Is There a Bat in the Bedroom or a Rat in the Pool?
August 19, 2019
Ray Hartley, owner of Intrepid Wildlife Services in Westchester County, N.Y., uses the company tagline “Your castle shouldn’t be a zoo.”
Hartley recently recounted to The Wall Street Journal the many calls he receives from homeowners about animal invaders, from squirrels and skunks in pools to bats in the bedroom. “We can deal with pesky seagulls on the beach,” Hartley told the Journal. “But when it comes to raccoons in our chimney, chipmunks in our yard, and bats in our bedroom, we human beings are helpless—especially in this era of 'Uber-Insta-On-Demand' everything. Why would we handle a snake in our garage when we don’t even hand-select our own groceries?”
More professional “critter gitters,” as the Journal referred to them, are emerging to remove wildlife from homes. “The industry has grown exponentially,” says Mike Tucker, who runs a business in Minneapolis to remove household pests. “It’s urbanization. We’ve made it more hospitable for animals. Sleeping under a porch is cozier than sleeping under a rock. We put out our bird feeders. We house them, we feed them, and then we complain about them.”
As developers target uninhabited areas for building, humans and wildlife are having more interactions. “People are used to having a pool guy and a landscape guy. Now they need a raccoon guy,” Tucker told the Journal.
These pest removal companies don’t just remove critters but also seal up entry points and install devices, such as chimney caps, to help prevent animal invasions. Hartley says that recently, he has been fielding a lot of calls about woodchucks, which are known for tearing up lawns and damaging foundations. Squirrel complaints have been a growing part of his business, too.
Hartley says he gets up to 300 calls per month for animal removal. In the winter, calls commonly regard skunks; in the spring, it’s often about squirrels; in summer, it’s about bats; and in the fall, raccoons.
“Taming the Beast in Your Basement,” The Wall Street Journal (Aug. 14, 2019) [Log-in required.]
Updated: September 20, 2019