Rats, Raccoons, and Squirrels… Oh My! Minimizing Wildlife Intrusions At Home

Guest Post By Joshua Dickson, Out of the Wild, outofwild@gmail.com

OUT OF THE WILD Ballard Josh Dickson

Joshua Dickson, Owner/ Operator, Out Of The Wild

For nearly a decade, I have owned and operated Out Of The Wild, a nuisance wildlife control business specializing in humane exclusion.  The following are recommendations I provide clients in an effort to help minimizing wildlife intrusion at their homes.

First… chickens! I am not suggesting you do not buy chickens or get rid of the ones you have, but know that just owning chickens will most likely draw rodents to your property. The most extreme rat jobs I have been to usually involve chickens.

Next up… Bird feeders. Even the cleanest bird feeders can attract rats and squirrels to your yard. Do not keep them low to the ground or on the patio.  This provides pests easy access to the feeder.  If you do chose to hang a feeder in your yard, try to keep it as far away from the perimeter of your home as possible.

Big no no… Outdoor pet food. Try to keep pet food locked inside the house, and never free feed your pets outside. Leaving food out may attract raccoons, opossum or rats. Once raccoons have established a feeding source they can be extremely difficult to get rid of. Raccoons don’t always play nice with pets either.  I’ve seen large dogs attacked by hungry raccoons.

Stop feeding wildlife. Some of the most heated discussions I can remember are when I try to convince someone to stop feeding wildlife. Actively feeding animals could be causing more harm than good. This not only impacts the surrounding neighbors, but it creates a wildlife vacuum to the area. Animals can carry diseases and those diseases are more easily spread when the animals are drawn into a localized area, like your yard. Animals need to be able to forage on their own for food, otherwise it can create a dependency. Eventually a neighbor will hire a trapper to come out and start getting rid of the population. It’s not a very well know fact that most animals that are trapped are not allowed to be released off the property, once they are removed, by law they have to be euthanized.

Landscape Management. Try to keep limbs from trees or bushes a minimum 5 to 6 feet away from the roof-line of your home. Roof rats and squirrels are very good climbers and most roofs in Seattle weren’t built to prevent rodent intrusions. Wisteria, grape vines and other types of climbing vines are very pretty, but can become a highway for pests. Vines will often seek out small gaps on the exterior of your home, creating a gap wide enough for small rodents to slip through. Try to keep the thick foliage away from the foundation perimeter and porch areas.

I hope this was informative. As the months get colder and food becomes scarce, animals are going to start looking for shelter and food. It’s always a good idea to make sure your house is sealed up tight. I’m always happy to answer questions.

About Joshua Dickson:

Joshua lives and works in Ballard’s West Woodland neighborhood, and has been the owner and operator of Out Of The Wild for nearly a decade.  Joshua is passionate about helping homeowners minimize their interactions with pests and unwelcome wildlife. Joshua is happy to discuss any concerns you may have and can be reach by email outofwild@gmail.com and phone 206-218-2776.

OUT OF THE WILD Ballard Josh Dickson 02

Joshua Dickson and two raccoons.