Protecting People, Property and Wildlife®

Since 1983

5 Things that Attract Wild Animals to Your Yard

Animals that are attracted to your yardWhy is wildlife (raccoons, opossums, squirrels, rodents) destroying your yard and even sneaking into your home when your neighbors say they don’t have an issue with animal infestations? It could be one or more of the following reasons:

1. Birdfeeders and birdbaths

If you are a bird watcher, this may not be what you want to hear. Unfortunately, wild animals are constantly searching for food and water, and when they find a reliable source of nourishment, they’ll return every day if possible.

2. Peripheral landscaping

Beautifying your yard with trees, shrubs, hedges and flower gardens sends a clear signal to wild animals that you are open for business. While installing a fence around your home and landscaping items can help keep larger wild animals from invading your yard, fences won’t stop raccoons, squirrels and other animals that are expert climbers and diggers.

3. Piles of deadwood in your yard

Dying trees shedding dead limbs in your yard, piles of chopped wood for your fireplace and other lawn debris naturally attracts wild animals looking for shelter. In addition, dead wood lures grub-like insects which, in turn, invites hungry raccoons and rodents. Snakes especially love to find piles of lawn debris to slither under and hide.

4. Backyard fountains

Although they had charm and beauty to your yard, they also charm wild animals into invading your yard every day for a drink of cool, clean water. Animals won’t leave right away drinking from your fountain, either. They will sniff around, look for food resources and potentially discover a small hole through which they gain entrance into your home.

5. Outside pets

Leaving pet food outside for outdoor pets is one of the leading causes of pest problems. Whether it’s dry dog or cat food, hay for goats or chicken feed for chickens, wild animals roaming around the edges of your yard will pick up the scent of food and make a beeline towards it.

Don’t waste time and money on DIY pest control. Call Critter Control® of Dallas today for immediate, professional removal of wild animals from your yard or home.

Dallas Opossum RemovalYou won’t find opossums in your home very often around Dallas, but when you do they can be a real problem. No matter what type of critter you have invading your personal space, it’s important that you have it taken care of to minimize damage to your home and health risks to yourself. Here are some opossum basics.

Signs

There are a number of warning signs that you might have an opossum in your home. For starters, you might notice damage to the exterior of your home where the opossums are trying to get in. You might even hear the scratching that causes this damage from time to time. However, some of the most common opossum warning signs are pet food disappearing, lots of animal noises and unpleasant smells. If you notice any of these signs, you should call somebody right away.

Problems

Opossums aren’t the most aggressive animal, but they still pose risks when they enter your home. If you scare an opossum and get too close to it, there is a chance that you’ll be attacked. However, most of the risks that come with having an opossum in your home aren’t that direct. What’s much more likely is an opossum attacking your pets. The one piece of good news is that opossums almost never have rabies, so you probably don’t have to worry about diseases if an opossum bites you or one of your animals.

Aside from this, opossums will cause damage to your home from trying to get in and out, using your home as a bathroom and more. This is why it’s important to have opossum problems taken care of as soon as you’re aware of them.

Make the Call

If you have a critter in your Dallas home, the best thing you can do is get rid of it as soon as possible. Critter Control® of Dallas has been dealing with animals in homes for years, so we have what it takes to take care of your opossum problem. If you need help ridding your home of critters, give us a call at 817-222-1101.

We all appreciate the tranquility of wildlife – until some critter threatens our gardens.  It’s difficult to sustain that peaceful feeling when the adorable bunny or graceful doe chomps down on your newly planted veggies. So how do you keep these unwelcome guests out of the garden in a natural, humane, and eco-safe way?

Don’t Invite Them

Like your pesky neighbor, Bob – the one who desperately wants to come over for game night – avoid inviting these guests into your yard and garden. Cover compost piles, seal garbage can lids, and don’t leave uneaten pet food outdoors. These delicacies draw animals into the yard and closer to the goodies in the garden. Alternatively, you may choose to allow bushes and plants around the exterior of your yard to grow wild or plant tasty alternatives away from your fruits and vegetables. Rabbits, for example, would probably rather munch on clover and dandelions in the shelter of an overgrown brush than eat the veggies in the middle of an exposed garden.

Withdraw Your Welcome

Like with your grown son who refuses to move out on his own, start making things more unpleasant for the creatures that venture near the garden. Most animals have a keen sense of smell, so try natural scent repellents like coffee grounds, vinegar, ammonia, hot pepper flakes, garlic, or even human hair. Harassment techniques, such as noise-makers, motion-activated lights and sprinklers, leashed dogs, and visual scare devices like scarecrows and metallic streamers can be successful, but wild creatures often find a way around these deterrents, so plan to vary them periodically.

Fences Make Good Neighbors

The most obvious prevention for unwanted guests (both human and wild creature) on your property is a fence. Although fencing your garden can be expensive, you can save money by using inexpensive materials like chicken wire or hardware cloth. The height of the fence can range from a few feet (for rabbits) to 8 feet high for really determined deer. If you have burrowing visitors, bury the fence at least 10” deep in the ground.

Call for Help

Finally, if you have wild critters who have overstayed their welcome, like your mother-in-law who came for a visit and never left, help is available. Engage a respected authority in wildlife control, like Critter Control® of Dallas. Critter Control company has created the standards for animal control and wildlife management nationally. We use a variety of humane methods to remove live animals from your property and discourage them from returning.

For service call: 817-222-1101 or email us at [email protected]

Although common garden snakes in Texas are non-venomous and help to keep rodents and other invasive pests away from your home, the sight of a snake on your property can be terrifying. With more than 50 different native species of snake in the state, it can be hard to identify whether it’s friend or foe as it quickly slithers across your yard. If you’re worried that you may have a venomous snake on your property, Critter Control® of Dallas can help.

Identifying Dangerous Snakes

Thick humidity and a high heat index make the Lone Star State an ideal home for cold-blooded, carnivorous reptiles. Out of the many snakes that call Texas home, there are four types and six species of venomous snakes in the state.

  • Cottonmouth-Also known as a water moccasin, cottonmouths are aggressive snakes usually found in swampy areas.
  • Rattlesnakes- Species include diamondback, timber, and pygmy rattlesnakes — which cause the most venomous bites in Texas because their small size attracts children to pick them up.
  • Southern copperhead- found in the wooded areas and pastures around Texas, Southern copperheads are limited to the eastern-third of the state

Rely on Expert Removal

Because snakes are aggressive and often rest in hard to reach places, their removal requires proper equipment and expertise. Never attempt to capture a snake on your own. Venomous or non-venomous, a snake will strike and sink its sharp fangs into whomever it deems a threat. Keep your distance and contact professional pest removal services to handle your snake problem.

The technicians at Critter Control® of Dallas are fully licensed animal control professionals with years of experience in snake removal. If you have an unwanted snake on your property or in your house, contact the experts at Critter Control® of Dallas. Call 817-222-1101 today to schedule a free consultation.

Many pests love the warm weather and sunshine Texas provides. One of those is spiders. While many are content with living amongst humans, we are not so comfortable having to share our private space with any eight-legged arachnids, especially, when we are unsure of whether they could be harmful.

Most spider bites aren’t strong enough to harm humans because their fangs are too small. All, except for the black widow and brown recluse. Their poison can cause nerve damage, which could result in death if left untreated.

To help you identify some of the spiders you see hanging around your home or workplace, we’ve included a list of some of the most common house spiders found in Texas.

Black House Spider – Adults average to be 1/2 inch in body length and are dark brown to black with a textured appearance. They spin webs in secluded areas such as window framing, eves, gutters, brickwork, sheds, rocks, and bark.

Wolf Spider – Relatively large, they range in size from 1/4 to 2 inches long, are hairy, and greyish-brown with a Union Jack impression on their back. Wolf spiders are commonly found indoors in dark, moist areas near sheds, garages, and basements. These spiders do not spin a web. They stalk and hunt their prey in open grasslands, fields, suburban backyards, wooded areas, and around streams, lakes, and marshes.

Hobo Spider – Females are 1/2 to 2/3 inches, and males are smaller at 1/4 to 1/3 inches. They are brown with a zigzag (herringbone) pattern on the top of the abdomen with evenly colored, hairy legs with no rings around them. Hobo spiders typically live in dark areas near flower beds, beneath rocks, woodpiles, and around the foundations of houses. Indoors, you will discover them living in your basement and in dark recesses like corners. They are not great climbers and usually stay at ground level.

Brown Recluse Spider – Also known as violin spiders because of the dark brown violin-shaped marking located on their cephalothorax. Instead of eight eyes, a brown recluse has six that are arranged in pairs. They are about 3/8 inches in body length with light-colored legs. They make small webs in hidden places, but never out in the open. Indoors they can be found in basements, cardboard boxes, storage closets, shoes, and any laundry left lying in a pile. Outdoors, they seek shelter in woodpiles, garages, and sheds.

Black Widow Spider – Considered the most dangerous spider in North America, they got their name because the female will commonly eat the male after mating. Females are 1/2 to 1 & 1/2 inches long with a shiny black abdomen and red hourglass marking on the underside of their abdomen. Males are about half the size with smaller bodies, longer legs, and yellow and red bands and spots on the bottom of their stomach. Outdoors you will find a black widow hanging on its web with its belly upward near woodpiles, debris, hollow stumps, rodent burrows, and in sheds, garages, and underneath stones. Indoors, they prefer the cluttered areas in basements and crawl spaces.

Funnel Web Grass Spider – Generally brown or grey with light and dark stripes close to the head and around 3/4 inches in length. Outdoors, they commonly build their webs on the ground, around steps, window wells, foundation, and bushes. It isn’t common to find a grass spider indoors as they prefer to be in tall grass, heavy ground cover, and on the branches inside of big shrubs.

Jumping Spider – You can identify these spiders by their tiny size and giant eyes. Instead of scurrying, they jump and quickly move around objects. You can find them in the cracks of hardwood floors, creases of drapery, bookshelves, and underneath furniture, doors, and window molding. These spiders are harmless and are helpful in removing pests.

While most spiders are timid and shy and do not seek to harm humans, many bites are a result of their webs being destroyed. If you have spiders living in your home or business, we can help you get rid of them. For more information on our pest control services or to schedule a consultation, please call Critter Control® of Dallas today at 817-222-1101.

Possibly one of the most misunderstood animal species in the world, bats are incredibly beneficial to people and the earth in general. Bats typically consume 1/3 of their bodyweight in insects each night, with some bats eating upwards of 3,000 mosquitoes per day. Other species are effective pollinators in desert and tropical climates. The government recognizes that bats can be a nuisance to residential and commercial properties, and they recommend “bat-proofing” or bat exclusion methods.

Endangered Status

Both the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act of 1956 protect the six federally listed endangered bat species. Federal law not only protects the bats, but their habitat as well.

State-threatened and endangered species are protected under state law, though regulations vary by state and bat population.

Additionally, international law protects bats. All bat species are protected in the United Kingdom, and it is illegal to possess, injure, or kill a bat. Violators are subject to fines and up to six months imprisonment.

Other Regulations

Most states require permitting for pest control operators, and additional permits are required for the taking of listed species only, if those bat populations present a health risk to humans.

Permits are required for wildlife rehabilitators to take in injured bats as well. Federal law prohibits the collection of bat carcasses of listed species, however.

Do You Have Bats in Your Home?

Bats commonly seek shelter inside attics when they need a place to nest and birth their young. It is illegal to remove bats while immature pups are present as they cannot fly, but we can work with you to create an exclusion plan that safely removes them as they mature. If you think bats have taken up residence in your home, call us today at 817.222.1101 to schedule a home consultation.

Texas is famous for a lot, including football, barbecue, and our unofficial motto “everything’s bigger in Texas.” One of those things that’s bigger here in Texas is our bat population. In fact, Texas has the highest population of bats in the country, and is the home of the single largest colony of bats in the world.

Of the more than 1,000 species of bats in the world, Texas is home to some of the most interesting and amazing species anywhere. Here are five of our favorites:

Mexican Long-Tongued Bat

If you enjoy drinking tequila or mezcal, you can thank the Mexican long-tongued bat. Farmers who grow the agave plant that is necessary to produce both drinks depend on bats to pollinate the plants to help production. This species of bat migrates along the groups of agave crops from Central America through the southern United States, pollinating the plants as they go.

Mexican Long-Nosed Bat

Similar to the Mexican long-tongued bat, the Mexican long-nosed bat feeds on plant nectar to survive. Texas is as far north as this bat will go, but they are still often found pollinating night-blooming cactus throughout the state. They are one of the biggest pollinators of various cactus flowers, and their long nose allows them to reach the nectar at the bottom of the flower, lending to the bat’s name.

Eastern Red Bat

Many kinds of flying predators snatch their prey while flying through the air, but the eastern red bat does it a little differently. This bat captures insects and other prey by somersaulting through the air and wrapping its wings the victim. They then reach their head down into the pouch formed by their wings, eats their prey, and flies off all in one motion. The eastern red bat sticks to forested areas and feeds primarily on moths and beetles.

Hoary Bat

One of the most widespread species in the country, the hoary bat can be found as far north as Canada, and there are even related species all the way out in Hawaii. This species is migratory, though males and females utilize different migration patterns. They primarily eat flies, beetles, grasshoppers, and even dragonflies.

Southern Yellow Bat

This migratory bat inhabits the plains of south Texas as well as the gulf coastal plain of the state, and spend much of their time hunting insects after dark. They use echolocation to find their prey in the night, and tend to live in wooded areas that offer cover and concealment. As the use of ornamental palm trees increases throughout the country, some believe that the bat is expanding its range to match that.

Let Us Help You

We’ve built a reputation as the premier animal control solution in the Dallas area, and when you choose to work with us, you’re guaranteed to get top-notch service. If you have nuisance bats on your property, our bat removal specialists can assess your situation and create a plan that suits your needs. Call us today at 817-222-1101 to schedule your consultation.

It’s one of those things you think will never happen to you. You keep your home too clean, your house is too new, no rat would ever be able to get in and infest your property, right? Rat infestations are more common that you might think, and when it happens, it is not something to be taken lightly.

Here is what you need to know about identifying and fighting a rat infestation.

Identify the Signs

Because of their elusive nature, you may never see a rat until the infestation is severe. Instead, look for signs of that infestation, including:

  • Small, dark, round rodent droppings in or around food packages, in drawers, cupboards, or under the sink
  • Nesting material like shreds of paper, cardboard, fabric, mulch, or plant matter present throughout the house
  • Signs of biting or chewing on food packaging
  • Holes chewed through walls or floors that create small entry points into your house
  • Foul, musty, or stale smells coming from hidden areas

Preventing an Infestation

The best way to fight a rat infestation is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Discourage rat activity by removing food and water sources, and items that can shelter them:

  • Seal holes around the inside and outside of your home to keep rats out. This can be as simple as plugging small holes with steel wool (one of the few things rats cannot chew through) or patching interior and exterior walls
  • Remove potential nesting sites from your property, including piles of leaves, deep mulch, or stacks of firewood
  • Keep food and water sources in and around your house to a minimum
    • Make sure garbage cans are tightly sealed and kept in your garage if possible
    • Turn over compost piles when adding new food scraps
    • Do not feed outdoor birds or squirrels when you are fighting an infestation, as this food can be taken advantage of by rats and other rodents

Hire a professional to remove rats for you

At Critter Control® of Dallas, we understand that having wild animals inside your home and on your property can be stressful. Because mice can reproduce at alarming rates, you want to call us as soon as possible to avoid having to deal with a more extensive infestation. For more information or to schedule a free home inspection, call us today at 817-222-1101.

The first sign of a possible squirrel problem is hearing sounds of scampering overhead early in the morning or as you’re sitting down to eat dinner. Once you head to the attic to investigate, you may be welcomed by a distinctive animal smell. You look over and catch sight of a bushy tail and confirm you have a squirrel living in your attic.

What Dangers Does a Squirrel Infestation Cause?

While looking for entry points into your attic, squirrels may cause damage to soffits, siding, chimney flashing, fascia boards, and various types of exhaust fans. Once a squirrel has gained access into your attic, they will build nests with outside materials they have brought in such as sticks and moss. Since animals do not have a designated bathroom area, they will leave urine and droppings throughout the attic.

Although rare through transmission, squirrels can carry pathogens like salmonella and rabies. They can also damage property from gnawing on wood to chewing through wires, causing potential fire hazards.

Why Do Squirrels Like Living in Attics?

Squirrels favor building their nests near openings like loose or rotten trim boards and unscreened vents. It’s not uncommon to find adult female squirrels nesting in your attic as they are easily able to store food and raise their young. Attics also allow squirrels to build their nests in a warm and safe environment without fear from outside elements or predators.

How Can I Prevent Squirrels from Making My Attic Their Home?

There are laws in many states that do not allow the trapping and relocation of squirrels without a permit, making squirrel removal a much more complicated process to achieve both humanely and legally.

Making sure tree branches are cut will lessen a squirrel’s access to the roof, while chimney caps help keep squirrels out of the chimney as well as any other wildlife such as birds, bats, and raccoons.

If you have bird feeders in your yard that squirrels eat from, try buying ones that don’t drop seeds on the ground. You can also try putting cayenne pepper on the bird feed. Birds won’t notice the difference, but the squirrels will. Making an effort to deter squirrels from being in your yard, can help prevent them from making your attic their home. Contact us on the web or call us at 817-222-1101 to schedule a free consultation.

From tapping to scratching to squealing and thumping, noises inside your walls can be normal. However, if the noises you are hearing aren’t mechanical, they could be from animal activity and should be addressed right away.

Here is a guide to help you determine what type of animal is making the noises in your wall:

Squirrels are erratic, often scurrying, but are somewhat easy to identify because they like schedules. You will usually hear them in the morning when you are rising for breakfast and during evening times when you’re getting ready for dinner because squirrels venture outside during the day to look for food and then come back in the evening to find warmth and shelter. If you bang on the wall, squirrels will get frightened, and you will hear them scurrying as they run off.

Bats will be easier to see than to hear. Listen for a scratching sound from the tiny claws on the elbow of their wings, if you think you have bats. In addition to scratching sounds, squeaking in the walls may also be a sign of bats as they try to climb up the interior of the walls.

Mice often make noises right before homeowners go to bed. You will hear tiny scratches isolated in one area of the wall, as well as chewing noises. If you go up to the wall and bang on it, generally mice will stop what they are doing for a minute or so, then you may hear the mice run down the wall or up to the ceiling.

Rats will be more active at night since they are nocturnal. You will hear some squeaking, but you will mostly hear chewing and the fast pitter-patter sounds of their feet as they move through the walls.

Raccoons will be heard at night as they are nocturnal animals as well. If raccoons are in your walls, you will hear heavy scratching, loud thumping, crying sounds, and hissing. If you hear a chirping sound very similar to high-pitched sounds that birds make, there could also be raccoon babies living in your home.

Birds will nest inside walls and can be identified by listening for light pecking noises or beak tapping. If adult birds are constantly going and coming from the nest, the activity can be quite noisy. You may also hear chirping and flapping if a bird gets trapped inside the walls and is trying to escape.

If you hear noises inside your wall, contact Critter Control® of Dallas to perform a free animal entry home inspection. Our certified wildlife management technicians will identify the cause of the noises, and locate and remove the animals from your home. After we remove the animals, we’ll help keep them out by sealing all the entry ways in to your walls or attic. We can even repair the damage caused by the pests while they were making your home their own. Call Critter Control® of Dallas at 817-222-1101, and let us show you why we’re the best choice in animal removal.