Category Archives: Skunks

What Animal Is Digging in My Garden?

striped skunk

Are you having a problem with animals digging in your garden?

It’s an ongoing problem that all gardeners have to deal with. To a wild animal, your garden could be like a supermarket is to us; rows of food lined up to enjoy and take home.

I doubt you planted a garden so that you could feed all the neighborhood critters. You would prefer they stop pulling veggies off the vine right before they are perfectly ripe.

How to identify who is digging holes in garden

If you want to stop those critters from digging in your garden, it helps to know who the guilty animals are so you can take the right steps to prevent it.

Is it kids or pets?

Most of the time you’ll know the answer to this already, especially if you don’t have any kids or pets. You do want to eliminate suspects though so it’s good to make sure. Young kids love to dig in the dirt and your kid could have done it without you noticing. A stray dog could also be responsible for digging holes too.

Is it happening at night?

skunk hole in yardIf the holes keep occurring at night, then you know it’s a nocturnal animal. If it’s only happening at night, that will eliminate birds and squirrels as suspects. In that case, it’s more likely to be a raccoon or skunk.

Raccoons and skunks are often the most likely suspects because they love to eat insects in the ground just below the surface, particularly grubs, which could be in your garden or lawn turf.

Animals that dig holes in gardens

We’ll review some of the animals that may dig holes in your garden. Most of the time though, it will end up being a raccoon or a skunk.

Birds

Some birds will dig holes in your garden but they generally won’t be too noticeable. Blue Jays and crows will both dig holes in order to hide nuts for the winter. Because they are stashing food for cold months, they will cover up the hole. In winter you may notice them trying to dig up items they’ve buried. Their memory is not as good as squirrels so they may dig a few more holes.

Because they are stashing food for cold months, they will cover up the hole. In winter you may notice them trying to dig up items they’ve buried. Their memory is not as good as squirrels so they may dig a few more holes.

During the spring, summer and fall though, any noticeable damage from birds digging in your garden should be minor.

Ground Squirrels (Chipmunks), Gophers, and Rabbits

All three of these animals will dig holes as entrances to their dens.  Rabbits will usually dig a single entrance/exit hole. Ground squirrels and gophers will dig separate entrance and exit holes to their homes.

The roots and vegetables found on the surface will be eaten by these animals.

If the hole goes is deep enough that you cannot see the end, then you probably have a ground squirrel or gopher.

Gopher holes will have noticeable piles of dirt surrounding the hole. Rabbits and ground squirrels will have slightly neater holes.

Raccoons and Skunks

Raccoons and skunks are both active after dark and will dig holes in your garden while searching for bugs and food.

When you see digging and holes which appear scattered about and the hole is more irregularly shaped, then you likely have raccoons or skunks digging in your garden.

If have a lot of earthworms, grubs or bugs in your garden, then you could very well be attracting skunks.

Related: How to keep raccoons away from your home

Squirrels (Tree Squirrels)

As you are aware, squirrels will dig holes so they can stash food for winter months. But just like birds, unless it is the winter, they are usually going to conceal the hole they dig in your garden or yard.

Related: How to get rid of squirrels

Do I Need a Permit to Remove a Nuisance Animal in Illinois?

Raccoons carrying disease into your home

You may not realize it, but that nuisance animal in your attic, shed, garage or on your property might be legally protected in Illinois.

Most wildlife is protected by law and cannot be killed or even removed without a permit.

The Illinois Department of National Resources is tasked with conservation and management of wild species in Illinois. By Illinois law, a property owner or tenant needs a Nuisance Animal Removal Permit to trap and remove most species of wildlife.

By Illinois law, property owners or tenants need a Nuisance Animal Removal Permit (PDF) to trap and remove most species of wildlife.

Is the animal you want to remove a protected species? We’ve listed the most common nuisance animals in Illinois below. 


Questions? Call Attic Solutions at (847) 464-1861


Mice, Norway rats, moles, voles, gophers, and shrews

dangerous rats, are rats dangerousThese small mammals may all be removed with no permit needed.

Exceptions to this rule include the eastern woodrat and rice rat, which are endangered species in Illinois. These two species may not be removed.

Related: Rat and Mice removal and control

Ground squirrels and chipmunks

The eastern chipmunk and the thirteen-lined ground squirrels may be removed without a permit.

Franklin’s ground squirrels are listed as threatened in Illinois and may not be removed.

 

Raccoons, skunks, opossums, beavers, muskrats, red foxes, gray foxes, mink, river otters, badgers, weasels, woodchucks, coyotes, and bobcats

Walking Skunk Wildlife Portrait Striped Black

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) recommends hiring a professional wildlife removal service to capture and remove fur-bearing animals. If you want to remove a fur-bearing animal yourself, contact an IDNR District Wildlife Biologist to see if you qualify for a Nuisance Animal Removal Permit.

In rural areas, the IDNR encourages removal of most furbearers during open hunting and trapping seasons whenever possible. All Illinois hunting regulations must be followed. For more information on hunting and trapping regulations, visit the IDNR Licenses & Hunting site.

Related: Common animal entry points

Gray squirrels, fox squirrels, red squirrels, and southern flying squirrels

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) recommends hiring a professional wildlife removal service to capture and remove squirrels. If you want to remove a squirrel yourself, contact an IDNR District Wildlife Biologist to see if you qualify for a Nuisance Animal Removal Permit.

In rural areas, gray squirrels and fox squirrels may be taken during open hunting seasons.

Related: How to Squirrel-proof your home

Rabbits

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) recommends hiring a professional wildlife removal service to capture and remove rabbits. If you want to remove a rabbit yourself, contact an IDNR District Wildlife Biologist to see if you qualify for a Nuisance Animal Removal Permit.

In rural areas, rabbits may be taken during open hunting seasons.

Bats

The (IDNR) recommends hiring a professional bat removal service to capture and remove bats.

Bats inside rooms will usually exit on their own. Close off exits to the room and keep windows open overnight.

Related: How to get bats out of the house

White-Tailed Deer

White-tailed deer are protected under the Illinois Wildlife Code as a game species. It is illegal to take live deer from the wild unless you have received a permit from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) or are a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

IDNR Deer Removal Guidelines (PDF)

In rural areas,  deer hunting is permitted in season. All state hunting regulations must be followed. Outside of hunting season, or in situations where hunting is not allowed, a deer removal permit may be issued by an IDNR District Wildlife Biologist.

A person who hits and kills a deer with a motorized vehicle can legally claim the deer to salvage the meat, hide, and antlers.

For more information on hunting and trapping in Illinois visit the Illinois Department of National Resources.


For professional animal removal services in Chicagoland call Attic Solutions (847) 464-1861


 

What to do when you dog gets skunked

What to do When Your Dog Gets Skunked

Something smells….. skunky.

Uh-oh!

So your dog just got skunked. Bad news. Now what?

There are over the counter skunk odor removal products. You can start there if you have some already on hand. You may not want to make the trip to the store right now. What are your other options?

Related: How to get rid of skunk smell

Step One: Keep your dog outside

If you’ve already let your dog into the house, then sorry. Sometimes your dog comes inside the house before you realize what has happened.

We’ve heard the horror stories about how a dog will run inside that then immediately start rolling on the carpet or couch to get that smell off. You do not want that happening!

If you do notice that your dog has red, irritated or swelling eyes, immediately flush them with cool water.

You may want to get a towel over him to help try to keep the odor off of you and help sooth him.

Related: Protect your yard from skunks


For professional skunk removal in Chicagoland, please call (847) 464-1861


Step Two: Homemade skunk odor removal solution

A popular home remedy people have heard of is tomato juice. It’s not actually the most effective method, though. It will help cover up the smell in the short term but tomato juice will not actually remove it.

Here is a better skunk odor removal solution, and you may already have all these ingredients in your home.

Skunk rinse recipe:

  • 1 quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide (available at any pharmacy)hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1-2 teaspoons of liquid dishwashing soap

For a larger dog, you may need to double or triple this recipe.

Mix your ingredients together. DO NOT make this mix ahead of time because this solution can become unstable over time when stored.

Use a wash basin or tub if possible. If you have dishwashing gloves or some type of work gloves you don’t mind sacrificing to the cause, we recommend using them to protect yourself from the skunk smell.

Get your dog into the wash tub and rub the mixture through their fur, and over their entire body, but be sure to avoid the eyes. Rub and lather the mixture well into your pet’s coat and skin. Rub the solution around for about five minutes or until the skunk smell starts to dissipate.

Be careful about leaving it on too long because peroxide could bleach their fur. Rinse thoroughly.

You may need to repeat the lather and rinse process up to three times for it to be most effective, but it’s a very good method for removing the skunk smell from your dog.

Step Three: Rinse solution and then shampoo

After you have thoroughly washed your dog with the homemade skunk rinse, wash all the solution off of them. Then get the shampoo that you would normally use to wash your dog and give him a good shampoo followed by another water rinse.

Give your dog a good towel dry and he should be better now.

No matter what you do, it will be a challenge to completely remove the odor from your dog. It’s common for dogs to get sprayed right in their face and this can be a very challenging area to wash fully and completely because it’s sensitive and your do will probably fight it.

We hope this helps!

Cleaning a skunky dog is not fun, for either of you. It has to be done, though.

Be careful about letting your dog into the yard at dawn and dusk when skunks are most active. Don’t leave out any food or trash which could attract them.


For professional skunk removal, contact us online or call (847) 464-1861


Photo credits: Skunk image | Dog in washtub

What Do Animals Do During Fall?

Where do animal pests go when the whether becomes chilly? Surprisingly, many of them stay active before the snowy, winter months hit. Read more to discover what do animals do during fall.

what do animals do during fall

What Do Animals Do During Fall: Migration

Many birds and insects migrate to warmer areas during the chillier months of fall. Because temperatures begin to drop during the fall season, these creatures begin to find more suitable conditions. For example, swallows migrate south once the weather begins to cool and their food sources dwindle. You may think that since some animal pests are leaving during this season you’ll see less activity, but it’s far from the truth. In fact, you may see more activity in your home at this time of year.

What Do Animals Do During Fall: Hibernation Preparation

Other animals prepare to hibernate during the fall. Squirrels, chipmunks, and groundhogs will gather food to store for the winter. Although chipmunks and squirrels do not go into a true hibernation state, they a relatively inactive during the winter. This leads them to frantically stockpile leftover food near your garbages or from your bird feeders. These small mammals can be quite pesky during the fall.

Bats will also hibernate during the cold months. You can expect their presence to taper off as the insect population dies down with the cool weather.

In addition, wasps and bees will still be active during the fall. They do not hibernate until winter. If there’s a nest near your home that needs to be removed, unfortunately the cold weather won’t be enough to detract them. Make sure to call pest control for assistance moving wasps or bee nests.

What Do Animals Do During Fall: Stay Active

Many other animals stay active during this time of year. Skunks, for example, stay in their dens but are awake during winter. You’ll see (and smell) plenty of skunks during the fall. Raccoons behave similarly, and will stay active year round. This means, you still have to be vigilant and remove outdoor food sources for these pests. In fact, you may notice more pest activity because homes have plentiful opportunities for food, while the cool weather limits natural sources.

Opossums are also active during the colder months. You may be surprised to know that they’ll even become active during the day, though they are nocturnal. Nonetheless, you should never take a chance with an opossum behaving strangely, as it may be infected with rabies or another disease.

Lastly, rodents remain highly active during the cold months. You may see more mice and rats in your home during the fall, as fields are plowed and they escape to your safe home. In addition, homes are full of food sources and provide shelter from the elements. Your rodent problem may be highest during the fall. Call Attic Solutions to remove your pests safely and efficiently, so you can enjoy the fall season without pests.

How To Get Rid Of Skunk Smell

how to get rid of skunk smell

It seems inevitable – a skunk on your property means someone or something is bound to get sprayed! Skunk spray odor can last up to a month if not treated. In fact, if a skunk has died near your home, the odor will last much longer. Skunk spray is made of a mixture of sulfur and alcohol and is a bit oily. This scent is difficult to remove and at-home remedies, like tomato juice, are actually ineffective. If you, your home, or pet has become the victim of a skunk’s stinky spray, follow these tips to learn how to get rid of skunk smell.

How To Get Rid Of Skunk Smell On A Pet

First, keep your pet outdoors to keep the smell from lingering in your home. Next, mix up a solution to clean your pet. Mix one quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup baking soda, and one teaspoon liquid dish soap. Use this mixture immediately, as it may explode if left to sit. After creating the mixture, rub it through your pet’s fur, and don’t leave it on for very long because it can cause bleaching. Rinse your pet thoroughly. Finally, wash your pet with pet shampoo and conditioner and rinse clean. Your pet will be smelling sweet and skunk-free!

How To Get Rid Of Skunk Smell On Yourself

Assuming a skunk has sprayed you, follow the same steps above. You may need assistance from someone else. To clean your clothing, immediately remove them and soak the clothing in a hydrogen peroxide solution (1 part hydrogen peroxide to 6 parts water) for two hours. Then wash your clothes in hot water with the strongest laundry soap you have. Make sure to wash the clothes alone, so your other laundry doesn’t pick up the skunk stench. Finally, dry them outside in the sunlight to help neutralize any remaining scent.

How To Get Rid Of Skunk Smell In Your Home

If you’re not sure where the skunk smell in your home is coming from, try this method. Leave bowls of white vinegar around your home in the strongest smelling rooms. The vinegar should absorb most of the odor in about a day. Be sure to keep your windows open and let the scent waft outwards. Sunlight can also help neutralize odors, so keep the windows open to let in the sunshine. In addition, keep fans going throughout your home to disperse the odor outdoors. You can even go as far as shampooing your carpets and deep cleaning fabric on chairs and sofas. Finally, finish up with air fresheners that have deodorizing action.

If you discover skunks on or near your property, call pest control immediately to have them safely removed.

Repel Skunks

repel skunks

Are skunks invading your yard or home? If you’re familiar with the pesky creatures, you know they have a tendency to dig up your flowers and gardens. In addition, their pungent spray is enough to scare away any predator, including you and your pets! Though we recommend contacting professionals to remove your skunks safely and effectively, here are a few of our suggestions repel skunks in the mean time.

Remove Skunk’s Food Source

The fastest way to repel skunks is to remove all food sources. If your yard has no tasty, easily accessible food pests will find a new home. Keep all garbage cans tightly shut. Do not leave pet food or water dishes out overnight. Pick up any fruit that may have dropped to the ground from fruit-bearing trees. This step may be exhaustive, but it can prevent skunks and other pests from coming to your home.

Use Light To Repel Skunks

Skunks are nocturnal animals, which means they are most active during the night. Bright light has the potential to scare them away for a short time. This method is moderately effective, as skunks become accustomed to the light. Shining a bright light on your garden may repel skunks for a little while, but it isn’t very practical. Additionally, it is not very cost effective to blast your entire yard with a bright lighting system.

Deter with water

If your home has an automatic sprinkler system in place, you may have a short-term solution to your skunk problem! Automated sprinkler systems can squirt any animal that triggers the motion sensor. The skunks in your yard may be frightened enough to leave for good, but they may also become familiar with the water and ignore it.

Skunk Repellant Spray

There is no approved poison for skunks. In fact, it is illegal to kill them by use of poison. However, you can try using a natural repellant recipe to deter skunks from digging up your garden. Boil up cayenne pepper, jalapeños, and yellow onion, then strain the mixture, and keep the remaining liquid in a spray bottle. Use this every 3 days on your garden, plants, or whatever you want the skunk to avoid. This recipe can be successful if used continuously.

Fencing

Barriers can be effective against skunks, because they are poor climbers and jumpers. Use mesh wire on any areas of your home that skunks may want to dig and nest near. Placing this wire about 3 feet high should prevent skunks from penetrating the barrier. Use this in areas like sheds, decks, and openings near your home.

Striped Skunk Of Illinois

striped skunk

The striped skunk is native to North America and the most commonly found species of skunk in Illinois. In fact, the Cree and Ojibwe word shee-gawk, which means skunk-land, is the root word for Chicago. Skunks are known for their distinct black and white striped fur and pungent spray.

Behavior

Striped skunks typically breed one time per year, with mating season occurring between February and April. Kits are born in May or early June. Litter size is usually 2 to 10 kits, but occasionally litters are larger. Kits become independent after about 3 months. Skunks are nocturnal and active at night.

Skunk Homes

Striped skunks dig dens to use for nesting during the warmer months. They also occupy dens built by other animals, if available. They generally live in brushy, woodland areas but in northwestern Illinois, specifically, the skunk population actually prefers cultivated areas. They also use their dens for resting during the winter months. They do not hibernate. Instead, skunks live off their fat reserves and occasionally forage for food.

Striped Skunk Diet

Skunks are insectivores but the striped skunk eats other animals or vegetables as well. Since they are opportunistic animals, they’ll eat whatever is easiest to find. They usually eat beetles, caterpillars, grub, worms, and grasshoppers but will eat eggs, frogs, and mice during colder months. They also eat fruit and vegetables like apples, cherries, berries, and corn that have fallen to the ground.

Striped Skunks & Predators

The skunk has few natural predators due to its powerful musk spray. Wolves and coyotes will avoid them unless food is scarce. Because of this, it’s important to remove skunks from your property, as natural predators will unlikely resolve the issue. Skunks have a poor homing sense. Once they leave your property will usually not return. However, if you see the same skunks regularly, they may have built or found a den near your home and plan to stay.

If you discover skunks on your property call pest control immediately to have them safely and effectively removed.

Which Pest Is Most Dangerous?

We compare the following species of animal and insect pests to determine which ones are the most dangerous animals to your family, pets, and home.

Dangerous Pest Ranking:

1 = Most Dangerous Animal
2 = Dangerous Animal
3 = Least Dangerous Animal

dangerous animals, are raccoons dangerous

Raccoons – 2

Raccoons can be aggressive when cornered, but generally leave people and pets alone. They can cause major home/shed/yard damage, as they are incredibly curious and like to take revenge. They are known to tear apart cushions, wallpaper, garbage cans, and any food source within reach.

dangerous bats, are bats dangerous

Bats – 3

Bats are known incorrectly as being bloodthirsty vampires, but they’re quite harmless. Bats rarely bite, but their bite is nearly guaranteed to give the victim rabies if the bat is infected. Other than this potential danger, bats avoid humans. If a bat is in your home, they’re probably trying to figure out how to escape.

dangerous squirrel, are squirrels dangerous

Squirrels – 3

Squirrels can cause quite a bit of damage to yards. Squirrels are constantly searching for food, which means tearing apart the plants, gardens, and bark to find a snack. It’s debated whether squirrels carry plague or diseases that affect humans, but probably best not to take chances.

dangerous skunks, are skunks dangerous

Skunks – 2

Skunks are well known for their pungent spray smell that takes days to disappear. This smell is probably worse than any behavior they exhibit, though. Skunks are not aggressive creatures. By nature, the skunk is a defender, not a fighter. Skunks can carry distemper, roundworms and other parasites, which can cause harm to pets.

dangerous groundhogs, are groundhogs dangerous

Groundhogs – 2

Groundhogs are territorial creatures, which lead them to be aggressive, particularly near their dens. They can move significant quantities of dirt and cause structural damage to foundations and homes, aside from major garden destruction. In addition, groundhogs can also carry roundworms, which can affect dogs.

dangerous opossums, are opossums dangerous

Opossums – 3

Opossums are known for their defense of “playing dead,” and are not very aggressive. Sometimes they show off their teeth as a scare tactic. If provoked, they may attack. They are about as dangerous as a cat.

dangerous rats, are rats dangerous

Rats & Mice – 1

Rats are perhaps the most dangerous pest that could enter your home. Both rats and mice carry many diseases and parasites that are harmful to humans and pets. Rats can eat through nearly anything, including glass, electrical wiring, and wood (all of which can cause major home damage). Both reproduce very quickly and are difficult to eradicate once established in a home. Luckily, they are not aggressive animals.

*It is important to note that most of these animals are not highly aggressive and if a pest is behaving extremely aggressively towards you and your pets, it may have rabies. Contact wildlife removal immediately.

Attic Solutions Alert: Dangers Of Wild Animal Bites

Vicious Raccoon, Rabies, Wild Animal, pest control, animal removelA bite or scratch from any wild animal, or even that of a domestic house pet like a dog or cat, can be dangerous. Even if the wound is minor, it can become infected and spread throughout your body. Further, any bite can carry disease. One of the most common causes for worry among wild animal bites is rabies.

What Is Rabies?

Rabies is a viral infection of warm-blooded animals. It is most commonly found in bats, raccoons, skunks, coyotes, and foxes in North America, although wild animals can infect dogs, cats, and livestock. The disease attacks the nervous system and, once symptoms develop, it is 100 percent fatal in animals.

How Do You Get Rabies?

You can contract rabies through a cut or scratch on your body, or through the mucous membranes (the lining of your eyes or mouth). The virus travels to your central nervous system in your brain and then travels to various organs where it multiplies.

Rabies Symptoms

  • Stage 1 (symptoms lasting 2 to 10 days)
    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Vomiting
    • Decreased Appetite
    • Malaise
    • Pain, itching or numbness around the wound site
  • Stage 2
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Disorientation
    • Agitation
    • Becoming paralyzed

How To Diagnose Rabies

Animals are diagnosed fairly quickly. A test called direct fluorescent antibody test (DFA) is most often used by laboratories and results can be had in as little as a few hours. In humans, it is a bit more complex. Several tests must be completed for confirmation including saliva, serum, spinal fluid, and skin biopsies from the back of the neck.

What Is The Treatment For Rabies

There is not a cure for rabies and it is more difficult to treat once symptoms have presented. However, there are vaccines that provide rabies immunity following exposure or to prevent it (which is useful for people who work with animals like vets).

What To Do If Bitten By Wild Animal

  • Wash the wound with soap and water.
  • If bleeding, apply pressure.
  • Dry and cover the wound, but do not use tape or bandages to prevent trapping bacteria.
  • Call your doctor or healthcare professional for further instructions.
  • Locate the animal that bit you if possible.

How To Prevent Being Bitten

  • Avoid strange or sick animals.
  • Do not bother animals who are eating.
  • Keep pets on a leash.
  • Do not separate fighting animals.
  • Always get your family pets their rabies shots.
  • Supervise your pets outside.
  • Do not play with or approach wild animals.

As soon as you suspect you may have a wild animal infestation, call Attic Solutions immediately at 847-464-1861 for removal. We are trained professionals and equipped to deal with the issue. We will remove the animals and fix any property damage they may have caused.

 

Common Skunk Myths

SkunkNow that we’re well into summer, you’ve probably smelled that familiar musky odor that can only be a skunk more than a few times. While skunks are a commonly known critter, there are still many myths about them. Since this is the time of year for increased skunk activity, it’s a perfect opportunity to dispel some myths about our smelly friends.

Common Skunk Myths

  1. Tomato juice will remove the smell of skunk spray.

We’ve all heard this one. In fact, you probably know someone who has bathed themselves or their pet in tomato after an unintended encounter with a skunk. Unfortunately, bathing in tomato juice will only make you smell like, well, tomato juice. And once the tomato juice smell goes away, you’ll be back to smelling like a skunk. See, a skunk smell is so strong your nose actually gets used to it by binding your smell receptors. This phenomenon is called olfactory fatigue.

  1. Skunks will spray you if you get too close.

Skunks only spray when they feel threatened or are frightened. It is their natural defense against predators and that’s what they use it for. If you find yourself close to a skunk avoid making rapid or quick movements or shouting. Dogs usually only get sprayed when they start jumping toward the skunk and/or bark. Simply walk away slowly and you should be just fine.

  1. Since skunks are nocturnal, they only come out at night.

Skunks are indeed nocturnal, but that does not mean they only come out at night. Some come out during the day to search for food if a predator has been preventing them from venturing out at night or a mother has been tending to her young.

  1. Fox urine is a skunk repellant.

Sorry to disappoint, but fox urine will not repel a skunk. The conventional wisdom was, if you spread fox urine the skunk would smell it and be frightened away since the fox is a natural predator. If skunks always ran away from fox urine, they wouldn’t have too many places to go in the wild.

As soon as you suspect you may have a skunk infestation, call us immediately at 847-464-1861 for removal. We are trained professionals and equipped to deal with wild animals.