Wildlife pests like raccoons and squirrels can cause damage and be a nuisance when they invade.

What are wildlife?

Wildlife is a word to describe animals that live outdoors in nature. As our habitats have merged many species of wild animals have come to rely on people and our property for food, water, and shelter. Wildlife can become a problem on any residential or commercial property located in urban, suburban, or rural areas.

The most common wildlife found living throughout McKinney, Plano, and northeastern Texas are armadillos, opossums, raccoons, and skunks.

Armadillos have unique, football-shaped bodies that are brown or gray in color, covered in thick skin with coarse, yellowish-white hairs and a bony, scaled shell. Armadillos have pointed noses and five-clawed paws used to dig burrows. Armadillos are also known for curling into tight balls as a defense mechanism.

Opossums are the only species of marsupial living in the United States. This means opossums carry their young in a pouch. Their bodies are covered in whitish-gray fur and speckled with long guard hairs, and they have long, narrow faces that are lighter in color than the rest of their bodies. Opossums also have hairless, prehensile tails that they use to grip things and hang from trees.

Raccoons are most often identified by a black “mask” of fur that covers their eyes. Raccoons have stocky bodies that are covered in dense, salt and pepper-colored fur. They also have tails that are ringed in gray and black fur.

Skunks are usually first identified by their foul smell. Skunks are capable of spraying a foul-smelling liquid from glands found at the base of their tails to defend themselves against predators. They have black bodies and a distinctive white stripe that starts at their heads and divides into two stripes, traveling down their entire bodies and fluffy tails.

Are wildlife dangerous?

Yes, any wild animal has the potential to be dangerous. Wild animals are naturally fearful of people. If they become cornered or feel threatened they will bite, scratch, or otherwise attack to get away from us. Wild animals also have the potential to carry and spread many harmful diseases, including rabies, through their saliva, urine, and feces. If given the chance, they will also cause a lot of damage to your property, as well as cause structural damage inside your home.

Why do I have a wildlife problem?

The main reason that wild animals are a problem on your property is that we are sharing many of the same spaces. Additionally, if your property is offering wildlife easy access to food, water, shelter, or all of the above, you can expect to have wild animals living on your property. Once comfortable on your property, it is common for these animals to move into your home or other structure to seek safe, temperature-controlled shelter that is close to an easy food source.

Where will I find wildlife?

Wild animals can be found living in a variety of outdoor environments. Wooded areas, areas next to rivers, fields, parks, and both residential and commercial properties can all be places where wild animals live and thrive. Wild animals nesting inside usually do so in out-of-the-way places like attics, basements, chimneys, and crawlspaces.

  • Armadillos prefer living outside in open areas like fields, golf courses, lawns, and parks. They create burrows around trees, in rock piles, and in thick shrubs. Armadillos don’t commonly nest indoors, but they will commonly burrow and tunnel under foundations and driveways.

  • Opossums live in environments that are in close proximity to rivers, streams, and other water sources. Their nests can be found in abandoned burrows of other animals, in hollow trees, under large piles of brush, or inside of outbuildings like garages or barns. Inside your are most likely to find opossums inside of an attic or chimney.

  • Raccoons are most common in wooded areas that are in close proximity to water sources, but are also common fixtures around farms, fields and residential properties. They create their dens in between rocks, in hollow trees, under decks or sheds, and under the ground. Raccoons that have moved inside a home or other structure to nest are typically found in attics, chimneys, and crawlspaces.

  • Skunks are most prevalent in fields, pastures, and any open lands near wooded areas. They are also common sights in urban or residential areas. Their preferred burrowing spots include inside hollow logs or in the abandoned burrows of other animals. Skunks don’t commonly move inside of homes to nest, but they will often create nesting areas under decks, sheds, or foundations where they become a huge problem for homeowners.

When are wildlife most active?

Raccoons, opossums, and skunks all tend to be most active at dawn and dusk and are considered nocturnal pests. Armadillos living in McKinney, Texas stay active throughout most of the year. The year-round moderate climate that our state provides them with allows them to thrive, as they do not hibernate and can’t withstand cold temperatures. Opossums are also a species of wild animal that is active all year long. During the colder winter months, they will change their schedules and come out during the day to forage for food when temperatures are at their highest. Raccoons are typically active  throughout most of the year as well; however, they will sleep for long periods of time during any cold stretches that happen during the winter months. Skunks living throughout Texas tend to be more active during the cold winter months, rather than during the extreme heat of summer.

Four interesting facts about wildlife

1. Armadillos that live in the southern region of the United States almost always have four babies per litter. When startled, these creatures have the habit of jumping 4-5 feet in the air. Armadillos are insectivores and find beetles, bugs, grubs, and worms to be fine delicacies.

2. The opossum's claim to fame is being the only marsupial to live in North America. Marsupials have young that are born underdeveloped and finish developing in pouches located on their mother’s stomachs. Opossums are known for being excellent swimmers. These interesting creatures use their opposable rear thumbs and prehensile tails to climb and hang from trees and other structures.

3. Raccoons are often referred to as “masked bandits” because of the black mask of fur surrounding their eyes. They are also known for being intelligent creatures and adept problem solvers, which is why keeping them out of your home can be so difficult!

4. Skunks can actually be beneficial to people because they feed on a wide variety of agriculture and garden pests. However, their feeding habits can quickly turn from helpful to destructive as they dig holes in your lawn and gardens while foraging for food. Skunks spray smelly, oily liquids from their anal glands. These glands carry a limited amount of spray; after emptying their glands, it can take up to a week to reload. Before skunks spray, they will typically stamp their feet and hiss in warning.

How do I get rid of wildlife?

To eliminate and/or prevent problems with wildlife, partner with Around The Block Pest Control. Our friendly and highly trained professionals deliver modern and effective pest control solutions. We will work closely with you to eliminate wild animals and stop future wild animals from making themselves at home in your Texas home or business.

Around The Block Pest Control offers a variety of residential and commercial pest control services: general pest coverage, organic services, bed bugs control, fire ant control, mosquito control, rodent control, and more. For more information about the wildlife control services we offer throughout northeastern Texas, reach out to us today!

How can I prevent wildlife in the future?

In addition to our professional services, the following tips can help to prevent problems with wildlife in or around your northeastern Texas home or business.

  • Fix holes along the roofline, at roof intersections, and any other large opening leading into your home or business.

  • Remove woodpiles, rock piles, and other piles of debris from your property.

  • Trim back tree branches from the exterior of your structure.

  • Place fencing around garden areas.

  • Install chimney caps on all your chimneys.

  • Repair torn or loose window screens.

  • Pick-up uneaten pet food and remove bird feeders from your property.

  • Place wire mesh around decks, sheds, and similar structures to prevent animals from burrowing underneath.

  • Make sure that outdoor garbage cans and compost bins have locking lids and are stored a distance away from the outside of your structure.