Thursday, May 9, 2013

Omigod, It Must be Rabid

Another refresher course from a previous post. We've already been doing squirrel and raccoon babies. Skunks are starting to give birth just about now.

Spring is a few months away, and that will mean animal babies all over the neighborhood. Baby birds with their mouths wide open in nests, waiting to be fed. Pollywogs swimming in vernal ponds. Baby raccoons, skunks, foxes, possums, etc. living huddled together in hollow logs and trees, in old stone walls, under sheds, decks, and raccoons in chimneys. They could be at your house. You're sitting at your kitchen table late one morning in late May, drinking coffee, and watching the new leaves on the trees and the new green grass filling in after the winter. Suddenly you see it! An adult raccoon is walking across your back lawn, It's daylight, and they're nocturnal. They aren't supposed to be out in daylight. Something must be wrong. It must be sick. Could it be rabid? Relax. You're right, they shouldn't be out during daylight, and normally aren't, but out back is that old dead tree with the hollowed out area near the top. You've been planning on having it taken down, but haven't gotten around to it. Well, inside that tree are four baby raccoons about four weeks old and they are hungry and getting hungrier every day. The days are getting longer, the nights shorter, and the babies need to be fed, so the mother is forced to stay out during some daylight in order to get enough food for her kids. A normally nocturnal animal, seen outside in daylight during April, May, June, and into July is not a major cause for concern, as long as they appear to be acting normally. It's that kids will be kids and they need a constant supply of food. Always use caution around wild animals, but in this case, enjoy watching something you normally don't see.


        I posted this a couple of years ago, but I figured with warm weather approaching, it is time for a refresher course.

        Snakes - Oh, the horror! I guess it all goes back to Adam & Eve and the infamous serpent. Snakes are not slimy, in fact they feel quite dry to the touch. I can see some people shivering out there already. We are probably one the few pest control companies out there that advertise that we "do" snakes. What do we "do" with snakes? Well, let's give you a little background first. I get calls for snakes, and nine times out of ten they are "copperheads". No, not really, but that's what the customer thinks. After all they don't have a rattle on the end of their tail, so they can't be rattlesnakes and after all, if it's a snake, it must be poisonous, right? Wrong! I've hunted, fished, and trapped my entire life and I have never seen either a Copperhead or Timber rattlesnake, the only poisonous snakes in Connecticut and which are very uncommon and rarely seen. Most snakes seen around homes in residential areas are Garter snakes (not Garden or Gardener snakes), milk snakes, ring neck snakes, northern water snakes (not water moccasins) or smooth green snakes. All are non-poisonous and totally harmless. Although they may appear aggressive, especially if they think they are cornered, they will not attack or chase you. Like any animal they just want to left alone to go about their business. They are very beneficial and good to have around. They feed on insects and rodents. How do we handle snake calls? If the snake was seen outside, not much can or has to be done. Occasionally, a snake will be found in a basement. These are usually ring neck snakes (a very large one might be a foot long), or milk snakes. The others are not usually found inside. There are 14 species of snakes native to Connecticut. I have listed the more common ones. Others can be found on our website, ( So, basically, in most cases not much is done with snakes, because of the "nature of the beast", so to speak. When we do capture a snake it is released my backyard. I like having them around.