Coexisting with Coyotes

Coyotes were primarily found throughout the western states but have managed to migrate to other states throughout the years and coyote sightings are on the rise. The male coyote is slightly larger than the female coyote and they weigh approximately fifteen-thirty (15-30) pounds. They are extremely adaptable and are found in rural, urban and suburban landscapes. A Coyote’s diet consists of plants and animals including rats, mice, insects, fruit, seeds, nuts, rabbit, birds, dead animals, pet food and trash left outdoors. Smaller pets such as a dog or cat are at a greater risk of being killed and eaten by Coyotes.

A study done by the National Park Service found that about 20% of urban coyote’s diet is made up of cats.

There have been numerous reports through varies cities throughout the United States of coyotes attacking small dogs and cats.

Keeping your pets in an enclosed area and walking your dog on a leash are just a few ways that you can help keep your pet from falling prey to a coyote. It is illegal to feed a coyote, NEVER feed a coyote as this behavior will enable a coyote to lose its fear of humans. Livestock should also be placed in a secure enclosure that will keep predators away.

Some helpful tips on how to avoid attracting them to your yard would be by cutting off the food supply such as fruit, pet food and any trash left outdoors. Any fruits that are ready should be harvested and trash kept in a tightly sealed container.

Closing off crawl spaces under porches and sheds will help keep coyotes and other animals from using these areas as a resting place and raising their young.

Coyotes help maintain a healthy ecosystem as they manage the rodent population of other small animals like rats, mice, and insects. They are generally shy and will go away if they encounter a human. If you happen to come across a coyote that seems to not be afraid of humans, you can try to create a lot of noise or act aggressively towards the coyote (ex: waving arms or jumping up and down) as doing so will encourage the coyote to leave.

Most attacks on pets typically occur during the early evening or morning hours. It is strongly recommended that pets are not left unsupervised as coyote sightings have been reported during the day. There were over seventy-three (73) coyote attacks reported to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission in residential areas alone.

Following the safety tips listed above, can help deter coyotes and keep your family and pets safe.

For additional information on safety tips with living with coyotes click here: http://www.myfwc.com/conservation/you-conserve/wildlife/coyotes

Rabies Facts and Tips for Prevention

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) rabies is a viral disease that is transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal.  Cases of the rabies virus have been reported to the (CDC) annually by wild animals such as skunks, raccoons, bats, coyotes, foxes, feral dogs, and cats.

The virus affects the nervous system that can cause paralysis and is fatal to animals and humans. The disease is spread through the saliva and the virus can be transmitted through a scratch or bite wound of a rabid animal. Immediate treatment soon after exposure will protect an exposed person from the disease.

People are encouraged to avoid contact with any wild or stray animals that they may encounter. All domestic animals are at risk of exposure. It is strongly recommended that domestic pets be vaccinated against rabies. It is important that you seek medical attention and contact your county animal services department if you or someone you know has been bitten or scratched by an animal.

Here some tips:

  • Make sure your pets are current on their rabies immunizations   
  • Do not leave any food outside as this will attract animals
  • Cover all trash cans with tightly fitted lids
  • Avoid contact with any wild or stray animals

     For more information on the rabies virus visit the Center for Disease Control Website at https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/prevention/index.html

 

Invasive Marine Toads

Our Florida weather is perfect for frogs and toads with its warm, humid climate, various habitats, and wetland environments.

You might ask yourself what is the difference between a Frog or a Toad? Well, a toad except for an eastern narrow mouth toad, have warty dry skin while frogs on the other hand, have smooth and moist skin. Toads have a pair of parotid glands that bulge out from behind their eyes. These are the glands that produce a bufotoxin that protects them from being eaten by most animals.

Even though all toads have these glands, most are too small to cause any real effect on people and pets. There is, however, the exception of the non-native marine toad also known as the bufo toad or cane toad. This non-native toad measures to be approximately 6 inches. The toxins produced by this toad can release a toxin that can affect both people and pets.

The evolution of frogs and toads have allowed them to be able to survive on land. There are two (2) life stages for frogs and toads known as the tadpole stage and adult stage. All frogs and toads here in Florida lay eggs in water. The eggs then develop into tadpoles which tend to have more of a fish like appearance and after a period of time, they grow and develop to be adults. Tadpoles eat bacteria and algae whereas the adults eat insects.

They have a very good sense of smell and this is due to a small organ located in the nasal passages called the Jacobson’s organ. They are also sensitive to movement, have a wide range of vision and have a developed outer ear.

As frogs and toads move to lakes, streams, ponds, and ditches for breeding, homeowners who live near water may hear a variety of calls being made by the male frogs who are calling to breed with the females. This sound can be heard throughout the year. Even though they tend to live in various habitats, the adults spend much of their time on dry land and only migrate to various wetlands during the breeding season. 

They are attracted to any body of water such as pools and bird baths. During the breeding season, homeowners encounter problems with frogs and toads invading their pools, pool filter, bird baths, porches, patios, backyards, and other living areas. There are a few options available to keep frogs and toads at bay. You can try to make the water inaccessible through the use of certain materials like netting and screening, cover open water in pools and ponds after dark to prevent them from laying eggs, reduce lighting around your home after dark, keep your grass short, remove clutter and brush piles, pick up any food scraps laying around, fill in any holes that you may find that they can hide in and turning on some white noise (ex: ceiling fan or relaxing music) to help tune out the noise.

The non-native marine toad can become a problem as they have been known to eat pet food left in the bowl which in turn causes your pet to become deathly ill. If your pet bites or licks a marine toad, it may become disoriented and display unusual behavior. Your pet may foam at the mouth, seizure and have dark red gums. If you suspect that your pet may have licked or bitten a marine toad and is displaying the above-mentioned symptoms, promptly wash the toxins forward out of the mouth for approximately ten (10) to fifteen (15) minutes using a water hose avoid directing the water down your pet’s throat. Use a washcloth to help remove the white milky toxins left by the marine toad and contact your veterinarian for further instructions and treatment.

The non-native marine toads are not a protected species in Florida and can be removed and disposed of in a humane manner. Wear rubber, latex or nitrile gloves when handling marine toads by placing them in a plastic bag or container in the freezer for two (2) to three (3) days or contact a nuisance animal trapper for assistance.

Home Protection Against Animal Damage

In order to effectively seal up any points of entry that an animal can gain access to it is important to perform an inspection to determine the points of entry. Rodents do not need much space to gain access into your home. During the winter months, animals seek out shelter to give birth to their young as well as for food and water. Food becomes harder to locate as the colder weather sets in. Rodents such as rats, mice, and squirrels can cause an extensive amount of damage as they can chew through wires and pipes which can cause a fire and extensive water damage costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars in repairs. The insulation can become soiled and damaged due to the rodents use of the insulation for nesting material leaving behind urine and feces that can also pose a health risk for occupants.

There are a few steps that you can take to determine if there are any entry points that need to be sealed. An inspection of the property from the outside should be your first step in determining where the animals may be gaining access. They can gain access into the attic through the tiles, rafters, gables, and soffits, they can also gain access into your home through the chimney, floor drains, windows, floor and dryer vents, holes used to pull wiring through (ex: cable, phone, plumbing, electrical), under sinks, doors, and crawl space vents.

Always consult with a professional. It is not recommended that a seal up be performed by someone who is not knowledgeable in this area as the risk of an animal being trapped in is always a possibility. Before a seal up can be performed, it must be determined that there are no animals left inside and that the materials used for the seal up will prevent the animal from being able to chew its way back in.

 

 

 

 

Tips on Keeping Your Home or Office Rodent Free

It doesn’t take much for a Rodent to gain access into your home or office, small rodents can gain access through a hole as small as one half of an inch. Rodents that are a little bigger can continue to chew through a hole of that size to make a bigger hole to gain access. To avoid making your home or office a target for rodent infestation, there are a few things you can do to minimize or even eliminate an infestation.

Keeping your home or office clean and organized with no food sources or shelter available is an effective method in keeping a rodent infestation at bay. Rodents can cause an expensive and enormous amount of damage including but not limited to pipes, water lines, dishwashers, insulation, roof, garage doors, attics, walls, baseboards, utensils, food, and they can also spread disease.

Here are some helpful tips to prevent rodent infestations:

  • Never leave dishes in the sink for long periods of time as this would provide food and water for the rodents.
  • Clean up any food crumbs left on the floor, counters, stoves etc.
  • Never leave food out exposed on the kitchen table, counters, stoves, desks, chairs, night stands (ex: fruit bowls, candy, beverages, bread as the rodents can feed off of these items and chew through plastic gaining access to these foods). Any food kept out should be stored in a tightly sealed glass or metal container.
  • Take the trash out daily place them in a tightly sealed container, doing so will deter rodents from gaining access and would limit the smell of the trash from leaving the container.
  • Trim tree branches, shrubs and bushes as this will keep rodents from climbing and jumping onto your roof and gaining access into your home or office and into the attic.
  • Never leave any pet food or water bowls out, after feeding your pet, store pet food in a tightly sealed metal or glass container and empty out the water bowl.
  • Remove any sources of shelter and moisture such as water bowls, heaps of branches, leaves or logs, do not store firewood up against your home or office as this can provide shelter.
  • Keep gutters clean.
  • Don’t allow for your landscape to overgrow as this will also provide shelter.
  • Inspect the exterior of your home or office to determine any points of entry. Once points of entry have been identified, seal the holes to keep them from gaining access.

Following these simple steps can help ensure that your home or office remain rodent free. If after following these steps, you are still encountering problems, feel free to give us a call so that we can schedule an appointment to come out and perform an inspection of your home or office. We will be glad to help assist you in resolving your problem!

 

How to Deal with Wildlife in an Urban Environment

As land is continually being purchased for the development of homes, schools, businesses, and communities, instances will continue to arise where there is a conflict between humans and wildlife. Some of the wildlife issues we face can oftentimes be resolved by initially locating the source and cause of the problem and then by following up with an action plan that can keep nuisance wildlife at bay. Implementing such a plan can help minimize if not eliminate any further conflict with coming into contact with nuisance wildlife.  Fortunately, a technique that has been found to be effective in the prevention and maintenance for keeping animals out of your trash or gaining access into your home or business from the outside is by modifying the animal’s habit, known as Habitat Modification.

Habitat Modification is a cost-effective method that provides long-term relief from any damage caused by nuisance wildlife. Modifying an animal’s habitat is proven to be effective because it limits access to food, shelter, and water.

If a nuisance animal has been found and is causing damage to your property consider following these simple steps to encourage the animals to go somewhere else for food, shelter, and storage:

  • First, determine which species of animal is causing the problem.
  • Learn the species habitat preferences causing the problem (ex: diet, shelter, or hiding places).
  • Modify the habitat, so that you are no longer providing the resources and conditions to the species of animal that you are having trouble with.

An example would be that of a squirrel. In this case, you would rake dropped seeds beneath bird feeders on a regular basis, pick up any fallen nuts or acorns beneath the trees, trim all branches on fruit and nut trees and guard around the base of the tree to keep them from jumping or climbing.

 

Here are some additional steps that can be taken to minimize the risk of having any issues with other nuisance wildlife (please note that this list is not inclusive) such as birds, rats, raccoons, mice, snakes, and other species:

  1. Keep garbage cans tightly sealed.
  2. Do not leave any pet food outside (this would include bird seed as well).
  3. Trim any tree branches or bushes that hang over your home or business.
  4. Locate points of entry to your property from the outside. Any and all entry points should be inspected for rodent activity and sealed off once it is determined that there are no animals inside (hiring a company that specializes in the trapping and removal of nuisance wildlife is strongly recommended).
  5. Mow the yard frequently to limit areas of tall grass and bushes.
  6. Remove any sources of cover such as brush piles, boards or anything that could potentially provide an animal cover.
  7. Make sure to harvest any vegetables when they are found to be closely ripe to avoid attracting attention from other species.

Following these steps will help minimize your exposure to having any nuisance wildlife issues, if you find that after following these steps, your issue has not been resolved, then consider contacting a nuisance wildlife professional and make an appointment to have your home or office inspected for additional treatment plans or options.

The Do’s and Don’ts on Handling a Snake Bite

Florida is home to over forty-five (45) species of snakes. Six (6) of those species are venomous. Snakes can be found in all types of habitat, they prefer cool, dark and damp areas such as low shrubs, burrows, debris, and boards. Would you know what to do if you or someone you know is bitten by a snake?

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind if you or someone you know is bitten by a snake.

Do:

  • Seek medical attention and call 911 Immediately.
  • Remain calm and move away from the snake’s striking distance.
  • Immobilize the bite area if on an extremity and keep it lower than the victim’s heart.
  • Make sure to remove rings, bracelets, watches, or restrictive clothing on the extremity with the bite. Wash the area of the bite with soap and water if possible and cover it with a clean dry dressing.
  • Keep the victim warm and as comfortable as possible and offer reassurance.
  • If possible, keep a record of the time of the bite, the victim’s symptoms, and any first aid measures. Be sure to give this information to emergency medical personnel. This will help the doctor and Poison Control Center toxicology determine the severity of the bite and appropriate treatment.
  • Be aware of any allergies (drug, food, animal) or existing medical conditions the victim may have.
  • Although providing identification of the snake is helpful, it is not necessary. Do not delay seeking immediate medical attention or risk further injury to the victim or others to identify the snake.

Don’t:

  • Don’t wait for symptoms to develop to seek medical attention.
  • Don’t attempt to catch the snake. Try to remember the color and shape of the snake to provide identification to medical personnel which will help aid in treatment.
  • Don’t apply a tourniquet to a bitten extremity as this can completely cut off blood flow and could result in the loss of the affected limb.
  • Don’t apply ice or attempt to cool the bite area.
  • Don’t make incisions at the bite marks and/or apply suction as this can cause further injury.
  • Don’t apply any heat or electric shock to the affected area.
  • Don’t give any stimulants or alcohol to the victim as this may speed up the body’s absorption to the venom.

If the bite is from a nonvenomous snake, typical symptoms are pain and scratches at the site. However, if the bite is from a poisonous snake, there is usually severe pain at the site of the bite within approximately fifteen (15) to thirty (30) minutes after having been bitten.

This can also progress to bruising and swelling at the site of the wound going all the way up to the arm or leg. There may be additional symptoms such as nausea, weakness and an odd taste in the mouth. Bites from venomous snakes, such as coral snakes, have toxins in their bites that can cause neurological symptoms such as tingling, weakness, and difficulty communicating.

Following the above tips can help increase the chances of recovery from a snake bite.

 

Don’t Be Left Hanging Out With The Bats Until Next Season!

Florida is home to approximately thirteen (13) species of bats in Florida. They are active at night and are most common near water. They can be seen emerging from homes and buildings through open spaces at dusk. Sounds of squeaking and rustling noises can also be heard coming from eves, chimneys, ceilings and walls which may indicate that a colony may be present. They can also be found roosting under bridges, hollow trees, caves, and crevices. Another sign of an infestation can also be seen by the bats leaving behind large amounts of guano (bat feces) outside of the home or building.

 

If you believe that you may have bats, now is the time to act. It is illegal to harm or kill bats in Florida, but they can be legally excluded from a home or building structure in an effective and safe manner by a certified and licensed professional who specializes in bat removal.

Why Bat Removal?

Not only can bats cause extensive damage to your home or building, they also carry various diseases that can be transmitted to humans such as rabies and histoplasmosis. Rabies can be transmitted by a scratch or bite from a bat while histoplasmosis can be transmitted by inhaling the spores of the histoplasma capsulatum fungus from the bat guano. Although the disease primarily affects the lungs, symptoms vary greatly. There have been situations where other organs have been affected which can be fatal if left untreated.

Any bat exclusion of bat colonies must be done between August 15th through April 15th.

In Florida, bat exclusions are illegal during their maternity season from April 16th through August 14th. It is during this time that bats gather to give birth and raise their young. The season lasts until the young bats are able to fly and fend for themselves. Any bat exclusion work done during the maternity season would require special permitting from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

To learn more about bats, check out our page on Bat Removal.

 

 

Call & Schedule an appointment with Trapline Wildlife Services today at (407) 970-5645 before the deadline date and let our experts handle the rest!

How to Tell The Difference Between A Rat And A Mouse

It is important to be able to determine the difference between a mouse and a rat as treatment methods vary. They both vary in size, color and appearance. Mice are between 6-7 inches (15 to 18 centimeters). Some mice are white, brown or gray in color. Their tales are long, thin and hairy and they have large floppy ears. Their eyes are large in comparison to their face and they have a triangularly shaped snout with long whiskers. They are very timid, social and territorial in nature and produce over forty (40) droppings a day. They are also very curious so setting a trap for their capture would just require that you place a set trap in areas where there is evidence of a mouse presence such as droppings, tracks and gnawing marks.

On the other hand, rats are medium to large in size. Their size can range from 12 to 18 inches (30 to 40 centimeters). Rats are white, gray, brown, reddish brown or black in color. They tend to leave smudge marks on touched surfaces due to their body oil, urine and feces. Their snout is blunter, their tails are long, hairless and scaly.  Their eyes are smaller and beady. They are also more cautious than a mouse. Rats tend to avoid anything new in their path until they get used to them being there. Therefore, when setting a trap for a rat, you would need to place unset traps in areas that show evidence of rat presence such as droppings, tracks, runways, gnawing marks and burrows. The unset traps should be placed in these areas for a couple of days. This will give the rat the opportunity to get used to seeing the trap there. After a few days, the trap can then be set for its capture.

 

Both rodents are nocturnal. Although, they have been spotted during daylight hours searching for food, water and refuge.