Wall
If you hear scratching or clawing in your wall, and you think there's an animal stuck down there (what else could it be?  A wall gnome?) it's best to take care of the problem as soon as possible.  Many wild animals are excellent climbers, but most homes feature drywall, which is pretty slick and hard for most critters to climb.  Thus, if you don't do anything about the problem, the animal is either going to scratch and chew its way out of the wall and into your home, or it's going to die down there, and the odor will not be pleasant. Today I went to a house at which the ...click for more

05.22.2004 - Removal of a Peacock from a Roof
Here in Florida we've got a few resident populations of peacocks. One of the flocks lives in one small specific area in Conway, off of Michigan Road. I'd get calls all the time about these peacocks, with numerous requests to remove them. I couldn't really do anything about it, but I did manage to keep them off this particular roof. They always roosted on this roof, and since they're a large and proud bird, they made a hell of a lot of noise, and it bothered the homeowners a great deal. I installed a special motion sensitive squirt-gun device on the roof. Anything that ...click for more

05.21.2004 - Rodent Removal
I got this haul of rats at an apartment complex that I work for here in Orlando.  The key to rodent removal is to seal off the openings that rodents use to gain access to a building, and then to set the proper types of traps in the most effective manner. The reason the entry/exit holes must be sealed is because if you don't seal them, the rats will continue to come and go as they please.  Even if you do catch some rats, new ones will keep using those holes, which are now marked with rat pheromone scent.  Once you seal the holes, however, the rats that are stuck inside now ...click for more

05.07.2004 - Wildlife Management In Orlando Florida
I don't often describe my job as a wildlife management specialist, but apparently that's what some people call it. I suppose wildlife management is synonymous with wildlife control, which is a term I use more frequently. I will talk about my wildlife management work in the state of Florida, but most of all, I want to talk about my awesome hair in this photo. It's like, all awesome and Prince Valliant and rocking.  I like the blonde highlights and the poofiness and everything that makes it the best wildlife management hair ever, hair that is capable of slaying ten or ...click for more

04.27.2004 - What Bait to Use to Trap Armadillos
Everyone wants to know what bait to use to catch armadillos in cage traps. After all, it's easy to use peanuts to catch a squirrel, or cat food to catch an opossum, or marshmallows to catch a raccoon, so surely there's something that we can throw into a cage trap to catch an armadillo. I shall now examine the various baits that I've heard recommended: Earthworms: Armadillos eat earthworms, it's true. So I've heard the recommendation of using earthworms for bait. However, this is tricky, because earthworms tend to be smaller than the bars of a cage trap, ...click for more

04.15.2004 - Solve This Bat Problem
I took this photo at a bat project last night, in which a lawyer's building was filled with over a thousand bats. To my great surprise, the owners of the firm left the problem go for many years until they read a story about a lawsuit filed in Connecticut over contraction of histoplasmosis from bat droppings in a public building. Then they wanted to kill the bats, until they were informed that this could result in fines from the Florida Wildlife Commission. Finally, they decided to pay to have me remove the bats carefully and properly. Some say the lawyer's hearts grew three ...click for more

4.14.2004 - Attic Restoration - Fix and Clean the Attic
Attic restoration is the term often used in the nuisance wildlife control industry to describe the process of restoring an attic to its original state after it has been inhabited and soiled by wildlife. So for example, in this case, a family of squirrels lived in this attic for years, and created a big mess within, by bringing in a great deal of nesting material, and also leaving behind a lot of waste - both droppings and urine, which I could easily smell. The problem with the nesting material is that it creates a potential fire hazard. It's all flammable plant material, and of course it's ...click for more

04.13.2004 - Dead Opossum Under Mobile Home
I was very proud of this dead animal removal. The homeowners had called out a different company first, but they could not find it. They actually called two other companies, but the one guy was too fat to even get under the house, where the animal clearly was. Granted, the access hole was very small. I squirmed my way through the hole and started to crawl around. I had very little room because of the very large ductwork lining the area. I basically had to navigate my way through a maze of pipes and ducts, with no light, a bad smell, giant deadly spiders that w...click for more

04.11.2004 - Banded Water Snake
This is a Banded Water Snake (Nerodia fasciata). I have photographed it outside of its usual aquatic habitat. I was called to remove a snake from a home, and I was told that I'd be extracting a Cottonmouth.  I arrived at the house and was directed to the ornamental pond in the front landscaping, and sure enough, there sat the above snake, a species that I had never seen before.  It looked a bit darker in the rocks and water, and like most water snakes it had a thick body.  I captured it with my snake tongs, and it struck several times as I transferred it to my snake bag ...click for more

04.05.2004 - Pet Squirrels in my Pockets
Two darling baby squirrels.  I removed them from a squirrel nest in an attic, along with the mother squirrel.  It's a bit late in the season for squirrels this young, but one can't always count on Mother Nature to deliver on schedule.  One can count on Mother David to deliver a fine resting place for baby critters - in my pockets!  I will name them Scroungy and Scritchy.  They are very cute, nestled up in my pockets and fondling my nipples.  I think I'll keep them as pets forever. On second though, no I won't.  Squirrels aren't meant to be pets.  Yes, they can be cute, and ...click for more

04.01.2004 - Raccoon Eyes - Tapetum Lucidum Effect
This is a photo of a mother raccoon and two of her baby raccoons.  The babies have grown to a decent size, and are about ten weeks old at this point.  I removed them all from the attic of a home.  I actually removed the young raccoons manually, with a snare pole, and then set one each in the back of two traps.  The mother went in the trap to get her babies, and I caught her.  I then reunited them all.  In this photograph, the young are clinging to mom, and I took the photo of all three together. In people during photographs, the light of the flash will often reflect against the ...click for more

03.29.2004 - Rat in the Ceiling
This is one of the most common jobs that I do - removal of rats from the ceiling of a home. The phone call always starts out the same: "I hear noises in my attic!". I then ask the customer to describe the noises. Several different animals live in attics, but if the description is of a quick scurrying, the pitter-patter of little feet, and particularly up the walls in addition to the ceiling, then I know it's rats. The primary problem that people have with rats in the ceiling is the noise. However, people don't know about the other dangers of having rats in the ceiling. Rats are rodents, and ...click for more

03.28.2004 - Snake Shedding - About to Shed
I got a call about a snake in someone's flower bed, and the lady said, "It looks like it's from Village of the Damned"! It has glowing blue eyes!" I arrived on the scene, and found out that she wasn't in fact crazy.  This snake DID have glowing blue eyes.  In fact, the entire body was fairly blue.  This isn't terribly surprising, seeing as how this snake is a blue-phase Eastern Garter Snake, which is a common species here in Central Florida.  Shortly before shedding, the skin becomes cloudier, and if it's tinted with color, that color is more pronounced.  The color shows up a little ...click for more

03.24.2004 - Dead Animal Under House - Bad Smell Removal
This is a very typical dead animal removal scenario here in Florida. Because of the high water table, the houses here do not have basements. Many homes have foundations flush against the ground, but many are elevated off the ground, with a crawlspace underneath. These areas are magnets for wild animals - they provide a safe refuge from the elements and a good place to set up a den. Opossums in particular like to live underneath houses. Opossums don't live very long - about 2-3 years in the wild. They're very common around here, and they simply d ...click for more

03.20.2004 - Orlando Florida Snake Charmer
Here is a fine photo of one of my favorite snakes, the Corn Snake. This is a fairly small specimen, but it's just as pretty as any of them.  It's got beautiful auburn scales with orange spots, lined in black.  The belly has a black and white keyboard pattern, which ye people of olde likened to maize, and that's how this snake got its name.  I sometimes like to play with the snakes I catch, and so I used my expert snake charmer techniques on this snake.  I twirl and wiggle my finger in a certain way, and the snake watches, mesmerized.  I bring the finger closer, closer, and ...click for more

03.10.2004 - Skunk Control
This is not a photograph that I took.  Someone else took it for me.  The reason is because I don't get any skunk calls here in Orlando Florida.  It's too bad.  I like skunks.  I even like their scent.  I have a thing for skunk scent.  But I haven't smelled it down here, not even on the highways.  Up north in Pennsylvania, where I grew up, skunks were common, and every few miles down the road I had the pleasure of sniffing one.  Alas, such is not the case here. I did do a fair amount of skunk control and trapping while I was training as a wildlife removal specialist in ...click for more

03.04.2004 - How To Stop Armadillo Digging
This is a photo of a Nine-Banded Armadillo digging a fresh burrow. I came across this animal while on an armadillo trapping project. Dillos usually dig several burrows within their home range. I'm not sure how many, but the number may be from 10-20. They usually have a primary burrow or two in which they sleep - and armadillos sleep about 20 hours per day. These big burrows are straight and deep, and may have a chamber at the end. However, most of the burrows that armadillos dig are merely short-term escape tunnels, in case they need to bolt from danger. Fact...click for more

02.22.2004 - Bats in a Barrel Tile Roof
Here we have a Brazilian Free-Tail bat flying out of one of its favorite natural habitats - the Spanish-style, Barrel-tile, Makes-me-smile roof. But mostly it makes me frown, because it's a pain in the butt to get the bats out and seal every last tile. Down here in Florida, fancy multimillion dollar homes like this one have barrel clay tile roofs. The tiles look fancy, they deflect heat, they attract bats. Bats, especially these free-tail bats, just love to live in barrel tile roofs. I've read that the Brazilian (also known as the Mexican) Free-Tail can tolerate heat up to 140 degrees, but it must ...click for more

02.21.2004 - Squirrel Infestation
I made this squirrel trap myself, and I was pleased with the results.  This customer had a squirrel infestation in his ceiling.  There was no attic space to access inside this flat-roof home, but he was hearing all sorts of running noises throughout his ceiling space.  I inspected the home yesterday and found that a large chimney flu pipe runs up the side of the house and through a hole cut into the soffit of the house.  The problem is that the pipe had a diameter of 16 inches and the hole had a diameter of 22 inches. This left a big open ring leading right into the ...click for more

02.20.2004 - Snake Powder Spray to Keep Away Snakes
"Can't you just put out some sort of a powder or spray to keep away snakes?" I hear this question on a fairly regular basis. I know that there's a market for such products. Many people simply can't stand snakes, and harbor a real phobia regarding them. And where there's demand, there's products sold to meet that demand. Alas, so far I have tried every one that I can find, in multiple scenarios, and I am absolutely convinced that none of them work. As a wildlife removal specialist working in central Florida, I have the opportunity to work with unwanted snakes and in ...click for more

02.19.2004 - Professional Pigeon Project in Orlando
This gift store in Orlando, on International Drive, had a pigeon problem. The pigeons were roosting on the steel beams that held up the decorative (not functional) Space Shuttle. This of course means that they pooped all over the ground below this area, right near the front door. Thus, all of the customers who entered the store had to walk through pigeon poop to do it. Patronage was dropping. Sales of gifts were dropping. Profits were dropping. All because pigeon droppings were dropping. So, the owners called me and asked if I could make the pigeons go away. I said that I ...click for more

02.18.2004 - Dead Mouse in Attic - Rotting Mice
The problem with dead mice in the attic is that they are hard to find. This is because they love to burrow, and they dig their way down into the insulation. So when they die, they're already buried down in some tunnel. This is often right against the drywall ceiling, so the smell seeps down into the house and creates a strong odor within. However, when I go into the attic to search for the dead mouse, I barely smell anything, because the odor is blocked by the insulation, and the strong air flow in the attic, due to the ventilation, prevents much of the smell from building up...click for more

02.09.2004 - Mole Trapping
If you have a problem with moles destroying your yard, there is only one way to get rid of the problem - with mole traps.  There is absolutely no effective mole poison, repellent, deterrent, or any device to easily get rid of them.  Except for a trap.  Just set the mole trap on the surface mole tunnels, trap and remove the mole or two in your yard, and you'll have digging no longer. Unfortunately, mole trapping is not easy.  The traps are not very user friendly.  There are several types of mole traps, from harpoon to scissor (shown above) to underground clamp traps, but ...click for more

02.04.2004 - Urban Pigeon Removal at Water Park
This is an example of an urban pigeon removal job that I performed at a water park here in Orlando FL. You can see the water slides in the background of this photo. The water park, Wet-N-Wild, was concerned about the presence of pigeons in the park. They were a constant nuisance - not only flocking around the park and eating scraps left by park visitors, but most of all, nesting on the buildings and leaving behind nesting debris, feathers, and of course, the big problem - pigeon droppings. The droppings were unsightly and unsanitary. Pigeon poop is primary...click for more

02.03.2004 - Remove Raccoons in the Wall
This was a very challenging job.  The homeowner knew she had a raccoon in her attic.  She'd called another company to take care of the problem, but they told her that it'd be a minimum of $2000 to solve the problem, and that they'd set traps on the ground outside the house.  I know that if a raccoon is in the attic, it's going to be a female raccoon with babies, and that traps on the ground will not solve the whole problem.  There's 3-4 baby raccoons somewhere in the attic, and they must be removed, or they will starve and die without their mom.  I was hired ...click for more

01.29.2004 - Pigeon Exclusion - Get Pigeons Out of Building
I was called out to this apartment building because it had a problem with pigeons roosting in the attics. Many of the apartment units had these large square openings in the stairwells. The openings led right into the roof and attics of the apartments. Pigeons eventually found these openings, and they provided access to a perfectly safe habitat - the attics. Many pairs of pigeons had established nests in the attic space. This caused a number of problems. First of all, the tenants of the apartments had to deal with a lot of noise coming from up above - this noise was ...click for more

01.25.2004 - Does Bat Trapping Work?
No, bat trapping does not work. At least, it's not a good way to handle a bat problem. Trapping bats is like, I don't know, using a lighter to cook dinner. It's just a dumb way to do it. No wait, trapping bats is like using a Cuban Cigar to cook dinner - dumb and probably illegal. It's true that many, if not most, nuisance wildlife species are controlled via trapping. If you've got a raccoon in your attic, you've likely got to set traps to catch it and remove it from the property. However, bats shouldn't be trapped. Some uninformed companies practice bat trapping, and bat traps are ...click for more

01.19.2004 - Alligator Removal in Orlando Florida
As a wildlife removal specialist working in the state of Florida, I hear the same initial reaction from northerners again and again. When I tell that what I do for a living, the first thing out of their mouth is, "Wow, so you mean, you trap gators and (stuff)?" Gators, gators, gators, that's all anyone cares about, is gators. No doubt the sensationalist stylings of Steve Irwin the Crocodile hunter, and other such critter mavericks on TV have taught people to think that every fellow who dons a khaki shirt and goes after wild animals is wrestling six gators before lunch. The ...click for more

01.13.2004 - Animal In the Wall - Opossum
This was a very interesting job. I arrived at a home to inspect for animals in the attic. The guys living in the house said that they heard all kinds of walking and scratching in the attic. The first thing I did was an external inspection of the house and roof. I couldn't find any area that animals could use to get inside. Yet when I entered the attic, I saw lot of tracks and tunnels and opossum droppings. I was doing my attic inspection, when I thought I heard a noise coming from down one of the walls. I was able to peek down the wall from the attic, and there was the culprit ...click for more

01.06.2004 - Orlando Wildlife Rehabilitation
I'd like to introduce you to a wonderful woman. Her name is Lee Harr. For more than ten years now, she's operated a wildlife rehabilitation facility out of her own home. She pays all of the expenses out of her own savings. Her goal is to care for injured, sick, and orphaned wild animals. From raccoons to squirrels to birds and almost anything, she has a wonderful gentle touch and understanding of wildlife, and a relentless drive to help wild critters. She works non-stop, 16 hours a day, seven days a week, and she absolutely loves animals. She takes a no-nonsense ...click for more

01.05.2004 - Squirrel on a Rope
This is a small squirrel, perhaps six weeks old, that I removed from the bottom of a chimney.  I lowered this sisal rope down the chimney, and it clung on, and I just pulled it up, like reeling in a furry fish.  It clung on to the rope, and I was able to take a few good photos of it, such as this one. Sisal rope is a good tool for removing squirrels from chimneys.  I carry a few lengths of it with me at all times, and I weight the end with large lead fishing weights.  It's a common problem here in Florida for squirrels to fall down chimneys.  This is normally not a problem in most parts of ...click for more

01.04.2004 - Removing a Squirrel from a Chimney Flu
This customer was hearing squirrels in his chimney.  The problem was that he had a slick metal flu, a tube as you can see in the photo behind my left arm.  Some squirrels had made a nest up at the top of the flu, under the rain and debris guard (not pictured, since I've removed it).  This wouldn't really be a problem, but a female squirrel made a nest, and one of her young squirrels, once it got the knack for running about and exploring, decided to explore its way down the chimney flu, where it got stuck.  Once down there, it made a hell of a racket, desperately tryin ...click for more

01.02.2004 - Snake Tongs - Snake Catching Tool
I'm seen in the above photo holding a snake that I caught with my trusty snake tongs. This is basically a snake catching and handling tool that consists of a gripping end on a pole, and a lever handle. The one in the above photo is actually an earlier model of tong, and I've replaced it with the much better Gentle Giant by Midwest Tongs. A good set of snake tongs should be strong and lightweight, and the most important part is the gripping end. It should be broad, so as to distribute the grip across a wider area and thus hold the snake more gently. Also, it should be ...click for more

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