Common Wildlife Problems In New York

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Coming into contact with nuisance wildlife in your backyard is becoming more common as a result of urban growth into the natural habitats of animals. It may be exciting to see an animal when you walk through the woods, but watching a raccoon flip over your garbage and make a mess of your yard or having a skunk spray your dog is not! In New York, the most common wildlife problems come from chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, and skunks.


Part of the squirrel family, chipmunks are between 2 and 6 inches long and less than a pound in weight. They are ground-dwelling animals that burrow as deep as three feet underground, love nuts and cause significant risks for damage to homes, yards and farms. They are typically brownish yellow in color with white and black stripes down their backs.

When chipmunks excavate the ground near your home's foundation, they can cause extensive damage. Signs of common chipmunk caused damages include:

  • Holes in lawn and garden from digging for the roots of plants

  • Damaged crops and gardens

  • Piles of seeds under bird feeders (and empty bird feeders!)

  • Structural or foundation damage from burrowing


Squirrels are part of the rodent family and identified by their big, bushy tails. They're about 12 to 25 inches long and come in a variety of colors from black, gray, brown and red. Some may have stripes or change coats based on the season.

Squirrels can cause damage to your heating and air conditioning systems, lawns and landscaping.


Raccoons are about 32 inches long from nose to tail and weigh an average of 20 pounds. They look like they are wearing a mask because they have dark colored fur around their eyes and cheeks.

Raccoons pose health risks to humans. If their droppings are accidentally ingested, it could cause severe damage to the nervous system or even death. Raccoon feces may also cause baylisascaris infection. In addition to health concerns, raccoons are nuisance animals that will get into your garbage or damage your garden.


Almost everyone will recognize a skunk! They are black with a white stripe down their back and tail, range from 20 to 30 inches in length and are about 8 pounds. They burrow underground and if they can't find a different form of shelter, may burrow underneath buildings through foundation openings. They are not welcome in backyards because of their potential to spray terrible, strong odors and for the damages they can cause to the foundation and property.

Signs of skunk damage include:

  • Holes in lawn

  • Lower ears removed from your cornstalks

  • Trash cans that have been tipped over and eaten from

  • Chicken eggs missing and sometimes even chickens themselves as skunks are a natural predator to chickens

Thomas Pest Services Wildlife Program 

Some homeowners attempt to control nuisance wildlife on their own with traps. It is dangerous for inexperienced people to handle these wild animals, even if they are in a trap. The trap can fail, accidental contact can be made with the wild animal, and if you are not careful, they could still spread waste products.

Instead, rely on our certified wildlife control experts to identify the type of wildlife infestation you are dealing with and determine the most effective method for pest control. Our technicians use a variety of humane control options for wildlife including:

  • Catch and release (off-site and approved release spots)

  • Eviction and prevention

Once the wildlife is removed, we can also repair damages caused by animals and help seal the home to prevent new infestations.

Tags: nuisance wildlife control and removal  |  damages caused by nuisance wildlife  |  nuisance wildlife in ny


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