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Wildlife Removal Blog 2005

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

12.27.2005 - Pigeon Spike Installation
This is a typical example of a pigeon spike installation project. I performed it at an office building. Pigeons were roosting on the ledges above the main doors. They caused the usual pigeon problems - nesting material, feathers, and of course the main problem; lots of pigeon poo. The pigeon droppings fell down onto the ground below, causing unisghtly and unsanitary conditions for the hundreds of people who entered the building daily. I inspected the problem and determined that pigeons spikes were the best answer. The concept is fairly simple the birds are...click for more

12.21.2005 - Fix Holes in Roof to Keep Out Animals
This house was located in a very fancy neighborhood in Orlando, right behind a gleaming white Mormon temple and surrounded by other beautiful houses.  But the inside of this house was not so beautiful and gleaming. It was filled with rats and squirrels, and all the droppings, urine, nesting material, parasites, and odor that come with a rodent infestation. I was called in to take care of the situation.  The homeowner heard a lot of scratching and running and scampering around, both day and night.  When I arrived at the home, I took one glance at it, and I ...click for more

12.16.2005 - Possum in a cage in an attic
This was a somewhat typical possum in the attic job. I went to a home to inspect regarding some noises in the attic.  When I got in the attic, it was easy to tell that the culprit was an opossum.  Possum droppings are very distinct. I inspected the roof and the soffits, and found a very large and easy entry point at one of the eave gaps.  I set some traps right at the hole on the roof, and sure enough, I'd caught two opossums the next morning.  It's rare to get two, but I knew that this meant that I was dealing with a winter denning group.  In the winter here in FL, multiple ...click for more

12.09.2005 - Dead Rodent in a Wall
I got a call about a smell in a wall in a hall at the mall. A rat did crawl, and then it did fall, and it curled in a ball, and it did not stall, if I recall, to offend all. With its smell, which smelled bad. I sniffed it out, then cut it out, then took it out, then looked about, and the people at the mall wondered what mistakes I had made in my life to be the guy who cuts dead rats out of the wall in the hall of the mall. But darn it all, I like my work, and if you don't like it, you're a jerk. I'm writing this way because I'm tired and my brain is nearly expired. When I can't write things of substance, I ten...click for more

12.02.2005 - How To Find a Rat
It is my job to find rats. I am a rat control expert, specializing in the extermination and eradication of rats. I have to find both living and dead rats, and in the case of living rats, make them dead. In this case, a circuit breaker box did the job for me. This job took place at a dental office. The dentist was finding rat droppings throughout the office, on the chairs, in the cabinets, and even on the dental picks and drill bits. These tools ended up in patient's mouths. Mmm!!! I was hired to solve the rat problem. The first key to finding rats is to find out how they are ...click for more

11.18.2005 - Snake in the Pool - How To Remove
I'm commonly called to Florida homes to remove snakes from swimming pools.  Many snakes are aquatic, and are drawn to water.  It's entirely possible that they can sense water from a distance, as do many reptiles, perhaps by scent, or perhaps by seeing UV refraction reflecting off the water's surface.  Regardless, a body of water will attract certain critters, and snakes seem to commonly end up in people's pools.  Of course, a swimming pool is not a suitable habitat in which to live.  The chlorine makes the water uninhabitable for most life, so there's no forage.  I ...click for more

11.17.2005 - Bat Exclusion Project
Yet another normal bat exclusion project, though I did manage to capture this nifty photo. I don't always have a camera with me, and even when I do, I often get wrapped up in my work and forget to take photos. Also, as is the rule, the best photo opportunities will always come when I have no camera. But this time I did, and I had a large swarm of bats swirling around me, trying to get back into a hole that I've blocked off. Although there's only ...ten bats in this photo, it seemed as though a couple hundred were swirling around me. However, bats are very ...click for more

11.16.2005 - Mouse in House - Get it Out
It's called a housemouse for a reason.  Not because these mice are miniature construction workers who build quality residences.  Not because they stay at home while their spouse goes to the office.  They are called housemice because they like to live in houses - PEOPLE HOUSES!  Yes, that's right, mice are classified as commensal rodents, who thrive off of the activity of people.  If you like to live in a house, so does a mouse.  Do you like the fact that your house is warm and dry?  So does the housemouse.  Do you like the fact that your house is safe ...click for more

11.15.2005 - Do Rats Chew on Electrical Wires in the Attic?
Many people ask me if rats chew on electrical wires in the attic. The answer is yes. Yes they do. I see it in almost every attic I enter for rat control jobs. Rats are rodents, and all rodent gnaw. Their teeth continually grow, so like a cat has to continually scratch its claws, or just as you clip your fingernails, a rat gnaws in order to keep its teeth in check. They gnaw on a variety of surfaces, but they really seem to like electrical wires. This is a problem. They often expose current and thus heat to the wood beams in the attic, and this is a legitimate fire hazard. It's estim ...click for more

11.05.2005 - Dead Rat Removal Due to Poison
What have we here? A regular old smelly dead rat in the attic. Typical case, the homeowner called me with a terrible odor in the house, and asked me to come out right away and find the source of this ungodly stench that no well educated middle/upper class American citizen should have to endure. "Why has this horrible fate befallen me?" the lady of the house moaned and groaned. "My delicate nose shant tolerate such an injustice of nature. It is my right to live in a fresh scented abode." Apparently it was also her right to spread rat poison in the ...click for more

10.31.2005 - Florida Iguana Removal
I received a call about an iguana on the roof of a home. I consider this type of call an "immediate response" situation, because if I do not address the matter immediately, I likely won't have a chance to do so in the future. For example, many snake removals require immediate attention, before the snake slithers off and is lost. However, a case of squirrels living in the attic can wait a day, since the situation will not change day to day. In the case of this iguana, I knew that I would have to arrive quickly, or the iguana would climb down and run off. I am often unable to address the ...click for more

10.25.2005 - Roadkilled Armadillo
"Why did the chicken cross the road? To show the armadillo that it could be done." Armadillos are amongst the most common of Florida's roadkill victims. Several factors contribute to this animal's tendency to become vulture fare. First of all, armadillos are particularly vulnerable because they are not alert. Some animals are ever-cautious and aware, always keen of their surroundings, sniffing the air, feeling vibrations in the ground, slinking off into the night before any chance of danger comes their way. Some animals bumble along through life, blindly ...click for more

10.22.2005 - Orlando Florida Coral Snake
Behold! One of central Florida's four venomous species of snakes. This is an Eastern Coral Snake, perhaps 20 inches in length. This snake doesn't really grow to a very large size, rarely much over 30 inches.  I caught this snake in a customer's garage.  Snakes often slither their way into garages, and then get lost amongst the walls and debris.  If you leave the snake alone, it will probably find its way out after a while, but I understand, in the case of the Coral Snake, why one would not want it lurking about under dryer sheets.  The venom of the Coral Snake is an ...click for more

10.10.2005 - Duck Removal & Control
I took this duck photo at Lake Eola. Ducks are welcome at Lake Eola, and no one that I know of is attempting duck removal there. However, I have been called several times for duck removal. Most commonly, this is when ducks have taken up residence in a person's pool, and will not leave. I will describe two scenarios in which I performed successful duck removal. The first was for a homeowner whose personal pool became the personal home to a mating pair of Mallard Ducks. The ducks would not leave the area. They had not established a nest, but they chosen ...click for more

10.09.2005 - Florida Diamondback Rattlesnake
This is the most awesome animal that I've ever caught in my career as a wildlife removal specialist. It's a 7 foot Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. This species of snake is the deadliest in North America, and this is one of the largest specimens. No documented cases of an 8-footer have been verified, but that is probably the maximum length. Every now and then a 7-footer turns up, but it's rare that they reach 6 feet. This monster was huge and fat and in perfect shape, with 12 rattles on its tail.  I get many phone calls about rattlesnakes.  99% are false reports.  ...click for more

10.07.2005 - Animal In the House - Get it Out!
It usually starts with a late-night phone call. I'm one of the few wildlife trappers who 1)carries his phone with him at all times 2)answers it 24/7/365 3)has no life outside of wildlife removal to distract me. Thus, when that call does come in at 2:00 AM, I cheerfully answer it.  This particular call came in at midnight.  As usual, the caller didn't want to pay me to get out of bed, get dressed, and drive a half-hour away to remove the critter.  They never want to pay me.  That's okay, I don't mind, it's all part of the job. I simply tell them that they can come to my house when I get ...click for more

10.05.2005 - Bait Box To Trap Rat
While most rats tend to stay in the attic or wall voids, rats do often get inside the living space. Trapping rats in livable areas is a different matter than doing it in the attic. In the attic, I can set traps all over the place, with no concern of a person or pet encountering them, nor worry about the sight of a trapped rat. But inside the home, there's human hands, feet, dogs, cats, and little children. I can't just leave a finger-breaking rat snap trap laying about in such a place! Plus, many people don't ever want to actually see a rat. Thus, I have a solution for when there's rats ...click for more

10.03.2005 - Dead Squirrel in Ceiling
A dead squirrel in a ceiling is no big deal, really. It happens all the time. Squirrels live in ceilings, homeowners are too lazy or cheap or ignorant to have them removed when the squirrel is alive, but then eventually it dies and creates a horrible smell inside the home, and then the people therein decide to do something. To be fair, some people don't know that they have squirrels up in the ceiling, but these same people must also be deaf. Anyway, they do have a sense of smell - they are not asnomiacs - and then I get called to do the dirty work at my low, low pri...click for more

10.02.2005 - Wildlife Career - Removing Problem Animals
I am very happy to have a career as a nuisance wildlife removal specialist. Many people ask me for jobs. Perhaps 100 or so people per year, in fact, find my website and request employment. I operate alone, so I must tell all of them that I'm not hiring. To be honest, the majority of the requests are from guys that sound like uneducated rednecks, and they cite their wildlife experience as their love of snakes. That's about a third of the requests. Some of the others are just guys that are looking for a job, any job. Then another large chunk of job requests are from people that ...click for more

10.01.2005 - Raccoon Trapping Tips
The below tips are meant for live-trapping raccoons.  I have never used lethal traps for raccoons, nor have I ever killed a raccoon (other than a few cases of sick animals that needed to be humanely put down).  So this page is not meant for fur trappers who use lethal traps or paw-hold traps. Tip #1 - Use a Large, Sturdy Trap - The right type of trap is important. I've used several types and brands, and some have failed - raccoons have escaped due to design flaws. There's several good brands out there, such as those by Havahart and Tomahawk and others, but just know ...click for more

09.22.2005 - Fastest Snake in America
This is the fastest snake in the United States of America, the Eastern Coachwhip. It has a top land speed of about 10 m.p.h. and a top air speed of 190 m.p.h. like most aerodynamic objects reaching terminal velocity. Ten miles per hour may not seem fast, but it is. It's a fast snake! I've seen only two in my life. I caught the above snake, and it took all of my speed and cunning. The second Coachwhip that I saw was too fast for me to nab, and it escaped under a mobile home. This snake is fairly rare, but another more common snake, the Black Racer, is almost as fast. ...click for more

09.20.2005 - Baby Squirrel with Peanut
Squirrels are cute for about three days.  Seriously.  That's how quickly they grow up.  They are born ugly, hairless, sealed-eyes little things.  Not pleasant to look at.  Then they start to sprout fur and such, and they still look like pitiful little hair transplant victim rats.  Then you blink your eyes, and they look like adult squirrels.  They really grow quickly.  In the process, there is about a three-day span during which they look like the above photo.  Awww.... cute!!!!  Super cute!!! I happened to remove a few squirrels in this cute stage today. They were in an attic of a home, in ...click for more

09.15.2005 - Racoons in Attic
This is probably the third most common job that I do in my profession as a nuisance wildlife removal specialist - the racoon in the attic.  The most common job is rats in the attic, followed by squirrels in the attic.  But raccoons are also very common.  A typical job, such as this one, goes as such - I get a phone call from a homeowner who has been hearing a big racket in his/her attic, mostly at night.  The noise is usually described as very loud or heavy, and often accompanied by vocal noises, such as squealing or chattering.  Sometimes the homeowner knows it's an ...click for more

09.01.2005 - How to Solve an Armadillo Problem
How to Solve an Armadillo Problem? Well, first of all, identify the exact problem. Is the animal digging up the yard? The flower beds? Has it made a large burrow next to the house? Is it living under the porch? Is it driving your dogs wild at night? Now that you've got the problem identified, you can pursue an exact armadillo control strategy tailored to the individual needs and nuances of the circumstance. So for example, if the problem is digging in the yard or flower bed, I recommend trapping and removal to solve your armadillo problem. If it's burrowed next to the house, the ...click for more

09.01.2005 - Crab Removal
I was working on a bat removal project in Hobe Sound Florida, when something caught the corner of my eye. It was an odd shape and color, and it was moving unlike anything I'd ever seen before. "What in the hell is that?" I thought. I walked over for a closer look, and was amazed to see this crab. I do not know the species, but I believe it might be some sort of fiddler crab. The fact is that I had no idea that I was close to any body of salt water. In fact, I was still over a mile from the ocean. In addition, this house was surrounded by a large stone wall, so I didn't ...click for more

08.25.2005 - Snake Hook
Here I am seen holding a snake on a snake hook. The snake hook is a very handy herpetologist's tool. It's used for the safe and easy capture and transportation of snakes. It is most useful when it comes to venomous snakes, which one would not want to risk handling by hand. The hook can be used in a variety of ways, but the most common is to simply scoop the snake up under its belly and lift it. The snake is draped over the hook, and it then has no leverage with the ground, and no space for peristalsis movement, and so its pretty much just stuck hanging there. ...click for more

08.18.2005 - Bats in the House
Few events in my field seem to cause as much gut-fear as live bats flying around in the house. Only snakes and rats seem to do a better job of eliciting shrieks, fainting, and pant-soiling from unwary homeowners. Well first of all, calm down. The bats will not attack. These bats in the home don't want to be there any more than you want them there. Whereas rats often enter the home on purpose - because people tend to store food in the pantry, bats enter homes by mistake. Most people wonder how the bats got in. "Did I leave a window open?" they think. "No you didn't", I ...click for more

8.13.2005 - Dead Critter Under the Bathtub
I know some folks consider it morbid, the way I photograph and write about dead animal carcass removal. But it's something that I do, and I do it very well, and when people need my services, they NEED my services. I was very proud of this dead animal removal, and I don't become proud over much. I'm not all that proud of my college degree or my boxing or swimming trophies or any of that, but man, this dead animal removal kicked ass. First of all, the homeowner had already called out THREE different companies before me. All the big names around here...click for more

08.01.2005 - Animal on the Roof - Opossum
Most of my customers call me to complain about the noises that they hear an animal making. Most of the time, these noises are from animals living inside the attic or walls of a house. However, from time to time people hear animals scratching and clawing on the roof. I do many jobs in which I simply trap and remove animals that have a habit of spending time on the roof and making noise night after night. Some of the time these are animals that have incorporate a roof into their normal nighttime routine rout, but most of the time, the critter is on the roof because it is ...click for more

07.28.2005 - How to Kill Rats in the Attic
If you have rats in the attic, you want to solve the problem! Rats chew on wires, make a lot of noise running around and scratching, and can spread disease. Once they've infested a home, the problem doesn't go away until properly solved. You do want to kill the rats in the attic to solve the problem, but that's only a part of an overall solution. There are many ways to solve a rat problem, but over the years and with many different experiments, I've determined the best way to solve the problem permanently. You don't want to simply kill the rats. That will not solve ...click for more

07.23.2005 - Photograph of Striking Snake
Oh no!  I'm about to face the paralyzing strike of the deadly Black Mamba!  I have only a few precious minutes of life left to make this web page about the bite and to change into some nice clothes for the morgue!  Never mind updating my will, calling loved ones, and reflecting on life - I have a duty to provide my readers* with the above photograph and account of the incident.  Hmm, I seem to still be alive... I suppose that perhaps this wasn't a Black Mamba after all, but a harmless Black Racer.  Yes, now that I look at the picture carefully, I see that this is ...click for more

07.18.2005 - Barrel Tile Roof - Allows Rodents In Attic
Here is a photo demonstration of one of the classic problems with barrel tile roofs, and the reason homes with such roofs have such a high rate of wildlife problems.  Barrel tile roofs lead wide-open holes into the attic!  I have taken two photos of the same area - one as seen from outside, and one of the same area, taken from inside the attic.  You can see that this house has a barrel tile roof - these curvy Spanish-style tiles are very popular in Florida.  And of course the house has soffits, the bottom of which are flat.  With a flat roof, the soffit lies flat.  With a barrel tile roof ...click for more

07.15.2005 - Wounded Armadillo
I caught this armadillo, and it had a large wound on its back. The injury looked fairly fresh. I do not know what caused this. Armadillos don't really have any significant predators in the United States. I doubt that this was the work of another animal, such as a coyote or dog. Most likely, this was the result of a collision with a car. Why then, the big cut on the back instead of flattening tiremarks? Because armadillos tend to jump when startled, so perhaps a car passed over the armadillo and it jumped up into the undercarriage of the car and got this injury. Or perhaps it was ...click for more

07.12.2005 - Dead Rat on Glueboard - Do Glue Boards Catch Rodents?
I arrived at a school in order to investigate a bad smell in one of the classrooms. The school had abandoned use of the room for a couple of days due to the odor, and finally decided to call me out to find and remove the source of the smell. Most dead animal jobs take me either five minutes or two hours. That is, the animal is either dead in some obvious and easy to access location, or it has died in some impossible to find and impossible to reach area. This was a five-minute job. I opened the drop ceiling panels, and voila, I found a dead rat stuck to a glue bo...click for more

07.09.2005 - Florida Softshell Turtle
Today I saved this Florida Softshell Turtle (Apalone ferox). I was enjoying a peaceful Sunday afternoon, my first time off in 74 days. Suddenly, I heard a knock at my front door. A concerned citizen had found a trapped soft shell turtle! He saw that I had a truck marked "wildlife removal" in my driveway, and he thought that perhaps I could help. "Of course I'll help!" I said, putting down my lemonade and setting aside my book. I followed him out to a nearby lake in downtown Orlando. Sure enough, there, in a fenced-in section next to the lake, sat a Florida Soft Shell Turtle. ...click for more

07.09.2005 - Mexican Free Tailed Bat
In this particular photo, we see a bat that I caught at a customer's home. One would normally never see me handling a bat in this manner. First of all, my bat exclusions are done with a minimum of stress put upon the animal. The bats are never physically touched - they are removed in a safe and gentle way. Secondly, bats are very fragile. The wings are actually analagous to hands, with a thin membrane stretched across the finger bones. As with any flying animal, the bones are thin and light, and anyone who handles a bat without the gentle touch of a dentist could break ...click for more

07.02.2005 - Florida Lizards
When I was a small child, I loved to collect reptiles and amphibians. The sight of a mere toad filled me with a sort of brilliant and breathless thrill that winning the lottery today would not nearly match. It'd be hard to describe just how much, at my tender young age, I longed to catch and possess the creepy crawly critters of the world, particularly if they were covered in scales. So at the age of four years old, my family took a vacation to Disney World Resorts in Orlando. During that trip, I made all sorts of innocent four-year-old discoveries, such as the day I dug a deep ...click for more

06.30.2005 - Mess Under House
My job as a wildlife removal specialist requires that I go where the animals go - in order to trap them, to find out how they are entering a house and repair those holes, and to remove dead animals where they lie.  Oftentimes, I work underneath homes.  Here in Florida, many buildings are elevated due to the high water table and the chance for flooding and water damage.  Thus, many buildings have crawl spaces underneath, and these areas are very attractive to wandering critters in search of a home. I often set traps underneath homes.  I often perform repairs on ...click for more

06.21.2005 - Yellow Rat Snake
This is a photo of a Yellow Rat Snake, Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata. This is one of the top eight most common snakes that I catch in the state of Florida. This snake ranges across the southeast, and the whole state of FL. It's one of the larger snakes in the state, and can reach a length of 6 feet, although it is quite thin. It's got a mustard-yellow body, sometimes dark yellow or tan, with four dark brown stripes along the length of the body. It mates in May, lays eggs in June, which hatch in August. The baby snakes look nothing like the adults - they are black ...click for more

06.20.2005 - Do Plastic Owls Keep Away Pigeons?
One of the great jokes of the nuisance wildlife control industry is the use of fake plastic owls for pigeon control. The theory is simple enough. We know that pigeons are terrified of one of their natural predators: owls. Thus, why not use owl decoys to scare away pigeons? Unfortunately, it doesn't work in practice. It might be the equivalent of some nuisance human control operator setting up a fake plastic boogie man (or IRS auditor, mother-in-law, insert scary human here) by your front door in hopes that it'll keep you from entering your own home. It just won't work...click for more

06.18.2005 - How to Solve Raccoon Problems
Crikey!  Florida attics get hot!  It's now late June, and the temperatures outside are in the mid-nineties.  But the temperatures inside attics are in the mid 140's.  Some of these attics are like ovens!  The air is so hot, it's hard to breathe!  I don't know how raccoons can stand to live in an environment like this, but they do.  I went to this home today because of scratching in the attic, and I came out completely drenched with sweat and with these two little critters!  Usually a mother raccoon has four young per litter here in Florida, but there were only two of these 10-week-olds. I ...click for more

06.16.2005 - Attic Decontamination - Clean and Deodorize the Attic
This is a standard attic decontamination job. This attic was infested with rodents - both Roof Rats and Eastern Gray Squirrels. I trapped and removed all of the animals and indentified and permanently sealed shut all of the entry points. However, the attic remained vulnerable, because the rodents had left behind their scent, and the entire border of the house was vulnerable. The rats and squirrels had chewed their way into the wooden fascia board and right down into gaps in the wooden roof that lay below barrel tiles. It's important to remember that rodents communicate via t...click for more

06.12.2005 - Dead Rat on Glueboard - Do Glue Boards Catch Rodents?
I arrived at a school in order to investigate a bad smell in one of the classrooms. The school had abandoned use of the room for a couple of days due to the odor, and finally decided to call me out to find and remove the source of the smell. Most dead animal jobs take me either five minutes or two hours. That is, the animal is either dead in some obvious and easy to access location, or it has died in some impossible to find and impossible to reach area. This was a five-minute job. I opened the drop ceiling panels, and voila, I found a dead rat stuck to a glue bo...click for more

06.06.2005 - Dead Squirrel in the Attic
I got this dead squirrel out of the attic. It was a girl, and it died out of attack. Someone or something had attacked it with poison. It sniffed it and ate it and that was the roison. Reason a female squirrel died - due to the anticoagulant in the rat poison. Squirrels rarely eat rat poison, so I was surprised. They usually don't eat anything up in the attic, and will normally only eat outside. However, this one managed to eat some poison, at least my autopsy (brief glance and nonchalant assumption) results say that it did. I guess that it could have died of natural causes as well. ...click for more

05.25.2005 - Extraction of a Snake from an Attic
Snakes in the attic, snakes in the attic, all I keep hearing about is snakes in the attic. Some people are afraid of snakes, and when they hears noises, or even nothing at all, they sometimes worry that it's a snake, or a whole mess of 'em, slithering around doing their dirty snake business up in the attic, no doubt plotting a way down into the home to suck dry the innards of the sleeping innocent within.  Most of the time, these paranoid folk are wrong.  But not always.  Sometimes they are right.  Not about the sucking of innards, but about the snakes in the attic.  For you see, ...click for more

05.20.2005 - Does Bat Repellent Work?
Many people seek an inexpensive and easy cure for their problems. Why not? If a pill can cure obesity, it sure beats diet, exercise, and liposuction, right? Magic diet pills sell fairly well. So does wildlife repellent, bat repellent included. Sellers of both "guarantee" that their product will work, and offer countless testimonials. Or your money back! It's not unusual for me to arrive at a bat problem only to find that the homeowner has already attempted use of a magic bat removal product, oftentimes several. Shockingly, the very people who are gullible enough to buy ...click for more

05.18.2005 - Armadillo Trapper in Orlando FL
Here is a photo of four adult armadillos, all caught in one day. This is the peak of the armadillo trapping season. Well, there is no real season to speak of, since armadillos are active year-round and the population is relatively stable, but for some reason, I get more armadillos at this time of year. These dillos all came from different properties. It's rare to catch more than one armadillo at any given time on a single property. Over a course of days, yes, as different armadillos with overlapping territories cross the area, but in general, dillos are solitary creatures, ...click for more

05.15.2005 - Possum Mother with Babies
This is one of the better nature photos that I've taken.  A customer called me, concerned about an opossum on their property.  They said that the opossum has been living under their shed for several months now, and it's driving their dog crazy.  The homeowner said that she has been reluctant to let her dog out when it's around, for fear that her dog will harm the mother opossum or the babies, or that the mother will attack the dog out of self-defense and to protect its young.  Thus, when she did let her dog out and the opossum went up in a tree and she felt that it cou ...click for more

05.12.2005 - Dead Catfish Under a House
I got a standard call for a bad smell in a house. When I arrived, I knew that I was dealing with a dead animal, but the smell was slightly different than the usual rats, opossums, squirrels, and such that I deal with. Still, odors do vary depending on several factors, such as state of decay, temperature, ambient odors, and so on. I searched and searched, and could not find the source. I went under the home as usual, and finally I found the dead animal. It was not, as I usually find under a house, an opossum or cat. Well, actually it was a cat - a cat fish. This is the fir...click for more

05.08.2005 - Raccoons in Chimney - Get them Out
Your chimney is just like a big, hollow tree to some animals.  Critters such as squirrels and raccoons are great climbers.   They need a safe, dry place in which to live, so if your chimney has no chimney cap, get ready for some visitors! Female raccoons instinctively seek out high areas in which to create a nest.  Because raccoons are so common in urban areas, they often climb on houses and other buildings looking for a good place to set up a nest.  If they see an open chimney, that's a great place to pick.  They can easily climb down the flue, as ...click for more

05.07.2005 - Florida Redbelly Turtle
I am unsure of the exact species of turtle here. I believe that it is a Florida Redbelly Turtle. It might be a type of Cooter turtle. I found it while working on a bat project in Saint Petersburg. I was working on a building when I found it walking along the parking lot. The entire area was fenced in. I'm not sure if the animal was stuck or migrating to a new area. I often wonder how slow animals like this can migrate to new areas, but I suppose that slow and steady wins the race. I didn't see any good habitat areas on the condo property, but the turtle must have come ...click for more

04.30.2005 - Infant Rats - Roof Rat Babies
I got these infant rats today. I'm working on a rat control job in Longwood, and I've got the whole home sealed. I've trapped two rats, but the customer said that she still heard noises coming from the bottom of one of the walls. I went to her home to inspect, and sure enough, I heard the very faint scratching coming from the bottom of the wall as well. I went up into the attic, but there was no way I could see down that wall void from the attic space. So I got my trusty drywall saw and cut a hole in the wall just above the scratching noise. There, at the bottom of the wall void ...click for more

04.21.2005 - Mystery Animal In a Tree
I have a very strange customer. Her name is Hilda. She calls me all the time. She won't leave me alone. She has problems. She hears things. She sees things. Then it becomes my problem, because I hear my phone and I see that it's her number calling me yet again so that she can talk my ear off about her latest wildlife problems. "David, David! This is Hilda! I am hearing them again, they are keeping me awake, they are making so much noise, David, you must come help me David!". Except that her voice is much more annoying than the voice you used in your own ...click for more

04.18.2005 - A Bat Flying in the Attic
Here we have a photo of a bat flying in an attic. As you can see, the bat is flying away from me. It's not as exciting as a shot of a bat flying toward me, but as with most wildlife, this one would rather get away from the large sweaty hairless biped than approach it (note to ladies - I'm not always sweaty, but when in a Florida attic, it's unavoidable). This photo is actually quite rare, at least in Florida, for three reasons. First, it's usually hard to ever capture a photo of a bat on the wing, because they move so dang fast and erratically. Second, if I can capture a shot of a ...click for more

04.12.2005 - Squirrel Hole Fix
Here I am, doing my job as a nuisance wildlife control operator, up on a stepladder, bolting in a new vent cover to keep wildlife out.  It's about more than just catching critters.  In my opinion, the more important step is in preventing them from causing problems in the first place.  This home had squirrels in the attic.  They were able to enter the house via these vent holes in the soffit.  The flimsy vent covers have rotted and fallen out over the years, and it's a very simple access point for squirrels and other animals.  Squirrels can climb concrete walls like this, or just go ...click for more

04.09.2005 - Water Moccasin
This is a photo of a Florida Water Moccasin. It's more commonly called a Cottonmouth, but Water Moccasin is the second most popular name. This snake apparently also goes by black moccasin, blunt-tail moccasin, congo, cotton-mouthed snake, gapper, highland moccasin, lowland moccasin, mangrove rattler, North American water viper, pilot, rusty moccasin, saltwater rattler, stub-tail, stump moccasin, stump-tail moccasin, swamp lion, trap jaw, Matt Cassan's moccasin, true horn snake, water pilot, obstucted bowel serpent, water rattlesnake ...click for more

04.04.2005 - Fox Removal
Every now and then I catch a fox. Such as today. Today I caught a fox. I never intend to catch a fox. They simply wander into my trap. I usually bait with non-meat items, so as not to attract cats. My target species for this size of a trap, usually raccoons, opossums, or armadillos, do not need meaty bait. Yet foxes are lured into the traps regardless. I don't know if they're simply scavenging up the marshmallow (or whatever I've used) bait, or if they can smell the scent of a previously caught opossum, but I've caught several foxes. I like foxes. They're shy ...click for more

04.03.2005 - Dead Bear? No! Dead Cow!
How now, brown cow? Dead, that's how. I received several phone calls about a dead bear just off Rt. 417 near the Conway exit. One person said that it was a 12-foot dead bear. These calls piqued my curiosity, so I resolved to see the giant dead bear. During my normal day of nuisance wildlife control work, as I traveled along Rt. 417, I remembered to stop and take a look. I saw several cars pulled off to the side of the road on the northbound side (where the dead bear was), and traffic slowing on the other side of 417 as well. I became very excited with a rapid heartbeat...click for more

03.27.2005 - Rat Extermination
Many of my customer seek out rat extermination.  I think it's very important that people understand that there are many different methods of rat control, and that extermination can be done correctly, or very poorly.  Most companies that are classified as exterminators deal with insects, and they exclusively use poison.  These companies deal with rats in the same way, with poison.  The use of poison is a terrible approach to rat control.  It's by far most inhumane, least effective, and most likely to cause negative externalities of any approach.  First, as to ...click for more

03.16.2005 - How To Kill Raccoons
This is a larger-than-average raccoon for the state of Florida.  Most of the raccoons down here tend to the small size, with adults averaging about 9-10 pounds.  This one was 16 pounds.  Not huge, but a good size for this area. It was doing a common raccoon faux-pas: pooping in a swimming pool.  Raccoons love water, and they like to splash around, and wash their food (their name means "washes with hands") and they also like to poop in water, just like people!  The reason is to hide the feces, I suppose.  So they go on the shallow step and poop there. The home ...click for more

03.14.2005 - Pigeon Trapping in Cage Traps
The majority of the time, pigeon control centers around abatement practices - the installation of physical deterrents that prevent them from roosting in undesirable areas. An example is the installation of pigeon spikes on a store sign in order to prevent them from landing on the sign. However, at times pigeon trapping and removal is a desirable solution. For example the building may be too large in order for spike removal to be cost effective. Or perhaps the pigeons are roosting on or in an area where spikes or other deterrents won't fit or can't be installed. ...click for more

03.12.2005 - Raccoon Poop - Droppings & Waste in an Attic
Holey mackerel, this attic was a mess!  I don't know if you can see very well in this photo, but the whole place was filled with huge piles of raccoon poop.  The insulation used to be pink, but now it's mostly brown from mud and urine stains, and the buildup of raccoon poo is tremendous.  This is just one section of the attic, but the whole attic was filled with raccoon waste.  It smelled terrible.  This home was in the Pine Hills, in a run down house, and I think the raccoons must have been using this attic for years.  The raccoons had access to many wide-open entry points.  This job ...click for more

03.08.2005 - How To Stop Squirrels from Chewing
Squirrels are members of the rodent family.  As such, they have long teeth that grow continually.  Just as a cat has to scratch its claws and people have to trim their fingernails, rodents have to gnaw to keep their teeth in check.  Gnawing is part of their behavior, and handy for all sorts of things, from opening nuts to yes, chewing their way into your house.  I commonly deal with situations in which squirrels chew their way into homes.  I have dozens of such photos (I always photograph animal damage to show my customers what needs fixing), but this is the first ...click for more

03.03.2005 - Bat Control Project
I took this photo working on an apartment complex that harbored a very large colony of Brazilian Free-Tailed Bats. The bats entered the apartments via very large gables, which had exposed fascia gaps. These gables were about 60' long, and three stories high. The bats were able to enter throughout the length of the gable, but most chose to enter and exit near the ends, where they had the most clearance. I used six exclusion nets on every gable. Most of the bats used the ends, where I took this shot from atop my ladder. Oftentimes when I'm working in a public setting ...click for more

03.03.2005 - Closeup Photograph of an Armadillo
I am very pleased with this closeup photo of a handsome armadillo. Truly one of nature's lovliest creatures. Some like the colorful feathers of the peacock, or the happy smile of a bottlenose dolphin, or the cute fluffiness of a kitten, but no one can deny the rugged good looks of the Nine Banded Armadillo. Just look at that bright and inquisitive eye, or that smooth skin. How about that cute little beard, or those adorable feet? Some animals were built for rugged utility, and some were built for pure cuteness, and I have to say that the armadillo rates at least nine ...click for more

02.20.2005 - Common Snakes of Orange County, Florida
I'm frequently asked about the common snakes of Orange County. The above photo is just one of the common snake species in Central FL. It's a Yellow Rat Snake. I actually found it on the sidewalk in a heavily developed strip mall area here in Orlando. It's one of the snakes that seems to thrive fairly well in developed areas. Because Orange County is so heavily developed, it's these sort of snakes that are more common. I will now list, in order, the six most common snakes that I remove and see here in the greater Orlando area, and my estimate regarding the ...click for more

02.18.2005 - Sandhill Crane Removal
Sandhill Cranes, Grus canadensis are fairly common in Florida. They are a very large bird, with a wingspan of about six feet. I've read that they are the oldest known extant bird species, with unchanged fossils going back 10 million years. As a dominant bird species, they are usually fearless of other birds and most other animals, including humans. They became a nuisance in this parking lot of this company, where they routinely threatened the employees and customers with agressive behavior. I was called in for Sandhill Crane control. I am not ...click for more

02.13.2005 - Tug-O-War With a Possum in the Attic
This customer was hearing noises in his attic every night.  He figured that it was a wild animal, and thus called me.  I asked the usual questions about the noises - time of day, volume, amount of scratching, amount of running, etc.  From his answers, I suspected an opossum.  Rats tend to scurry very fast through the attic and walls, and scratch.  Same for squirrels, minus the walls, but squirrels are active during the daytime, rather than the night.  Heavier, slower noises at night most likely means raccoon or opossum, and the lack of vocal noises indicated opossum ...click for more

02.11.2005 - Rat in the Toilet - Removal
Do rats come into your house through the toilet? Yes, I've seen it happen. However, it's very rare. To do so, the rat has to go through the plumbing pipes and through a waterlogged area, and that's just plain unlikely. Rats don't go somewhere unsafe unless they know there's a way out on the other end. So the truth is that the cases I've seen in which rats enter a home via a toilet are via toilets with the water shut off! Also, the rats here in Florida are Roof Rats, and they tend to stick to the high trees and power lines and rooftops, and not down in the sewers. Up north ...click for more

01.29.2005 - Infant Squirrels
This was a very interesting job.  A squirrel was entering and creating a mess in an antique store.  It was running all through the shelves, knocking things over, and it broke several expensive glass pieces.  The store owner was very upset!  He called me to trap and remove this squirrel.  I came to the store and the building had all sorts of flaws.  It was easy for animals to get in by many places, such as a wide gap around the perimeter of the ceiling.  It would be impossible to seal off all the squirrel entry points without major renovations. The owner simply wanted the ...click for more

01.24.2005 - Raccoon Nest in Attic
Here's one of the finest sights a nuisance wildlife removal expert such as myself can see.  It's a nest of baby raccoons.  I frequently go to homes to solve problems with wild animals living in attics.  I'm not always sure of what the culprit will be.  It's usually rats, squirrels, opossums, or raccoons.  I can usually make a good guess based upon the description of the noises the customer is hearing, but not always.  Some people think that rats sound like packs of big dogs running about!  Regardless, when I get in the attic, I can read the signs (i.e. the tracks and the poop) ...click for more

01.08.2005 - Animal Poop in the Attic - Diseases from Wildlife Waste
If you've had wild critters living in your attic, it's a good idea to have the attic cleaned. Wild animals leave their waste behind when they inhabit an attic. This waste can carry a number of zoonotic diseases. There are at least 42 important diseases that people get by ingesting or handling food or water contaminated with animal feces, such as Campylobacter infection, which us found in animal feces, and causes gastrointestinal symptoms. There's also Leptospira infection. Humans get infected via contact of insulation containing urine from infected animals. Left unt...click for more

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