Bench in a large garden

Taming The Backyard Jungle


I bet you didn’t know that pre-spring is prime mating season for skunks – one of the most noxious smelling nuisance wildlife residential homeowners can encounter. Skunks, along with a veritable zoo of other animals are rapidly becoming bigger headaches for homeowners across California, Nevada and Arizona.

While observing the curious habits of these animals and appreciating the role they play in our ecosystem is something Mr. Little values, I also know that at times these animals can pose a threat to people and structures.

As urban sprawl continues the habitats of these animals are vanishing and they are becoming more prevalent in urban areas. A coyote in Beverly Hills? A raccoon in downtown San Francisco? Don’t laugh, it happens.

Bats, raccoons and skunks are not just a nuisance but they are frequent carriers of rabies, which is potentially fatal if left untreated. In fact, as many as 40,000 people each year in the United States are exposed to animals that might have rabies, and must receive preventive treatments.

Remember the 2012 outbreak of Hantavirus at Yosemite National Park that claimed the lives of several people? Hantavirus is caused when people breathe in the virus when rodent urine and droppings containing the virus are stirred up into the air. The deer and white-footed mouse are two vectors of this fatal disease.

Squirrels, raccoons and rodents taking up residence in your attic can chew on electrical or computer wiring and are a leading cause behind home fires.

Mr. Little’s List of Commonly Encountered Nuisance Wildlife includes:

  • Raccoons
  • Squirrels
  • Chipmunks
  • Deer Mouse
  • Skunks
  • Snakes
  • Scorpions
  • Bats
  • Opossum
  • Coyote
  • Moles and Voles

What can homeowners do if they encounter wildlife in their backyard? The first thing is don’t feed wildlife or leave any pet food out that is attractive to wildlife.  These animals are ‘wildlife’ because they need to be able to live and survive in the wild.  Humans can often do a great deal of unintentional damage thinking they are being helpful.

The second thing is to resist the urge to try and solve the problem yourself. Remember, these are wild animals and in addition to the harmful diseases or venoms they might carry, they could attack you or your family – call a professional.

Nuisance Wildlife Control Tips

  • Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the foundation and windows.
  • Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
  • Keep food in airtight sealed containers and dispose of garbage regularly – use securely fitting lids on garbage cans.
  • Keep tree limbs cut back 6 to 8 feet from the roofline and store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house.
  • If you encounter a wild animal on your property, do not attempt to remove it on your own.

Do you have questions or concerns about nuisance wildlife? If so, I want to hear them. You can send me an e-mail at [email protected]. I’ll be sure to get back to you right away with an answer.

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

Have a pest free day.



Mr. Little

He’s represented Western for nearly a century. But he’s no old fogey. Follow Mr. Little’s blog for pest tips and facts!

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