Critters in the House!
Northern Virginia has its share of critters. On a wooded lot you might see fox, deer, rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks. There are also toads, snakes, and the occasional lizard. Look up in the trees or put out a bird feeder and you will see a wide variety of birds. We have spotted hawks, owls, several types of woodpeckers and many others.
We love to see the critters but living with them and sharing your house and yard can be tricky at times. Today we had a chipmunk sneak into the house while the door was open for the dog to come back in. Yes, we should have closed the door but any of you with a dog knows how many times a day you let them in and out and sometimes it is just easier to leave the door open for a bit. So, the cat is asleep someplace, while the dog is chasing the chipmunk around. I have left the door open in the hopes he will return to the great outdoors.
We have also had birds fly in an open window. Our windows have screens at the bottom but sometimes we open the top for some reason. Usually with some coaxing (someone gently using a broom to guide them) a bird will fly back out the window.
My least favorite is when we get a snake in the basement. Our first summer in the house we had about one a week until we figured out where all the holes in the brick were. We plugged holes as we went and have been mostly snake free. The other day during a downpour I check the outside drain at the bottom of the stairs. I opened the door and on my hands and knees leaned out and cleaned out the drain. As I completed this I looked down to see a little snake lying next to the door jamb. I think we will be getting something to put at the bottom of that door to eliminate future visitors.
A couple of preventative measures can help to keep the outdoor creatures out. Obviously, you need to keep the windows and doors closed or screened. Check the garage, basement and attic for holes that can allow animals in. Mice can get in an opening as small as ¼” across. Keep plants and debris away from the house so that creatures aren’t attracted to live there. Call in a pest company to do an inspection. Most will make recommendations that you can do yourself or have them complete for you. For more information, visit http://www.familyhandyman.com/pest-control/11-strategies-for-do-it-yourself-pest-control#3
Good news, the chipmunk is safely back outside to continue digging up my flower beds.