No matter where you live, there are always many types of “critters” looking for a place to get out of the elements and possibly raise a family. And this is the time of year those animals are on the lookout for a nice warm place to spend the winter.  Every year animals such as ground hogs, raccoons, possums, snakes and cats take up residence in crawl spaces and attic areas in homes.  I know from personal experience that raccoons are very destructive.  They destroyed the soffit vents to gain access to the attic on one of my rental properties. It was very expensive to get rid of the animals and repair the damage that they did.

Before winter sets in, check your properties and make sure that you are not inviting any unwanted guests into your home.  Once they move in, not only can these unwanted guests can cause a lot of damage and be very difficult to get rid of, but they can also be very dangerous if you enter “their territory”. You run the risk of being attacked so be sure to call a professional if you find yourself in this situation.

This is also the time of year that these animals start looking for a place to give birth and raise their young.  Most critter removal companies charge to come out and set up traps.  Then there is a separate charge per animal that needs to be removed!  This can get very costly if you have one mother and five or six babies!  The key here is to catch the parents early before they have babies. 

Here are some tips on how to prevent this problem:

 -Crawl space hatches vents should be securely fastened to prevent easy access to your crawl space under the home. If left open, animals will move in and make this area their home.

 -Check all vents around the crawl space and make sure that they are also securely in place. Closing the vents in the winter will help keep the area underneath the house warmer.

 -Do not provide an easy way for animals to access your attic area.  Remove vines from the siding and cut tree limbs away from the house so that animals cannot enter your home by climbing up vines and branches. This is a common way for raccoons to get into the attic. Snakes especially like to climb up the vines and come in through a tiny opening such as a torn screen on a vent.

 -If you find mice in your home, deal with them quickly because the snakes may not be far behind. When I had my home inspection business whenever we found snakes or snake skins in an attic, there was always evidence of a food source. Typically that “evidence” was mice droppings. So be sure to take steps to quickly get rid of mice that find their way into the property.

Remember, an ounce or prevention is worth a pound of cure! Take some time this week to visit your properties and look for “easy access” areas in your homes.


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