Category Archives: Chipmunks

The Golden Book of Wild Animal Pets

The Golden Book of Wild Animal Pets

Back in 1959, the famous “Little Golden Books” series released a book titled The Golden Book of Wild Animal Pets by Roy Pinney.

The premise of this book was that it taught children how to capture wild animals such as turtles, snakes, owls, chipmunks, raccoons, and others in the wilderness and care for them at home as pets.

Times have changed, haven’t they?

Can you imagine a parent telling their child they could keep a wild raccoon as a pet nowadays? Today we get calls to have raccoons removed from homes and attics not to bring them home as pets.

Raccoons can carry rabies, distemper and other diseases. So can their feces. They are wild animals and shouldn’t be kept as pets. In fact, it is illegal to keep

Pets from Wood, Field and StreamNot only does keeping a wild animal as a pet place you in danger of diseases, it is illegal to keep wild animals as pets in Illinois and many other states.

In the simpler times of the 1950s and 60s though, a parent might buy a child a book and encourage them to go outside and catch a new pet.

Did that really happen? Absolutely, says Steven Mintz of the University of Texas at Austin and the author of Huck’s Raft, the authoritative history of American childhood. “There truly was a sense that childhood needed to be a period of freedom, of group bonding, of risk-taking,” he says, “and it had to be spent out of doors as much as possible.”

One reviewer of the book online even said that this book “started (his father) along his path into (becoming) a wildlife biologist.”

A lot of us today would say that kids probably do need to be outside playing more often, getting dirty and making their own imaginary adventures.

Just as long as they don’t bring home any skunks as pet.

 

If you need professional humane animal removal services in the suburban Chicago region, please contact us online or call (847) 464-1861.


This post inspired by Kids, Go Catch a Raccoon, by Ben James for The Atlantic | Cover image from Dogear Diary Blog and used for purpose of criticism, comment, news reporting.


 

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

striped skunkThe 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

Tree SquirrelThe 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 fawnWhite-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 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.

Illinois Chipmunks

There are three different species of ground squirrel, or chipmunks, found in Illinois. Each of these chipmunks nest underground in burrows and have cheek pouches. They can be found in grasslands, prairies, and wooded areas that are not prone to flooding. Read more to find out about Illinois chipmunks.

illinois chipmunks

Eastern chipmunk: These can be found most places in Illinois but are very uncommon in southeastern Illinois. They are identified by their red brown fur, five dark brown stripes and contrasting light brown stripes on its back, dark tail, and light underside. They primarily feed on bulbs, nuts, seeds, fruits, flowers, plants etc. This species stores their food in their burrows and come back to it later. They are a generally solitary species and only socialize during mating season. They do not enter a true hibernation in the winter but enter a period of dormancy.

illinois chipmunks

Thirteen-lined ground squirrel: They are sometimes known as the striped gopher or leopard ground squirrel. This species has thirteen alternating brown and white stripes and white spots in between. They occur in the northern 2/3 of Illinois and are particularly active on warm days. This species feeds on grasses, weeds, seeds, plants, and insects. They are known for their surveying behavior in which they stand on their hind legs to examine the surrounding area.

illinois chipmunks

Franklin’s ground squirrel: These occur in the northern 2/3 of Illinois but can be uncommon due to their threatened status. They are listed as a protected species in Illinois under the Endangered Species Act. They are brownish gray in color, with light speckles across their body, light undersides, and solid gray heads. This species is omnivorous and eats anything ranging from insects to eggs, plants, small birds, and frogs. These squirrels are also generally solitary.

If chipmunks or ground squirrels are making a home on your property, damaging your gardens, or causing burrowing damage, do not hesitate to call animal control to remove them safely.

The Case for Calling Pest Control on Chipmunks

chipmunksThough chipmunks appear to be small, furry critters incapable of serious destruction, they can actually cause quite a big mess around your home. Chipmunks like to dig and live in burrows underground. This means they especially like porches, gutters, decks, retention walls, and safe spaces near your home. They reproduce quickly may even settle into your basement or crawl space. The most common complaints about chipmunks are damage to flowers bulbs, eating bird food and pet food, ruining grass and gardens, and creating an environment that attracts mice and rats.

Disease

Chipmunks are not dangerous in the sense that they will not attack humans or other animals, but they do carry standard rodent diseases like plague and fleas, as well as ticks, lice, and mites. Dead or sick chipmunks should be avoided and not touched to prevent any spread of disease.

Damage

Chipmunks like to eat fruits and nuts and will overrun outdoor bird feeders, as they have an easy supply of seed. They also may dig up and eat spring flower bulbs and burrow in flowerbeds, costing the homeowner money and time to fix the damage done to the garden.

They can dig as far as three feet below the ground, with the entrance extending as much as 20 feet in length. Though the chipmunks themselves will not cause damage to your home, the burrows can have a significant impact on your home’s foundation.

Though chipmunks do more damage outside than inside, occasionally they sneak in the lower levels of homes while burrowing. Rodents like to chew wires and chipmunks are no exceptions. Open wires can increase chances of house fires, especially within walls.

Signs of Chipmunks

– Holes in lawn
– Piles of seeds around lawn and under bird feeders
– Flowering bulbs uprooted and eaten
– Tracks
– Damage to foundation from burrows
– Chewed wires
– Fecal matter in home

Call Pest Control

If chipmunks are causing damage to your home or wreaking havoc on your yard, immediately call pest control to have them safely removed. There is no approved poison for them and they should be left alone until pest control can remove them. In addition, make sure to seal points of entry to the home if they’ve been inside. Chipmunks belong outdoors and away from the home, for your home’s safety and their own safety.

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.

 

Deterrents for Chipmunks and Ground Squirrels

Chipmunk in a tree

Chipmunk in a tree

Chipmunks and ground squirrels (which look very similar and are often confused with being the same animal) might look adorable (especially when they’re portrayed in a cute animated movie) but make no mistake, they can wreak havoc on your yard and garden. If you’re looking for ways to deter them from making your property their home, read on.

Thanks to urban sprawl, chipmunks have adapted suburbia even though they prefer timber borders. Chipmunks are known to dig elaborate tunnels under flower beds, shrubs, trees, wood or rock piles and even porches and sidewalks. Ground squirrels favor open grasslands: think cemeteries, golf courses, and well-manicured lawns and create tunnels as well. And these tunnels are no joke. Some are as long as 20 to 30 feet with multiple points of entry, which makes it difficult to serve a permanent eviction notice.

Since it is much more difficult to get rid of chipmunks and ground squirrels once they move in, your best bet is prevent them from even considering it.

• This should be obvious, but do NOT feed them! If you feed them, they won’t want to ever leave.
• Clean up any spills from bird feeders quickly. Bird seed piled up on the ground is like a top-notch buffet to a ground squirrel or chipmunk.
• Put welded wire around deck openings and elevated sheds to prevent the critters from gaining entry.
• Install chimney caps. Yes, they can and will move into your chimney.
• These creatures are easily scared, so objects like inflatable beach balls, or plastic bags on sticks that will blow in the wind will frighten them away (until they get used to them).
• If you find a den, put lighting in it. Christmas lights, flood lamps, and bright flashlights work well. The best bet is to leave them on 24/7, but if you can’t, leave them on at night so their sleep is interrupted and unpleasant.
• Noise! Put an alarm clock, radio, or even a noisy toy in or next to their den. Again, 24/7 is best, but if that’s not possible then play it at night.
• If they make a den in your chimney, do NOT smoke them out. Place a radio in there and leave it on or lower a light down in it instead.

Ground Squirrel

Ground Squirrel

The best way to check if you have thoroughly evicted the pesky critters is to place loosely balled up newspaper at any of the entrances. Check it periodically over the course of several days and if you see it hasn’t been disturbed then you have successfully booted them out! The loose newspaper is important because if there are young ones inside the den, you do not want them trapped.

How To Identify Chipmunk Damage

chipmunk damageChipmunks might be cute, (the cutest in the rodent family depending on who you ask) but they can also be naughty little critters! While most of the damage they do is merely bothersome, these little creatures can be quite destructive, especially when burrowing near a home’s foundation.  Chipmunks, like most rodents, reproduce rapidly and a large chipmunk population that is burrowing along, under, or near a patio, sidewalk, retaining wall, or other structure can cause it to collapse. More often than not though, chipmunks dig up gardens, feed on flower bulbs and fruit seeds, and gnaw on bark.

It is easy to mistake chipmunk damage for other small animals like squirrels. Look closely at the tracks; chipmunk tracks show four toes on the feet and five toes on the rear (front and hind feet are generally reversed). You can also identify chipmunks by their excrement. Chipmunk scat is about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in size and is a round pellet shape. You will usually find it in very small piles of four to six pieces.

If you think you may have a chipmunk problem, these are some signs of chipmunk damage:

  • Seed piles under bird feeders
  • Uprooted bulbs
  • Holes in your garden or yard from digging
  • Chipmunk tracks
  • Chipmunk scat
  • Structural or foundational damage from chipmunk burrows

Keep Summer Animals Out of Your Home

Keep Summer Animals Out of Your Home

The summer is at its halfway point and if you have been successful in keeping pests and intrusive animals out of your house, then you have won half the battle.  In the remaining days of the summer, homes are still at high risk for animal intrusions so homeowners should continue to be aware of the potential entry points and common hiding spots for animals in their homes.  There are a variety of different animals in the Chicago area that seek shelter indoors and the following tips will help you prevent animal intrusions and take the right actions should one occur.

Identify What Animal Has Invaded Your Home

There are always a variety of animals looking for indoor shelter and animals such as birds, bats, and snakes are most likely to invade homes in the late summer.  Many birds are laying eggs in the mid to late summer which means that they are also looking to build nests.  Intrusive birds commonly nest in attics and crawlspaces so make sure to check these areas regularly for any nests.  Bats and snakes may also invade these areas during the summer as they enjoy the heat and the shelter.

Find Exit/Entry Point

If you believe an animal may be going in and out of your attic or crawlspace, place a piece of cardboard over each possible entry point.  The cardboard will have chew and claw marks if there is an animal coming and going but this discovery could also mean that you have trapped the animal inside.  If you are positive that the animal is indeed trapped in your home, it is time to take actions to get rid of it.

Removing Animals from Your Home

The first thing you should do once you confirm that an animal is in your house is shut your interior doors to quarantine the animal in one room.  Once this is done, try opening a window or door to the outside and turn off the lights so that the only light in the room is coming from the opening.  Many times the animal will find their own way out in this scenario.  If the animal has made itself comfortable in your home by building a nest or lodging itself into a small space such as the dryer vent, then it is best to contact a wildlife professional to trap and remove it.

As the second half of the summer season starts to wind down, make sure to stay alert and watch out for animal intrusions around your home.  There are several types of animals such as birds and bats that commonly invade homes in the late summer and taking these actions can help you prevent or eliminate late summer intruders.  If an animal infestation is too much for you to handle on your own, contact Attic Solutions for our live trapping and animal removal services.


As soon as you suspect you may have a animal infestation, call us immediately at 847-464-1861 for removal. We are trained professionals and equipped to deal with animal exclusion and removal, including humane live animal trapping (never poisons!). We will remove the animal and fix any property damage they may have caused. Click to read more about animal removal services from Attic Solutions.