Last Updated: May 2016
Do you hear noises in your attic, or hear scratching in the walls or chirping in your chimney? Then it is more than likely that you have wildlife in your home. In these cases the first step is to find out where exactly they are. The second is to figure out how they get in! Knowing what wildlife animal is on your property will help determine where you need to look.
Wildlife in your home
If you have mice on your property, then it will be tricky to figure out exactly how they are getting. Mice have the capability due to their size and dexterity to squeeze tiny entry ways. They are cunning creatures who find ways to enter through tiny cracks and holes. They dart in open doors and even in windows. Mice are good climbers and if you leave your windows open especially on the first floor it is possible they will enter in to your home.
Seal any gaps in your doors, cracks/holes on the outside of your home or any gaps between the window and the frame. Mice may also enter through vents, chimneys or around access holes created for pipes and cables. Sealing holes and cracks and putting screens on vents and chimneys is the best way to keep mice out. And don’t forget to keep your doors closed.
Although larger than mice, rats similar to mice can fit through very small holes. They can inhabit very small nooks and crannies inside a house, from walls to ceilings, crawl spaces and attics. Rats excretion as you will know is very dangerous, so it is vital if you have rats you have them removed and closely inspect for your house for their entry points. It is not always easy to spot entry points, but a brown grease marks is usually an identifier for it if used often. For rats, you may have to crawl into tight spots or in some cases dig which is why it is highly advised to hire a professional to get rid your rat problem.
Raccoons are extremely intelligent animals who have adapted to city and urban life in Toronto too well. Raccoons have different vision from humans. They are able to see the heat escaping from your home and approach that weak area and get inside. They might rip open a soffit or go through an open vent, tear a hole in the wall or even just climb through your pet door. Not only do they have great sight but they have a great sense of smell, so do not leave any pet food about as this attracts them and may lead the raccoons into your home. Below are common areas for raccoon entry. It is recommended to inspect these areas at least twice annually to make sure there are no holes or any weak areas that need to be replaced.
Squirrels, like raccoons enter through holes in the roof, rip soffits, go through an open vent, chimney or through a hole in the wall. Squirrels are usually more frightened of you than you are of it, so try making loud noises or play ongoing music or call a professional. Covering entry holes with metal mesh, capping chimneys and trimming trees back from your home will help keep them out. The above diagram shows entry points for raccoons as well as squirrels. These areas on your roof should be inspected twice annually to monitor and replace any weak areas.
Opossums are pests because they will do anything to break into your home. If a opossum learns you have food, in some cases they will return on a daily basis and cause havoc. Opossums will make a nest in your home by chewing through the exterior of your house to get into your walls, garage, attic etc. If opossums invade your home they can chew through wood, drywall, gnaw on electrics and rip up all insulation in your home. To prevent opossums from entering, remove all food sources, secure your garbage and put a wire mesh around your yard or house buried at a foot deep to stop them digging under it.
Always check for babies before removing an adult, and do not remove an adult and seal off the entry points as the babies will starve and die. The babies need to be humanely removed and reunited with their mother who will take them to another nest.
As explained, services and methods depend on the situation, the type of animal and how they get in. It is highly advised to wildlife proof your home, this involves sealing all vents and weak areas of your home with mesh. Surrounding your home with a foot deep mesh that will help prevent wildlife from digging under your home and gaining entry. You should check your home regularly throughout the year to see if there are any sign of animals trying to enter your home as the best method for wildlife control is prevention.