Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are a common sight in many suburban and rural areas here in the Smoky Mountain region. While they may be cute little creatures, they can also be a nuisance to homeowners. This is because groundhogs are excellent diggers, and can easily burrow under homes and gardens, causing extensive damage. In addition, woodchucks can carry diseases that can be harmful to humans and pets.
If you have a groundhog problem on your property, there are several steps you can take to get rid of them without harming them. Continue reading to learn how.
Top Groundhog Removal and Control Tips
The first step in getting rid of groundhogs is to stop them from entering your property. You can do this by animal-proofing the area around your home and garden. This includes sealing off any potential entry points, such as gaps under fences or cracked foundations. It is also important to clear away ground cover and debris that groundhogs may be using as shelter.
If groundhogs have already established a burrow on your property, there are several humane ways to help them leave. One way is to use a groundhog repellent such as coyote urine or predator scents that groundhogs find unpleasant. Another option is to flood the woodchuck burrow with water, which will encourage groundhogs to move on. You can also trap groundhogs and relocate them away from your property.
If you choose to use a trap, make sure that it is the right size for groundhogs and that it has been checked and maintained regularly. Place the trap near woodchuck activity and make sure it is securely anchored to the ground. You should also use a groundhog-friendly bait, such as vegetables or fruits.
Finally, you can hire a professional Nashville animal removal company to trap groundhogs and remove them from your property. They will be able to assess the groundhog problem accurately and provide the best solution for your particular situation.
Safe and Humane Groundhog Control is Essential
By following these steps, you can get rid of groundhogs without harming them. The key is to act swiftly and take preventative measures to keep groundhogs away from your property in the first place. If groundhogs have already made themselves at home on your property, there are humane ways to get them to leave without causing them any harm. With the right measures in place, you can protect your home and garden from groundhog damage while also keeping groundhogs safe.
Our animal kingdom embraces a long list of fascinating and beneficial critters. Depending on the region in which you live, you are likely to spot a variety wildlife, whether on car rides, hikes, picnics, rounds of golf, bike rides, fishing trips, or even a stroll through your neighborhood. Here in the Smoky Mountain region, one of the most predominant species of wildlife known to explore both woodlands and human territories are raccoons.
Raccoons are regularly spotted in rural and urban communities, but they also stick to the natural forests and wooded areas in the Smoky Mountains. When it comes to wild raccoons, namely raccoon sightings, there is much to beware of. The more knowledge you have about wild raccoons, the better you can react and navigate an encounter.
Continue reading to learn some general information about wild raccoons, some fun facts, and who to call for professional assistance and advice when it comes to raccoon control and preservation.
The Common Raccoon (Procyon Lotor)
Raccoons have many names and appellations. This is because they are found in several different regions of the United States, and exhibit marginally different features, habits, and lifestyles. Raccoons are part of the Procyon genus and scientifically referred to as Procyon Lotor, loosely meaning “dog-like”. In addition to this very formal title, these animals are also known as the Common Raccoon, North American Raccoon, and the Northern Raccoon.
Raccoon Species Around the World
In addition to these colloquial names, raccoons are also referred to by their habitat and behaviors. There are at least six known species of raccoon and various subspecies. They are highly adaptable mammals that can live in a variety of different climates all over the world, including Central, South and North America, Canada, Asia, Europe, and even the Caribbean. This variety leaves room for a lot of interesting names.
Other species of raccoons include, but are not limited to, the Ring-Tailed Raccoon, Upper Mississippi Valley Raccoon, the Eastern Raccoon, Ten Thousand Island Raccoon, the Crab-Eating Raccoon, the Tres Marias Raccoon, the Guadeloupe Raccoon, the Coati, the Cozumel Raccoon, and more. The differences among each species include size, weight, fur color, diet, behavior, and other identifiable and physical characteristics.
Local Raccoons in Tennessee
Raccoons are nocturnal animals, meaning they are active at night and rest during the day. During the night, raccoons generally hunt and forage for food. Although primarily nocturnal, they are known to venture out in the day from time to time for particular food sources. In the United States, these food sources are commonly turning out to be residential and urban garbage cans and dumpsters.
Raccoons travel and behave in colonies, usually consisting of their own kin. The beginning of the year has proven to be their breeding time, with a gestation period of about sixty five days or so. The males do not partake in raising the raccoon pups, so females separate following reproduction. Raising baby raccoons is not a terribly dangerous time period for female raccoons, mostly because raccoons have very few predators. This does not mean that they cannot be subjected to danger.
In certain parts of the world, animals such as coyotes, cougars, mountain lions, and bobcats, and more, will feed on wild raccoons. As natural instinct allows, raccoons are known to claw, bite, hiss, growl, and scream at anything threatening it. This defensive behavior is commonly seen in urban areas near humans and domesticated pets.
Raccoons are an Omnivorous Species Like Us
Raccoons are omnivorous so their diet can consist of everything from invertebrates to plant material. Depending on the time of year, habitat, and species of raccoon, food sources will differ. For example, in the late summer and autumn months, Northern raccoons are known to indulge in fruits, acorns, walnuts, and other seasonal foods that are rich in nutrients and calories. This better prepares them for their winter hibernation period. In the springtime and early summer months, raccoons dine on less favorable items, such as worms, insects, and other readily accessible invertebrates.
On top of these easy-to-obtain foodstuffs, raccoons will also eat fish, bird eggs, snakes, amphibians, and several other vertebrates, so long as they can reach them or catch them! Other regionally raccoon food preferences include crabs, lizards, plants, berries, crayfish, and even human food. This all depends on where they live and how accessible the food items are. Different species of raccoon display different habits when it comes to hunting and feeding.
Although not conclusively proven, raccoons are thought to wash their food before eating, also referred to as “dousing”. There are several theories to explain this behavior, however, most believe it is simply an archaic habit dating back to when raccoons mostly fed on shorelines and foraged food sources from watering holes. Other theories suggest that raccoons cannot produce an adequate amount of saliva to consume their food, so they must moisten it with water for sufficient digestion.
Raccoons are Losing Natural Habitats
Unfortunately, due to over-development and mass construction, some species of raccoon have been forced to live among humans in residential and urban areas. These raccoons have learned to adapt to this kind of living over the past fifty years. They use our municipal waste sites to forage food, as well as, home gardens, dumpsters, pet food bowls, and more. They use every opportunity they can find to gather and eat foodstuffs in our metropolitan areas.
For shelter, raccoons in suburban areas are known to use houses, buildings, attics, garages, sheds, and roofs, sewer drains, outside play sets, pet houses, hollowed trees, crawl spaces, porches, decks, and more. They are moderately intelligent mammals that can learn to overcome obstacles and remember certain tasks for up to three years! They can use their dexterous hands and claws to open gates, pick locks, dig holes, lift, push, and rip away anything in their way. This causes a lot of structural damage to homes and buildings in these municipal neighborhoods and areas.
Raccoon Removal and Control
When building and homeowners experience an animal infestation problem, it is important that they act fast. Structural damage, repairs, cleanup, and attacks are all potential consequences of a raccoon infestation. This is especially vital for families or buildings with small children. Wild raccoons can not only be defensive and protective of their clan, but they can also carry a plethora of communicable diseases, including Rabies, Canine Distemper, Leptospirosis, and more. To avoid a raccoon attack or contagious infection, it is crucial to remove raccoons as soon as you are aware they of their presence. Typically, a Nashville TN wildlife control company can be called out to diagnose the issue and facilitate a set of remedies to eliminate the threat.
Highly-prized and 4,400 feet above sea level lies the southern Appalachian Mountains, which for countless generations have provided thriving Eco-systems for all sorts of living organisms in Tennessee. As for wildlife, one might wonder which species of animal can survive at such a high elevation. Well, the answer is many.
Continue reading to learn some facts about the animals that live in the Smoky Mountains, and what to do if you are experiencing nuisance wildlife tampering in or around your Tennessee property.
Common Species of Smoky Mountain Wildlife
Some of the most common species of wildlife native to the Smoky Mountain range, including the Cataloochee and Cades Cove areas, are spotted skunks, red squirrels, eastern chipmunks, jumping mice, gray foxes, and even bobcats. But that’s not all! From the bare grassy meadows and big River to the ridge tops, high meadows, high forests, and everywhere in between, there are countless species of wildlife thriving all year round.
Birds and Bats
In the high meadow and high forest areas, it is common to see several species of birds and bats flying around at different parts of the day. During the daytime hours, you can spot magnificent birds, such as the American peregrine falcon, red crossbills, ravens, warblers, red-breasted nut hatches, and even snow buntings.
Of all the birds that are native to the Smoky Mountain areas, warblers are among the most widespread. Common species of warblers include the spotted warbler, black-throated blue warbler, magnolia warbler, Canada warbler, and black-throated green warbler.
At dusk and nightfall, you can spot Big Brown Bats flying around and darting for prey such as mosquitoes, flies, gnats, moths, and more. Gray bats and Indiana bats are additional species native to the Tennessee and southern Appalachian Mountain ranges.
In the Smoky Mountain Cataloochee and Cades Cove regions, you can also find wild turkeys. You might even catch a rare glimpse at the Saw-whet owl in the high forest areas!
Animals on Foot
If you are in the open areas of Cataloochee and Cades Cove, you can spot white-tailed deer, groundhogs, and raccoons. You might also see elk and black bears during certain times of the year. In fact, around 1,500 black bears call Smoky Mountain National Park home.
Although the Red Wolf used to also call the Smoky Mountain areas home, they are now extinct. We hunted them to extinction in the southeast part of the United States, and although there was an attempt to bring the species back to the Cades Cove, efforts were ineffectual. There are now no wolves in Tennessee.
As children, we have wonderful memories of feeding the ducks at the park pond, or refilling our bird feeders with seed and nectar. Feeding wildlife on separate grounds is consequence-free; but now that you are a homeowner, is it really a good idea to be feeding wildlife from your own backyard? The answer sits on a spectrum, yet tends to veer towards, “no.”
Continue reading to learn why feeding wild animals can cause problems, and what you can do if you are already in over your head with nuisance wildlife activity on your property.
The Most Common Problems with Feeding Local Wildlife
The animals that are near your property likely include the usual species found here in Tennessee, such as birds, squirrels, raccoons, opossum, and skunks. If you live near wooded areas or bodies of water, then you can expect a much steadier frequency of animal activity. So, when you combine such locations with such species, you can open the door to a world of trouble if you choose to feed wild animals on your property.
Wild Animals Will Come Back for More
These animals are already on a hunt for food every night. And when they find a steady food source, they will remember it for a long time. This means they will cease to stop visiting your property, night after night. And what’s worse is that if they do not find the food that has been provide before, they will continue their search around your property for some. This leads to the consequences we mentioned before.
Wild Animals are Very Destructive
Not only will wild animals remember that your property is a sure source for food and continue to visit each night with more and more friends, but they will also cause a load of destruction. Animals like raccoons have human-like paws that allow them to grip, grasp, rip, and tear. With this advantage, raccoons will rip up lawns in search of grubs, pillage gardens for fruits and vegetables, and even try to access the inner parts of your home through the siding, roof, or garage. Once inside, the level of destruction only worsens; plus, it poses several health and safety risks since wild animals are known carriers of several infectious diseases and parasites.
They Will Make Your Home Their Own
So once animals know your yard is the place to eat, they will begin to help themselves to whatever else they want on your property. This includes shelter. They will make their nests under your porch or deck, in crawl spaces and attics, outdoor sheds and garages, and even tree houses and play sets! Log piles and stationary vehicles are other popular nesting destinations for animals like raccoons, skunks, and opossum.
They Carry Infectious Diseases and Parasites
The biggest threat that goes along with feeding wild animals on your property is the risk of being attacked or infected. As mentioned, wild animals are known carriers of diseases, parasites, and more. They are also capable of attacking curious pets and children if provoked, ill, or protecting their young. It is in the best interest of your home and family to not feed wildlife around your property.
If you insist on feeding animals, try to follow these tips:
☑ Use an animal-specific feeder, such as a bird feeder or squirrel feeder.
☑ Reduce the amount of food in warmer seasons when natural food sources are more abundant.
☑ Place the food in a centralized location to deter animals from walking across your lawn.
☑ If over-crowding occurs, spread out your sources to prevent aggressive or competitive behaviors.
Is your lawn starting to look more like a war zone rather than a grassy pasture due to animal tunneling? If so, now is the right time to act. Otherwise, you can say goodbye to your green, glossy lawn forever. Animal tunneling is a common problem for homeowners in the Tennessee areas, especially those who live close to a body of water. Not only can tunneling activity destroy the look of your lawn, but it will also kill grass, crops, and plants. And the nuisance activity will only persist until someone intervenes.
Continue reading to learn which species of animal usually cause this sort of lawn damage, and what you can do to get rid of them, safely.
Yard Moles and Groundhogs are Your Top Suspects
The two most common animals that practice underground tunneling are groundhogs and moles. Although voles and other species of wildlife are also known to exhibit the same behavior, their tunnels are not as noticeable from the surface.
Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, create complex underground tunnel networks that contain separate entrances and exits. You can distinguish groundhog tunnels from other animals because they tend to be larger and wider, and have large openings around a foot wide.
Moles are subterranean mammals that have been biologically gifted with polydactyl forepaws, which allows them to dig intricate tunnel systems and search for grubs and worms. This activity causes above-ground lawn damage. You can tell you have a mole problem when your lawn has several tunnels that lead to mounds of dirt, known as “molehills.”
Critter Control for Yard Moles and Groundhogs
Regardless of whether you have moles or groundhogs ruining your lawn, it is a problem that must be dealt with as soon as possible. Not only will these tunnels damage your lawn, crops, and plants, they can also temp other animals to use them, such as mice and rats. The best way to get rid of a nuisance animal problem is to contact a licensed Nashville wildlife removal and control company for non-lethal animal abatement services. Never attempt to touch, trap, harm, or kill a nuisance wild animal. There are laws that govern this practice, which is why a professional should always be contacted.
This season, stop nuisance rabbits from destroying your flowerbeds and pillaging your gardens. Here in Nashville, rabbits are a common pest for homeowners, as they are infamously known for tearing up lawns and fresh sod, ripping up flowerbeds and pots, and indulging in fresh produce grown in ground gardens. But this spring and summer, you do not have to deal with nuisance rabbits stealing all of your well-earned garden yields; instead, implement some easy and effective rabbit control methods that are both safe for the environment and humane to all creatures.
Continue reading to learn the top two strategies for keeping pesky rabbits out of the garden, and a trusted last-resort option if nothing seems to work for you.
Option one is to use an animal repellent. You have two choices here, to make your own or buy a product over the counter. If you choose to purchase a pre-manufactured rabbit repellent, just be sure it is environmentally safe, and non-toxic to pets and children. In fact, it is strongly recommended to just make your own animal repellent. A homemade solution is humane, non-toxic, and the recipe is simple. Just combine household spices and essentials with water, and transfer into a spray bottle. Use ingredients that are obnoxious and bothersome to rabbits, like ground red pepper, black pepper, menthol, spearmint, eucalyptus, and even cinnamon.
To Apply: Spray perimeter of garden with your solution. Be sure to keep pets and children away from treated areas.
Another option for protecting gardens against pillaging nuisance rabbits is to install a garden fence. You will need chicken wire, landscape garden staples, stakes, zip ties, wire cutters, a hammer, and mulch. When installing the chicken wire, be sure to bend the bottom of the wire on the outside of the fence so that it creates a 90 degree “lip” to prevent rabbits from tunneling underneath. Use the zip ties to connect the wire to the stakes, and use the staples every 2 feet or so to secure to the wire to the ground. When you are done installing your rabbit-proof fence, cover the outer lip with mulch.
Additional Tip: Install a motion detection sprinkler system that will scare rabbits away if they get too close!
What to Do When You are Not Seeing Results
If your chicken wire fence falls flat, and your homemade repellent doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, your next step is professional critter control assistance. Contact a local Nashville Tennessee animal removal service that can help critter-proof your entire property. They have the proper training and resources to safely get rid of rabbits without disturbing your premises.