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Wildlife Removal Blog 2003

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

12.31.2003 - Bobcat Trapping
I set armadillo traps at a house in a suburban community on the east side of Orlando. I had trapped an armadillo already, but the customer wanted me to continue trapping, in case there were more. The yard suffered from significant armadillo digging. I got a call on the morning of the 31st, from the owner of the house, and she told me that one of the cages contained a large and aggressive cat. "I think it's a bobcat", she said. "Suuurree… it's a bobcat", I thought. The customer is always telling me about wild and crazy animals that do not exist. Every harmless little Corn Snake ...click for more

12.29.2003 - Rodent Trapping in a Cage
Wow! Here's a first! A Roof Rat and and Eastern Gray Squirrel in one cage! I was called out to a home that had scratching in the ceiling. Most of the noises were heard in the morning and evening, so I suspected that it was squirrel activity. I inspected the home, and found multiple entry points at the eave gaps and in holes chewed in the soffit. I sealed up the entire home and installed heavy-duty steel screen on the soffit areas, so that no more squirrels could get in. I left the two primary entry holes open, so that I would not seal any animals inside (where they'd desperately ...click for more

12.14.2003 - Animals Gnaw on Electrical Wires
One of the greatest dangers of having wild animals living in your attic is that they can cause destruction, in particular, to electrical wires.  Many animals like to gnaw and chew, but most cases of wire destruction are from rodent species - squirrels and rats.  I have been in thousands of attics so far in my career as a wildlife removal specialist, and a good percentage (more than not) of the houses with rodent infestations have some extent of chewing on the electrical wires.  The four photos above represent just a few of the cases I've seen so far. A rodent is ...click for more

12.05.2003 - Rat Poop Droppings & Waste in Attic
Here are two different photos of rat poop in an attic.  On the left is a heavily-used rat pathway in an attic with blown-in fill insulation. On the right is a section of scattered droppings in pink insulation.  Both attics had a heavy rat infestation, and thousands of droppings scattered throughout.  Rats have very high metabolisms, and they poop a lot perhaps about 20 rat turds per day.  Thus, they leave a lot of rat waste in the attics where they live.  They also urinate, and the pheromone scent in the urine and perhaps even the poo attracts new rats to the area.  There is one ...click for more

12.01.2003 - Stray Cat Trapping
Nothing in my industry of nuisance wildlife control incites more controversy than stray cat control. The problem is that cats, (Felis catus) exist in basically two forms. There's the domesticated housecat and beloved pet, and then there's the stray, or feral, cat which is often, for all intents and purposes, a nuisance wildlife species. I've observed many feral cats, living under dumpsters, in the woods, junkyards, and other unsavory places, and their behavior is no different than that of raccoons, opossums, or rats. In fact, the cats are usually dirtier and more aggressive. The ...click for more

11.21.2003 - Eastern Gray Squirrel
This is an Eastern Gray Squirrel, a common critter throughout the United States, and a common pest critter found in people's attics.  These highly capable and adaptable animals are able to thrive in the woods and in the suburbs and even the middle of the city.  They live in trees, attic, anywhere they can find a safe place to den.   Thus, they commonly come into conflict with people, who wish to have them removed from the attic or property.  I will now address some recent emails that I've received about squirrels. Dear David, We found a baby squirrel that came right up ...click for more

11.20.2003 - Pigeon Control BB Gun Shooting
Most of the time, pigeon control is done via the installation of deterrent devices. So for example, if pigeons are roosting in an undesirable area, I can install a deterrent such as bird spikes to prevent them from nesting in that area. In addition, at times I can set special pigeon traps to trap and remove the birds. However, in certain situations, lethal control is the only answer. This type of pigeon work is fairly common in the industry. If pigeons are scattered about in a facility, and it's unfeasible to install deterrents, and the conditions don't allow for trapping and the trapped ...click for more

11.12.2003 - Animal on the Roof - Trap and Remove
This was yet another case of an animal in an attic.  The customer called me, and was hearing all sorts of running and walking noises in the attic, with most of the activity coming at night.  From the description of the problem, it sounded like a larger animal, as opposed to rats or squirrels.  Larger animals most commonly include raccoons and opossums. I arrived at the house and began my inspection.  It wasn't hard to find that a large hole had been torn right into the roof.  At this point, I knew that I was dealing with a raccoon.  Only raccoons are strong enough to claw and ...click for more

11.08.2003 - Florida Boa Constrictor
Florida is home to many non-native species of plants and animals. People seem to become particularly excited about the presence of non-native snakes. It's true that Florida is host to several species of foreign snake. The subtropical climate allows for survival of certain species that usually only live in jungles in areas such as central and South America, such as snakes. One such snake is the Boa Constrictor. This is a very well-known snake, and is a member of the python family. It's not nearly as large as the Reticulated Python or the Anaconda, two of the largest ...click for more

11.01.2003 - How to Remove a Dead Animal in the Attic
I get a lot of phone calls for the removal of dead animals inside houses. Such an even causes a very strong odor inside the house. Sometimes the smell is so bad that the inhabitants cannot bear to live in the house any longer. If the person in the house realizes that the source of the stench is from a dead animal that is decaying, they can call me, and I'll come and remove the rotting critter. The animal could have died in a variety of places - under the house, in the wall, or so on, but oftentimes the dead body is up in the attic. If I determine, based on my analysis of the house arc...click for more

10.29.2003 - Mouse Caught in a Cage
I caught this mouse in a cage today. The customer had a problem with scratching noises in the attic, running and scampering noises at night, in the walls and ceiling. I was called out to investigate. When my inpsection of the attic yielded a mouse infestation, the customer seemed crestfallen. "I don't want to kill the mice!" she said, "can't you just use some sort of mouse repellent?" I told her the truth, that there's no such thing as an effective mouse repellant. Many are sold online, and most of them consist of some sort of flakes or powder, most likely composed of ...click for more

10.25.2003 - Bat Removal In Miami
This is a fine close-up photo that I took of a Brazilian Free-Tailed bat that I removed while on a bat control project in Miami, FL. They are not nearly as cute as the other common Miami bat, the Evening Bat. Notice the simian brow ridge, the pig-like nose, and the bristling whiskers all about the paunchy face. Yet, the mother bats still take care of the young. Isn't nature a marvel! This particular bat was one of many that I removed from a Miami apartment complex. Most are removed without being touched, but this one accidentally made its way into the home, got in ...click for more

10.24.2003 - How To Vacuum the Attic to Get Rid of Animal Waste
This attic was infested with rats. They left thousands of droppings throughout the attic. The homeowner wanted his attic cleaned, but did not want to pay for complete insulation replacement. Thus, I cleaned the attic manually. It involved several steps. The first is to physically remove as many of the rat droppings as possible. This attic had rolled-out BAT insulation, which is easy to vacuum, unlike the blown-in loose fill insulation. In the above photo, we see that I'm vacuuming rat droppings off a duct and into a small portable vaccum. This type of vacumm is good for use in a...click for more

10.21.2003 - How to spell "Snake"
I caught this young Black Racer snake today. As you can see, the baby racers look nothing like the sleek black adults. They have maroon patterns and speckles. I had a squirrel in a trap, and just out of curiosity, I put the squirrel and this little snake together in a bucket. I figured that the little snake would pose no threat to the squirrel. I sure was correct! The squirrel instantly picked up the snake, bit it behind the head, and dropped it dead. It was amazing! I've never seen anything like it! Had I known that the squirrel would have killed the serpent, I'd have never placed ...click for more

10.17.2003 - Animals Under the House - Keep them Out
This is an older house in Orlando, built in the 1940's.  Like many Florida homes, it is elevated off the ground to prevent water damage.  It of course has no basement.  Most such homes have solid walls leading to the ground.  They have vents, for airflow, but at least they have walls.  Not this home.  It was simply an elevated home with no walls, and just a wide-open space leading under the home.  It's no surprise then, that over the years this house has been a favorite home to wild animals!  Critters just love to live in a dry place, and an open home like this is ...click for more

10.11.2003 - Raccoon Repellent
I get a lot of phone calls and emails asking about raccoon repellent. I respond to all of these emails explaining that there is no such thing as an actual effective raccoon repellent or deterrent. Many are marketed and sold. Some of the most common repellants sold are simply mothball flakes. They don't work, they can actually make you sick, and they are bad for the environment. Ammonia soaked rags don't work either. I've tried, in some very tight quarters where I thought it might work, but it does not. Some other repellents are based on predator urine. These can ...click for more

10.06.2003 - Wild Animal Trapping in Orlando Florida
I am most pleased to be a wildlife removal specialist in Orlando FL. I trap and remove nuisance wild animals from people's homes and property. Most commonly, I deal with raccoons, opossums, armadillos, squirrels, snakes, & bats. When it comes to catching animals in large cages, such as shown in the above photo, it's mostly raccoons, opossums, and armadillos. In the above photo, I have a stack of four cages with raccoons, and one opossum. I caught the first raccoon at a house in which the raccoon was pooping in the customer's pool. I simply set a ...click for more

10.04.2003 - Baby Corn Snake Photograph
This is a photo of a baby Corn Snake. When I first caught it, I was confused by the coloring. It did not match that of the snakes I usually see. I concluded at first that it was an Eastern Milk Snake. However, with some more research, I discovered that it was a baby Corn Snake. Like many snakes, the coloration of the juvenile snakes does not match that of the adult - it changes with age. In the case of the Corn Snake, the coloration and pattern changes significantly, such that the adult is a beautiful golden color with darker orange markings. In addition, this juvenile ...click for more

09.30.2003 - Possum Trapping
Here's one of the nuisance critters that I commonly deal with. It's the Virginia Opossum. These animals are common in Florida. They are nomadic scavengers, though they will set up homes in and around human structures. Females will commonly live in attics in the late spring and summer, if they have young. I've dealt with many such cases this past season. However, in the autumn, they are most just scavenging about, stocking up on food for the winter. Even though it doesn't get cold down here, it's still an instinct. This opossum was living under a pool ...click for more

09.17.2003 - Snake Emergency Snakebite
"Hello, 911?  I've just been bitten by a venomous snake".  That's a call I hope I never have to make, and to be honest, I don't believe I ever will, because I'm armed with the most effective snake protection available - knowledge.  While that may sound hokey, it's of course completely true.  Since snakes don't ever attack unprovoked, and since almost all cases of snakebite occur when an ignorant and inexperienced person attempts to handle a dangerous snake, I don't expect to ever have a problem.  However, I will offer advice to anyone who does receive a snakebite. ...click for more

09.14.2003 - Catch Squirrels on the Roof
Here are two juvenile Eastern Gray Squirrels that I caught off of a roof.  I do most of my squirrel trapping on roofs.  Squirrels are very common pest critters in urban and suburban areas, and they spend a lot of time of the roofs of homes.  This is party because the roof is just another part of their environment, but squirrels also often nest in various areas of the roof.  If the roof provides some shelter in an area, such as an overhanging eave, chimney cover, awning, or other structure, squirrels may end up nesting in those areas.  I removed these juvenile squirrels who were in ...click for more

09.13.2003 - Dead Rat in House - Died Chewing on Electrical Wires
I've encountered this scenario multiple times. There's a dead animal smell somewhere inside the house. I begin my search, sniffing the area. It's evident that the smell is the strongest in the kitchen. The homeowner knows this, and I can tell as well. However, what the homeowner doesn't suspect is that the dead animal is in fact in the oven. Not broiling in a pan for a Sunday dinner, but rotting in the rear panel with the electrical wiring. The first time I was called for such a job, I was confused as well. I searched the attic, I sniffed all of the cabinets and cupboards, the walls...click for more

09.04.2003 - Big Bat Removal Project
This is my largest bat removal project so far - a large resort on Siesta Key, Sarasota. They had large colonies of bats living in these mansard style roofs. I, along with several other bat control companies throughout Florida, came to the property to give quotes for the project. The project presented many challenges. First of all, the bats were entering and exiting the mansard roofs through barrel tile. These tiles make a job much more difficult, because the entire surface of the roof, not just the roof lines, must be addressed. Barrel tiles leave gaps at every section where tile ...click for more

08.29.2003 - Wildlife Trapping
"LET ME OUT!" bellowed the trapped opossum. "No!" I said. "YES!!!" hollered the critter. "Not until you're relocated to a state-approved wildlife preserve at least ten miles from your capture site!" I shouted. "OKAY!" said the opossum, "BUT COULD YOU AT LEAST GIVE ME A CIGARETTE WHILE I'M IN HERE?" True story. I am a nuisance wildlife trapper by trade.  I do not trap wild animals for the fur or the hides or the meat or for fun.  I am a professional wildlife control expert who solves problems between people and wild animals.  This means that I do prevention, ...click for more

08.23.2003 - Boa Constrictor caught in Orlando
I caught this Boa Constrictor here in Orlando Florida. An elderly couple called me about a large snake in their garage. Usually, a large snake turns out to be a tiny three-foot imitation of a pencil. However, these folk weren't kidding! When I showed up, sure enough, there was one large snake coiled up next to the lawn mower in the garage. I was actually confused about it at first. I wasn't expecting to see a Boa Constrictor out and about, and since I don't have much experience with pet snakes, I didn't recognize it as a boa at first. I was unable to identify it, and tho ...click for more

08.20.2003 - Opossum Poop - Droppings & Waste in Attic
Wow, this was a messy attic.  Opossums had been living in this attic for a few months.  The homeowner procrastinated doing anything until the noise and the smell got to be too much to handle any longer.  I came to the home and found several sections of a flimsy soffit screen torn open, and the opossums could easily climb up adjacent trees and downspouts and into the attic.  Opossums are messy animals, and they poop wherever they want.  They poo a lot, and their terds are the size of a dog's turds. This attic was filled, from end to end, with possum drop ...click for more

08.11.2003 - Squirrels in the Eaves
This house has a family of squirrels living in the eaves.  There's no attic space for me to access in this particular home, and the homeowner is hearing most of the sounds coming from the perimeter of the home.  It's the normal sort of report for a squirrel infestation.  All sorts of scratching and running noises are heard, they are often fast and rambunctious, and they happen in the morning and evening mostly.  This is when squirrels are active. The squirrels have chewed some holes in the flimsy vent areas underneath the eave.  It's easy to trap them with this special trap - it's ...click for more

08.08.2003 - Owl Removal - Stuck in Pool Area
I got a phone call from a worried homeowner who informed me that she had an owl stuck in her screened-in pool enclosure, or lenai, as we call them here in Florida. I told her that I'd come out right away, so I did. I arrived, and found a small owl perching on the steel beam, as seen in the upper-left of the above photo. It was still and sleeping. I have a special heavy-duty canvas net that I use for certain wildlife removal scenarios. I got the net. I quietly sneaked up on the unsuspecting and sleepy owl. Then, with one swift and smooth swipe of the net, not unlike the one ...click for more

08.05.2003 - Raccoon Poison
The above photo is of a raccoon mother gently picking up and carrying one of its babies in its mouth.  I came across this raccoon today while I was driving from one job to another, and I got this photo, so I decided I'd share it on my blog. I've been getting a lot of emails lately about the use of poison for raccoon control. Raccoons do cause some problems for people, but if you have a raccoon issue, POISON IS NOT THE ANSWER.  First of all, there is no legal registered poison for killing any large mammal, including raccoons.  Second, I don't know of any effec ...click for more

07.15.2003 - Armadillo Pest Control
This is a photo of me and my armadillo pest control service based in Orlando FL. I caught this small armadillo from a customer's property. It's a juvenile, so I am able to handle it with these thick gloves. Notice how the armadillo has a worn down spot on its head. This is because armadillos don't hesitate to crash their way through brush, undergrowth, dirt, and even into hard objects. What armadillos lack in intelligence, they make up for in determination. What they lack in their belly, they fill with invertebrates such as earthworms and beetle larvae. This is often why ...click for more

07.11.2003 - Snake Sack - Bag for Snakes
Here I am, catching and removing a snake from a Florida property. There are many ways to catch snakes, from snake hooks, to tong (such as seen above), or by trap or by hand. But no matter how you catch it, you then need to transport it, so that you can take it away from the property, keep it safe, and then relocate it without harm. The best way to transport snakes is in a snake sack, also called a snake bag. A bag holds the snake comfortably, and keeps it from squirming around. With no flat or hard surfaces, the snake really can't push off and gain any leverage. A ...click for more

07.08.2003 - Dead Raccoon Carcass Removal
This is a very simple dead animal removal. In fact, one might think that this is a very common sort of dead animal removal job. However, this was actually pretty rare. It's not very often that I arrive at a house with a dead animal that is simply lying outside. Most of the time I'm called because a homeowner smells a terrible stench somewhere inside the house, and it's my job to find and remove it. Removing the animal is always the easy part - the finding is usually the tricky part. I suppose that most of the time, if an animal is simply lying dead outside that the hom...click for more

07.03.2003 - Wildlife Trapping in Orlando Florida
If you need wildlife trapping in Orlando Florida, I'm your guy! I'm the rootinest-tootinest critter gitter in all of Florida, yee-haw! I've caught raccoons and squirrels, both boys and girls, from coast to coast, with taters and toast! I catch them mangy musky muskrats, those skiving squirrels, and those tasty armadillos by the bucketload. I'm armed with a steel trap and an itchy snare pole finger, and I can smell a dead skunk from your mother in law with but one whiff of my bloodhound snout. It's late and I'm tired and I'm just writing gibberish, because I want to go ...click for more

06.27.2003 - Armadillos Invade Florida
The Nine Banded Armadillo, Dasypus novemcinctus is not native to North America, including the two states in which it most thrives, Florida and Texas. The mammal is originally from south/central America. However, it has been transplanted to the states, and it survives just fine here. Rumor has it that the species was introduced to Florida in the early 20th century when two armadillos escaped from a small zoo. Who knows. Usually, exotic, or non- native species end up establishing populations in suitable habitats, because people invevitably transport the animals. In ...click for more

06.22.2003 - Five Lined Skink
The Five Lined Skink, (Eumeces fasciatus), also known as the Blue Tail Skink, is a small lizard that lives throughout much of the eastern United States. Skinks are characterized by a lack of neck, a smooth tubular body, and short legs. They squiggle along when they move. As either of their common names imply, this lizard has five bright lines tracing down its back and tail, and the tail is blue. The colors are more pronounced in younger lizards, and can fade with age, particularly in the male lizards. I think this lizard is very pretty. It has the sort of fancy colours more ...click for more

06.16.2003 - Dumb Possum - How Smart Are Opossums?
I read in a wildlife book that the North American, or Virginia, Opossum has the smallest ratio of brain mass to body mass of ANY mammal in the world. I actually don't think that's true (armadillos for example seem to have teeny heads and big bodies), but I certainly do acknowledge that the possum's brain can't be very large, and that the animal doesn't use much of what it does have. Opossums are dumb! They're so dumb that they let their ears freeze off in the winter instead of seeking shelter. They're so dumb that I've chased them and they run into walls. ...click for more

05.23.2003 - Armadillo Removal Tactics
I managed to capture this fine photo of an armadillo running along at night. Armadillos are nocturnal creatures, so they're not often seen. When they are spotted, they are frequently rooting around, sniffing the ground for worms and grubs, and digging. I saw this armadillo sniffing the lawn at a customer's house after dark (I work long days) and I quietly approached it. It ran away, but I ran along after it, and managed to take this photograph. It's a nice looking (in my opinion) and relatively harmless animal, so why do people desire armadillo removal? The ...click for more

05.11.2003 - Fix Hole to Keep Rats Out of House
Here's probably the most common place that rats use to get from the attic into the living space - the power supply for the kitchen stove.  It's by far the most common area of entry.  The reason for this is because the power lines run up through the wall, and the rats in the attic will run along that power line as an easy thing to descend and climb.  A hole is always cut in the drywall to allow the cord to go through, and rats use that hole.  If the hole isn't large enough, but rats can smell that tasty kitchen air coming through the hole, they just chew a larger hole to get in. I was ...click for more

05.03.2003 - Dead Raccoon In House Air Handler
This house was the worst-smelling house that I've ever been in. The odor was unbelievably wretched, both in stench and power. The house was completely unlivable. I knew, as did the owner, that a dead animal lay somewhere in the house, rotting. The smell had afflicted the house for ten days. I put on my HEPA filter mask and searched all around. I searched the attic extensively, but I couldn't find the source of the odor. Amazingly, I did find some living baby raccoons. I suspected that the mother raccoon must have died somewhere, but I could not find it. I ev...click for more

05.01.2003 - Rat or Mouse in Ceiling - Trapping & Removal
This job took place in an office.  Rats had been jumping on desks at night, knocking things over, chewing on documents, pooping in fax machines, and things of that nature.  I was called out to address the problem. The job started with a full inspection of the office building.  Sure enough, it has several openings that rats could use to gain access inside.  The roof vents did not have proper screens, and there were several gaps where pipes came out of the concrete wall but were not properly sealed around the edges.  I saw the brown staining from the grease that ...click for more

04.29.2003 - Bats in a Barrel Tile Roof
Here we see part of the process of the exclusion of a colony of bats living in a barrel tile roof. This is part of a shopping plaza in SW Florida (a town called North Port). I was called because thousands of bats had been going in and out of the roof, causing many problems. First of all, the bats were driving away customers - not only at dusk, when active, but also during the day, due to the noise and especially, the odor. Bats have a very strong odor - both from their droppings and urine, and from their own bodies. A large colony can give off quite a strong odor. In this case, ...click for more

04.27.2003 - Cute Baby Opossum in House
I went out at midnight to remove this little opossum from the bathroom of a home. I've already removed several small opossums from this house. The problem is that a female opossum has moved into the attic, and she has young with her. The little ones run all around as they explore their environment. Some of them find holes leading down walls, and down they climb! This house has several openings that lead into the house - basically, architectural gaps. Most homes have a few. The baby opossoms have been finding these areas and thus getting into the house. The ...click for more

04.25.2003 - Raccoon Capture - Catching Raccoons
Baby raccoons are cute.  Attics are hot.  That's what I figured out during this job.  A husband and wife called me with suspicion of raccoons in the attic.  When I asked why they suspected they had raccoons living in the attic, they said, "Well, we've heard some scratching and clawing up there at nighttime, and we hear a sort of chattering that seems like it's raccoon sound, there's a scent that we think is raccoon poop, and every night we watch a fat raccoon climb the downspout and into a vent hole leading into the attic".  The evidence sounded good enough to me, so I head ...click for more

04.22.2003 - Mole Capture & Removal
Moles are a common nuisance animal throughout the country. The primary objection that homeowners have to this little creature is that they make a mess of lawns. They live underground, where they are extremely active, tunneling through soil and eating about half their body weight each day in earthworms and grubs and such. They dig deep tunnels, which aren't noticed, but they also dig surface tunnels for both feeding and movement, and these tunnels create ridges all over a lawn. In addition, moles often dig deep chambers in which to live or nest, and they often push ...click for more

04.07.2003 - Raccoon Extermination
This is the largest raccoon that I've caught so far.  The customer told me that he had a very large raccoon that was continually ripping into his screened-in pool area, and that he needed a raccoon exterminator right away.  I told him that I could help him, but that I don't really exterminate raccoons.  I told him that I trap them in live cage traps and relocate them far outside the city limits, so that it will never be able to come back again.  "That's okay with me, just get rid of it!" he said, "But I think you're going to need an awful big cage, this sucker is huge!". I have a special very ...click for more

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