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From the color of the leaves, to the length of the days, everything changes in fall. All of nature is preparing for the winter to come, and the animal kingdom is no exception. As you’ve probably noticed, Midwestern wildlife begins behaving differently when the leaves begin to fall. Specifically, they’re getting busy. It makes sense when you think about it. Whatever you think you have to do to get ready for winter, it’s nothing compared to an animal’s schedule. Whether they’re fattening themselves up, looking for a place to keep warm, or storing away food, the wildlife around your home is getting active. If you want to keep them from becoming a nuisance around your home, you have to get active too. Here are four animals that make their presence known every fall, and how you can prepare for them.


little brown batWhen the temperature falls below 45℉, bats know it’s time to roost for the winter. Some species of bats migrate like birds when temperatures get too cold. Unfortunately, however, other species survive by finding a warm place and hibernating from late October until spring. Hibernating bats need a specific kind of roost. It has to be dark, not too warm nor too cold, and hidden from predators.   Bats are opportunistic roosters, which means they look for places that are easy to access. If they’re in your home, they’re probably roosting in your attic or chimney. It’s also possible they’ve camped out in a large, unfinished basement. Make sure your attic is well-sealed and the insulation hasn’t worn down. Put wire screens over your chimney’s roof access. Seal up openings in roof tiles, framing, and weaterstripping. If you make it difficult for bats to enter your home, they’ll look for somewhere else to post up instead.


raccoonsAs fall turns into winter, raccoons have to eat a lot to store up energy and fat. They supplement their usual diet by getting creative. Usually, getting creative means finding their way into your trash. Raccoons are always in the market for some trash, but you’ll probably see them around more often in fall. Raccoons use their acute sense of smell to find edible trash. Preventing trash smell is the best way to keep raccoons away. Keep all your trash in a sealed plastic bags, especially if you throw out food remains. Rinse out all garbage cans and bins about once a month to prevent lingering odors. If you still have a problem, you could tie down your garbage lids. Consider spraying down your trash with ammonia to repel raccoons and cover up trash smell. Finally, make sure stray litter isn’t falling out of your garbage onto your yard. Loose garbage is like a sampler for hungry raccoons, and they’ll definitely stick around for the main course.


squirrelWhen you think of “fattening up for the winter”, you think of squirrels. These furry little critters are everywhere in fall and early winter while they fatten themselves up. Squirrels are notorious for burying nuts to save for later, but they’ll eat just about anything they can. Plants, yard debris, birdseed, and garbage is all fair game. Their behavior is pretty cute, but it’s also a pain, especially if a hyperactive squirrel gets trapped in your garage!   Squirrels will find just about any food-like item you leave scattered on the ground. Make sure you keep seed bags sealed and high up on shelves, preferably in cabinets. If you have a tree in your yard, sweep up and dispose of the seeds and leaves it drops onto your lawn. Squirrels love birdfeeders almost as much as birds hate squirrels. They’ll perform all sorts of acrobatic maneuvers to knock birdseed down for themselves. Take down your birdfeeder in fall, and make sure you didn’t leave any seed out accidentally.


chipmunkChipmunks behave a lot like squirrels, with one major (and vexing) difference: they’re burrowers. Squirrels bury seeds to save for later; chipmunks bury themselves, sometimes in holes as deep as three feet. Fall is the perfect digging season for chipmunks, because it’s not too warm but the ground isn’t frozen. They build these burrows near places where they can get food quickly and reliably. If you’re not careful, that could be your yard! Chipmunks eat the same varieties of foods that squirrels do. They love seeds, nuts, berries, small plants, plant bulbs, grubs, and roots. Foraging chipmunks spend their days repeatedly finding food and dragging it back to their burrows to save for the long winter. The easier the food is to access, the more they can stockpile. Keeping chipmunks out of your yard means making sure there’s no easily available food around for them to steal.   If you can’t seem to keep wildlife from using your home as their personal food warehouse, remember that you can give Plunkett’s a call anytime. Our wildlife management experts have the tools and knowhow to help you remove any wildlife from your property safely, quickly, and permanently. Enjoy the rest of your fall in peace!

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