How to remove a wild animal inside your house

Nuisance wildlife often want to live inside a home, but it’s an entirely different scenario when an animal accidently gets inside and simply can’t get out. These animals are usually terrified, and because they are terrified, they can behave in unpredictable ways. Homeowners tend to panic in these situations as well, but by remaining calm and remembering some important rules, these scenarios can have a happy ending.

There are many tried-and-true methods to remove a wild animal inside your home, but every method has its risks and potential downfalls. Most people immediately try to contain the animal, and this is fine; just make sure the animal isn’t one that can strike at you from a distance. Snakes in the home, for example, should not be approached casually. A venomous snake can strike out several feet from where it is laying. The same goes for larger animals; never underestimate how fast a wild animal can move if it feels threatened.

What kinds of animals will try to live inside my house?

There are two kinds of animals that may accidentally get inside your home: those that can fly, and those that cannot fly. If a bird or a bat enters your home, your best bet is to close the animal in a single room. Open all the windows and the turn off the lights. You want the area to be as dark and quiet as possible to allow the bat or bird time to calm down, gain their bearings, and find the opening to outside. Trying to actively shoo the creature out the window or door to the outside often just results in a panicked animal, and some birds will stress themselves out so much they actually die.

Animals that don’t fly must be handled in a different manner, and each method varies based on the wild animal inside your house. A porcupine that comes in through the pet door after cat food can often be gently pushed with a broom or a large bin back outside. These animals are fairly docile as long as humans approach calmly, and despite common assumption, they can’t actually “shoot” their quills at you.

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What’s the best way to handle a wild animal inside my house?

Smaller animals (chipmunks, squirrels, etc) may allow you to toss a large blanket over them for removal; remember, the larger the blanket the better. The blanket provides a barrier between you and the animal, and most wild animal teeth can make it through a thin bed sheet. Grab a comforter or a quilt, and make sure it is big enough to wrap the animal up securely while you cart it outside.

Other animals won’t be as peaceful as a porcupine or small enough to handle safely like a squirrel. Skunks, woodchucks, and other large animals can become aggressive, and they can corner themselves under furniture or behind cabinets. These animals should be handled with caution by a professional only, who can use a snare pole to keep the wild animal at a distance while removing it.

If hiring a professional just isn’t possible for you, you can attempt to live trap the animal. This means ushering the invader into a room you don’t need to use for a while and then setting up a live trap with a little bit of bait. It may take hours for the animal to become calm enough to leave the area it is hiding in, but it will eventually become hungry. Leave it in the room and don’t check in too often; the more you disturb it, the longer it will take to come out of hiding.

If a wild animal inside your home has scared you or made you nervous, do not try to deal with that animal on your own. Fear and panicked reactions are how people and animals get hurt; it is better to call a professional and let them calmly handle the situation with the appropriate tools for the job. If you feel the need to do something in the meantime, find a way to contain the animal in a single area until the wildlife professional arrives.

It is important to know some animals pose a potential health risk when inside the home. Snakes may be venomous, and wild mammals may be carrying rabies. This is one of the major concerns with bats, but those at risk as primarily house pets rather than humans. Bats can be enticing play-things for cats and dogs, so be sure to keep house pets locked away from a wild animal inside the home. If your dog or cat is exposed to a bat or has an altercation with another animals, take them to the veterinary office immediately for post-exposure treatment.

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