Educating our customers is just as important as solving their problems. Below is a list of the top five animals that most commonly seek shelter in homes in Central Alabama and West Georgia.
There are three species of squirrels in Alabama, including the Eastern Grey Squirrel, Fox Squirrel and Southern Flying squirrel. All three species can have up to two litters per year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The Eastern Grey Squirrel can be found in most habitat types in Alabama. The Southern Flying Squirrel is nocturnal, which means they are active at night, unlike its close relatives, the Grey and Fox Squirrels, which are active during the day.
A raccoon is a medium-sized mammal that is known for its cute but troublesome behavior. It can be seen at night in parks, neighborhoods, yards or areas where food has been left out. It is a very adaptable animal and can have up to two litters per year. They are omnivorous and feed on many different types of food, and they adapt well to urban environments. Raccoons can cause serious diseases like baylisascaris, leptospirosis, and rabies.
Currently, 47 species of bats live in the United States, and 16 species call Alabama home. These night flyers help keep insect populations down, eating up to 1,000 insects a night. These small mammals often make their way into attics to roost during the day by squeezing through gaps around the roof. Bats can cause serious diseases and may carry more than 60 human-infecting viruses, which can be harmful. Common diseases spread by bats are rabies, histoplasmosis, and White Nose Syndrome.
The common rat, also known as the Norway rat, has traveled around the world. It originated in central Asia, and then it spread overland and aboard ships to Europe between the 16th and 18th centuries. The common rat was then presented to America around 1776 in boxes of grain from Europe. Its population quickly spread across North America. The House Mouse is also a common unwanted visitor to your home. Hantavirus, Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus, Plague, Salmonella, and Rat Bite Fever are common diseases that are spread by rats.
Did you know Alabama is home to more than 40 different species of snakes? Alabama is home to six venomous snakes, including the Eastern Coral Snake, Cottonmouth, Copperhead, Timber Rattlesnake, Eastern Diamondback, and Pygmy Rattlesnake - the Eastern Coral Snake packs the most potent venom of all. You will see snakes of different kinds everywhere from the Gulf Coast to the mountains in North Alabama. They range in size from the thickness of a pencil lead to lengths approaching eight feet. Snakes can be dangerous to people and venomous snakes pose a threat, as their venom is deadly if the person or pet doesn’t get immediate medical help after a snake bite.
In the last 100 years, the Nine-banded Armadillo's population has greatly expanded northward. In the mid-1800s, it was found only as far north as southern Texas; by the 1970s, it lived in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee; now they are also on the East Coast. Armadillos are typically active at night or twilight. They shuffle along slowly, using their sense of smell to find food - insects and sometimes worms, eggs, amphibians, snails and berries. They root and dig with their nose and powerful forefeet to unearth insects or build a burrow. Armadillos carry bacteria that cause leprosy, which is chronic disease that damages nerve system.
Beavers are found throughout North America, with the exception of California and Nevada deserts and parts of Utah and Arizona. They live in ponds, lakes, rivers, marshes, streams, and adjacent wetland areas. Beavers are one of the few animals that modify their habitat; they build watertight dams of sticks woven with reeds, branches and saplings, which are caulked with mud. Dams reduce stream erosion by forming slow-moving ponds. These ponds serve as habitat for a wide range of small aquatic life and also provide water and food for much larger animals. If a beaver is trapped or cornered, it will attack a human.
The Virginia opossum has a heavy body resembling a large house cat, a long head and pointed snout with long whiskers. They have long, tapered tails that appear scaly. Both northern and southern populations have white fur on their cheeks and face. Male opossum tend to be larger than females. Virginia opossum carry fatal diseases like tuberculosis, leptospirosis, tularemia, toxoplasmosis, trichomoniasis, relapsing fever, spotted fever, coccidiosis, and Chagas disease.
Non-migratory birds are birds that have been introduced to a habitat and live there year-round. The most common species include House Sparrows, European Starlings, Pigeons (Rock Doves) and Muscovy Ducks. These sometimes invasive species can cause issues such as nesting in dryer vents, nesting on building signage and causing unwanted droppings in front of homes and businesses.
Groundhogs are also known as woodchucks. They spend much of their life underground. These animals are notorious for digging holes, and their burrows can have passageways stretching 40 feet (12 meters) or more. These true hibernators will make their way underground in the coldest winter months and then reappear in the spring. Groundhogs have big front teeth that may give a person pause about approaching. They can come into a house through crawl spaces.