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Solve a Wildlife Problem

Wildlife in my Living Space

Bird

If a bird gets into the living space of your home, calmly direct the bird into a room with access to the outside. If the bird flies up to a curtain rod or ceiling light, use your arms or a broom to move the bird down (the broom shouldn’t make contact with the bird). Once the bird is in the room, close all interior doors and open an exterior door or window with the screen removed. Guide the bird towards the exterior door or window. Once the bird is out, close the door or window (be sure to put the screen back in). Use hot, soapy water to clean any mess the bird may have made.

Check for holes in siding, window screens, chimney caps or the building eaves to see if you can find where the bird got in. If you don’t have a chimney cap, get one installed. Repair any holes that you find so that you don’t get other feathered visitors in the future.

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Bat

Click HERE for what to do if a bat gets inside your home.

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Squirrel

If a squirrel gets into the living space of your home, calmly direct the squirrel into a room with access to the outside. You may need to use a broom if the squirrel climbs the walls or shelving/bookcases. The broom is only used as a tool to guide the animal in the right direction; the broom should not make contact with the squirrel.

Once the squirrel is in a room with outdoor access, open the exterior door or a window with the screen removed. Guide the squirrel out the door or window.

Once the squirrel is outside, check your home to see if you can find where the squirrel got in. If the squirrel fell down the chimney, check the chimney cap to make sure it isn’t damaged. Also check to make sure there are no other squirrels in the chimney. Sometimes squirrels nest in chimneys. You can either wait a few weeks until the young naturally leave the nest (close the damper so they can’t get into the home) or remove the animals.

Tree squirrels can be live-trapped (if you have a permit) or you can hire a nuisance wildlife control operator.

Do not use the fireplace until the animals are gone and the chimney has been professionally cleaned. Once all animals are gone, if there isn’t a chimney cap, have one installed, or if there is a damaged cap make sure to repair it.

If there are holes in the eaves or siding, stuff newspaper in the hole. If the paper hasn’t been removed in a couple of days, it is safe to make repairs. If the paper is removed, the squirrel may be using the site as shelter or it have a nest inside the building. Do not make repairs if young are still inside; the female may chew her way back in to get to them.

Follow the same procedures for other small mammals that find their way indoors. If there are mice or rats in the home, they can be trapped and removed without a permit.

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Raccoon

If a raccoon gets into the living space of your home, calmly direct it into a room with access to the outside. Use a broom to direct the raccoon and make sure it doesn’t come into contact with you. The broom should not make contact with the raccoon.

Once the raccoon is in a room with outdoor access, open the exterior door or a window with the screen removed. Guide the raccoon out the door or window.

Once the raccoon is outside, check your home to see if you can find where the raccoon got in. If the raccoon came down the chimney, check the chimney cap to make sure it isn’t damaged. Be sure to check the chimney to make sure there are not other raccoons inside. Female raccoons will sometimes have their young in a chimney if they can’t find a natural denning site. If there are other raccoons, hire a nuisance wildlife control operator to remove the raccoons. If there are no other animals in the chimney it is safe to make repairs. Make repairs to the chimney cap if it is damaged, and if there isn’t a chimney cap, have one installed.

If there are holes in the eaves or siding, stuff newspaper in the hole. If the paper hasn’t been removed in three days, it is safe to make repairs. If the paper is removed, the raccoon is either using the site for protection against the elements or it may have a nest inside the building. Be sure not to make repairs if young are still inside. The female may chew her way back in to retrieve the young. If you need to trap the animal, CONTACT an Illinois Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist for a permit first.

Follow the same procedures for other mammals such as opossums.

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