FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Wildlife Control

Click On Your Question: What locations do you service? What do you do with the animals once they are captured? Can’t the city or county take care of the problem for free? Can my regular pest control company do this? Do you take care of termites or other insects? Do you use poisons or rodenticides? What types of traps do you use? What is your service range? How long have you been in business? Are you licensed? Are you insured? Do you carry workers comp? Why do you charge the prices you do? What forms of payment do you accept? Do you pick up orphaned animals? What if I find an injured or baby bird? Do you pick up dead animals? Will you help out with dog or cat issues? Which animals do you handle? Which animals don’t you handle? Have you ever been bitten by an animal? What is the strangest thing you’ve ever caught? Do all wild animals carry rabies? What health risks do animals pose? What locations do you service?

We have over 500 field technicians who service most of the USA, including the following large cities: AL Birmingham – AZ Phoenix – AZ Tucson – CA Los Angeles – CA San Diego – CA San Jose – CA Sacramento – CO Denver – CT Hartford – FL Orlando – FL Miami – FL Jacksonville – FL Tampa – GA Atlanta – IL Chicago – IN Indianapolis – MD Baltimore – MA Boston – MI Detroit – MN Minneapolis – NY Nassau County – NY Suffolk County – NC Charlotte – NC Raleigh – OH Columbus – OH Cincinnati – OH Akron – OR Portland – PA Philadelphia – PA Pittsburgh – TX Dallas – TX Houston – TX San Antonio – TX Austin – WA Seattle – WI Milwaukee

This depends first and foremost on the state laws regarding wildlife possession and transport for wildlife control trappers. We will obey the law first. The fate of the animal may have to do with the species. Certain rabies vectors in certain states must be euthanized (killed) by law. Some protected animals can’t be harassed at all. We aim to do the humane thing. If the animal is healthy and it’s legal to relocate it, that’s the option we usually prefer. If the animal is injured or sick, it’s sometimes best to humanely euthanize it. Overall, we aim to keep the customer informed about the right thing to do.

No. Government animal control, such as city or county animal services, only deal with domestic animals – dogs and cats. This includes things like bite reports, pet abuse complaints, barking or dangerous dogs, etc. It’s true that certain government services used to help with select wildlife cases, but they did NOT perform true professional wildlife control. For example, if you had a raccoon in your attic, the county might lend you a cage trap to put on the ground, then pick up the raccoon and trap once it’s caught. They wouldn’t inspect the attic, they wouldn’t tell you about the ducts that were torn open, they wouldn’t remove the litter of baby raccoons by hand, they wouldn’t set a professional type trap on the roof near the entry hole, they wouldn’t seal the hole shut after the raccoons were removed, they wouldn’t identify vulnerable areas on the roof and do preventative sealing, they wouldn’t clean the raccoon waste, etc. Wildlife control is a complex and specialized field requiring a lot of work and dedication. Even if the county animal services were willing to help with wildlife issues, they wouldn’t do close to a complete job. Regardless, the city/county won’t help, and wildlife control is now in the hands of the private pest control sector, and thus service has drastically improved!

Almost certainly not – pest control companies typically treat for insects, and use poison control methods to do so. They usually spray poison on the yard or house, and charge for monthly or quarterly maintenance. They use the same methods – poisons – when they try to control mice & rats (this is a LOUSY AND INEFFECTIVE approach) and even have been known to illegally try to use poisons on other animals, such as bats. Wildlife control, of large animals like squirrels or raccoons is entirely different than insect pest control and should be dealt with only by a professional nuisance wildlife trapper who has extensive experience dealing with wild animals. You can’t just use some magic spray or device to get rid of a large vertebrate – it involves hands-on removal of animals, not a simple spray solution. If you do call your regular exterminator to take care of a wildlife issue, beware – they may recommend a crummy company who gives them a cash kickback. Do your own research when hiring a wildlife professional.

NO. Poison is NOT a solution for a wildlife problem. Poisons work for insects, because they are so small and special poisons have been developed that can wipe out colonies of insects. There are no registered or effective poisons for wildlife control, except for mice & rats. However, using poison for mice & rats is a stupid and totally ineffective way to treat a rodent problem. Here’s the deal: you have rats or mice in your home? They are coming from outside, where there’s hundreds of them. The ones in the attic are territorial, keeping others out. So then you use poison, and some of them die. Guess what – new ones just move right in. Poison never solves the problem. It doesn’t even kill all the rats or mice in the house – only the ones who find the poison and choose to eat it and who die from it – the percentage is actually not very good. And what happens when the rat or mouse dies? That’s right, it might die when it’s outside, but there’s a very good chance that it’ll die when it’s inside your house, and then you’ve got a stinking dead rats smelling up your house. Poison is dumb. Poison does not work. The proper way to do it is to find those entry holes that the rats are using to get in the house, sealing them shut with steel, and physically trapping and removing all of the rats – problem solved.

No. Although some companies have both a pest control branch and a wildlife removal branch, the two fields are very different. Typically, a wildlife control operator does not handle insect problems. However, some WCO’s do specialize in beehive removal. If you need termite control or any other form of insect control and your wildlife operator does not provide such a service, look in your local yellow pages under the “pest control” category.

Most wildlife operators have dozens of different types of traps, each for different types of animals, architectures, and situations. First of all, any competent trapper will make sure that the traps used are legal in that state. Second, the trapper will use the most effective trap for the situation at hand. If it’s a question of which trap is most humane, ask the wildlife operator about the type of trap. Be aware that sometimes a lethal type of trap is a more realistic option than a live-capture cage trap. I personally use live-capture cage traps almost exclusively, but the type of trap may vary depending on the state or the technique used by the trapper.

This is a good question to ask the trapper on the phone. Sometimes a customer and a business will spend a long time discussing the wildlife problem, only to realize later that the customer house is too far away to feasibly provide service to. The range of each company varies, depending on time and availability, number of trucks, etc.

This is another good question to ask. Experience does count in wildlife control. However, sometimes an old-timer who has 20 years of experience will stubbornly stick to antiquated and less effective techniques, whereas someone with 2 years of experience may have learned all of the latest, most advanced techniques and uses the most modern equipment. Although experience does matter, I think the best way to know a good trapper is in the way they demonstrate their knowledge of the problem, and their willingness to offer a guarantee on their work.

Any wildlife control operator should have a special nuisance trapper’s license issued by the state fish & wildlife commission. They should also possess all relevant city and county occupational licenses, and be willing to display them on request.

Any good wildlife control company should carry all relevant insurance, including general liability insurance. This protects you, the customer, in the event of an accident. Wildlife operators work in attics, on roofs, etc, and if an accident should happen, it’s important that it’s covered by insurance.

Worker’s comp is another type of insurance that may or may not apply to your wildlife operator depending on the state in which he does business, whether he has or is an employee, etc. Worker’s compensation is meant to protect an employee in the event of injury on the job, and doesn’t have any bearing on you, the customer. However, many commercial accounts require that contractors of any type are in full compliance of local workers’ comp laws.

Each company charges different rates, just like any business in the world. There’s no standard rates. Furthermore, wildlife control situations vary wildly. There’s no one-price-fits-all scenario. Trapping an opossum under the deck is a heck of a lot easier than removing 2000 bats from the steeple of an old church. Please be aware that nuisance wildlife control is a specialty field, and the professional companies have a lot of overhead costs – from licensing and insurance to supplies and equipment, to the risk we all undertake – of climbing on tough roofs, exposure to rabies, etc. Nuisance wildlife control is not any cheaper than plumbing or electrical work or any other skilled field. You should be able to describe your problem to your wildlife operator over the phone and get a fair idea of the approximate cost.

It depends on the company, so ask, but most will accept cash, check, and major credit cards – Visa, Mastercard, American Express, & Discover.

This isn’t typically what wildlife operators do. We solve problems with nuisance wildlife. We don’t rescue and rehabilitate lost or injured baby animals. If you find a stranded opossum or squirrel or something, please be aware that this is nature’s way. Wild mothers have litters of several young for a reason – most aren’t meant to survive. The animal that you find abandoned is there for a reason. If you try to save it, you might be causing an imbalance to the natural order – this isn’t a vague euphemism – it’s an important fact for people to realize. Natural habitat can only support so many animals! Nature balances itself out. If you feel you absolutely must do something for the poor helpless little critter, try to find a local wildlife rehabber.

The same principles apply. You’re probably best just letting nature do its thing. Millions of birds die each day. Just because you happened to spot one, it doesn’t mean you have to interfere. However, if you can’t resist playing nurse to mother nature, try to find a local wildlife rehabber. They might be listed in the phone book, or maybe an online search could find one. Please don’t bother a hardworking wildlife operator with questions about an injured bird.

The private wildlife control companies listed on this website do not provide free carcass removal from streets or public areas. The city or county animal services will often take care of the problem. However, if you’ve got a dead animal on your property or in your house, you do need to call a wildlife control professional if you want it removed and properly disposed of.

No. An unfortunate by-product of dealing with wild animals is that confused or lazy people call us with their dog or cat complaints. If I had a nickel for each time I got a call at 3:00 AM from an ignorant slob who is complaining about the neighbor’s barking dog, I’d have over $100.00 by now. Please, please do not call a wildlife control company to complain about dogs or cats. Call the county animal services. That’s what they’re there for. The reason you called a wildlife company instead of the government service is because you were too lazy to look for the county animal services, or too ignorant to know that government listings are in the BLUE PAGES of the phone book, and the YELLOW PAGES are strictly business listings. The white is residential, to round out your education. I wouldn’t be so grumpy if I hadn’t received well over 1000 interrupting phone calls (often while I’m sleeping or working in an attic) about dogs.

WILDLIFE! Nuisance wildlife in particular. Any wild animal that is causing a conflict with a person. This most commonly means squirrels, rats, mice, raccoons, opossums, pigeons, bats, snakes, moles, etc. If in doubt, call your local wildlife operator. We love the challenge of interesting wildlife!

Dogs, of course. We also don’t handle any animal protected by the state or other legislation. If in doubt, give us a call.

With enough time and enough animals, most wildlife operators will receive a bite from time to time. However, anyone who is competent and professional should not get get bitten, especially a serious bite, such as envenomation from a venomous snake.

Everyone has their own stories to tell, but be aware that most wildlife operators deal with the same sort of scenarios over and over again: squirrels in the attic, bats in the belfry, woodchuck under the shed, etc. Sometimes the job is not as exciting as it seems, in terms of variety of wildlife. However, there’s usually a few standout cases. I personally have dealt with bobcats, gators, and some really large snakes, such as a 7′ Diamondback Rattler and an 11′ Burmese Python.

Any mammal can potentially carry rabies. However, there’s only a few animals that seem to be relevant rabies vectors. Most rabies transmission in North America is from bats. Worldwide, it’s dogs. People in the US get all worked up over raccoons, but transmission to humans is extremely rare. If you see a raccoon active during daylight hours and it’s moving about normally, it’s healthy: many raccoons are active in the day. However, if the animal is clearly sick: walking in circles, stumbling, foaming, etc. then it may have rabies. Same goes for fox, skunk, and a few other animals. Please be aware that rabies is a terrible and fatal disease – it’s not something that animals carry around casually. If an animal is rabid and in the contagious state, it’s close to death – foaming, stumbling, delirious. An animal that is behaving normally probably does not have rabies.

Wild animals can carry several diseases that humans can contract, either through direct contact or contact of droppings. The most famous is rabies, but others include Rat Bite Fever, Murine Typhus, histoplasmosis, roundworm, Salmonellosis (bacterial food poisoning), Leptospirosis (Weils Disease), Trichinosis, Rickettsial Disease, Melioidosid, Pasteurellosis, and Brucellosis, possibly among others. Overall, I think risk of contracting these diseases from wildlife is rare, but I’ve heard of colleagues who have gotten seriously ill, and I always take precautions.

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FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Wildlife Control

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