Angies List Tips for Hiring an Animal Removal Company◀ Back To Blog
February 23, 2015
Squirrels and other pests can wreak havoc on a home, causing hundreds of dollars in damage and scaring the daylights out of you. Angies List offers suggestions to homeowners on what they need to look out for, why they might consider hiring a pro to get rid of the critters and keep them away.
What to know before you hire an animal removal company:
Full service vs. basics: Some companies focus only on the animal and provide no repair work to keep future critters out of your home. Know what you want before you call so you don't waste your time. Regardless of whether your critter catcher does the repair work, you do need to close up the entry points and repair any damage the animal caused during its stay with you.
Methodology: Some companies offer humane trapping and relocation vs. more lethal means of ridding your home of the unwanted animal. Some offer alternatives to poisons, as well. Know what you want beforehand.
Size matters: Some companies focus on small animals while others will handle only with those squirrel-sized or larger. Companies focusing on bugs and rodents might not deal with wild animals at all. Know the service offered by your prospective critter catcher before you go to the trouble of a house call.
Pricing: Often consumers call thinking they have one wild beast to deal with only to find out whole families or a few species have moved in. Ask about the companies pricing structure.
Dead or alive: Animal removal companies will often step in to remove carcasses that local governmental agencies (usually called Animal Control) will not. This may involve having to get into crawl spaces, attics, or break through walls, so be prepared for additional costs depending on how difficult it is to reach the critter. It's a good idea to get the carcass removed because the decaying process isn't just smelly, it creates a big mess that can cause health hazards.
Stay or go: While you may want to live and let live, having a wild animal – or a flock of them – live in your home is a bad idea. Chewed wires can lead to electrical fires or damage, droppings can cause serious health issues and infestations can result in roof damage and leaks that can lead to more serious damage.
How do you know if a pest is living rent-free in your home? Angie's List suggests checking these areas:
Attic: Check the attic floor and insulation for animal feces. Look for any outside light leaking in, which will indicate holes. You can test if a hole is being used by an animal placing flour in front of any holes and checking for footprints or stuff the hole loosely with a paper towel. If it gets pushed in or out, assume an animal is present. Even if the paper stays in place or you have no flour footprints – close the hole up.
Pipes: Look inside your home behind appliances and anywhere else pipes enter. These are common entry points for mice.
Decking: The area under the deck is a popular hangout for raccoons.
Angie's List tips for keeping animals out.
Roof & siding: Look for loose vent screens, warped siding or holes. Make repairs once you have checked the attic and cleared out any critters.
Chimney: An easy way to keep animals out is to install a chimney cap. Keep your flue closed when not in use.
Pet doors: While these can be a great convenience for you and your pet; they can also be an entryway for unwanted wildlife. Consider electronic pet doors instead of the traditional flaps.
Trash: Just like people, animals are drawn to the smell of food. Always secure trash containers. Put out trash the morning of collection instead of the night before.
Trees & landscape: Keep trim limbs trimmed and away from your house. Accessible branches give animals a gateway to your roof. Cover and secure compost piles.
Fill gaps and cracks: Mice can get through a crack as small as a quarter of an inch big. Check the perimeter outside your home for holes, gaps and deteriorated weather