The most common problems we find in the maryland area are raccoons, skunks, groundhogs, fox, squirrels, bats, opossums, snakes, rodents, etc. Mainly these are not a threat to us but a nuisance and yes rabies can be an issue with some of these animals.
Amongst the Wildlife we also have commensal rodents who live in our homes and properties as well and you may or may not have noticed them. A few of our uninvited guests are the common House mouse, the Deer mouse, Roof rats, Norway rats and Voles.
One of the top rabies carriers
Raccoons are distinguished by the following characteristics:
Markings such as a black bandit like mask across the eyes and a bushy ringed tail; they are an agouti in color which is a salt and pepper gray/black. Raccoons are nocturnal. Raccoons are omnivorous, and will eat almost anything including small mammals and birds. They whimper, whine, squeal and even hiss. They are very good climbers. Adult Raccoons are 2-3 ft in length and their weight can be anywhere from 10-30lbs with a few weighing in at more than 40-50lbs. Raccoons mate once each year between December and June but usually within February and March. The gestation period is approximately 63 days and they typically have 1-4 young in which the mother weans at about 2-4 months old.
One of the top rabies carriers
Skunks are members of the Weasel family. They are nocturnal and in the North they sleep during most of the winter. Skunks are omnivorous and primarily feast on insects and small mammals but they also eat berries, fruits and grasses. They will make their den in many places including rock piles, woodpiles hollow stumps and under small buildings/sheds. There are 4 different species in the U.S. The 2 most common are the striped skunk and the spotted skunk, both found in Maryland. The striped skunk is approximately 29 inches long and weighs in at about 8lbs., the spotted skunk is smaller in size, approximately 21inches in length and weighing in around 2 and half lbs. Both of these species breed once a year, usually in February. The gestation period for these gals is about 7-10 weeks. Babies are usually born May through June and she has about 4-6 but they have been known to have up to 16. We do get sprayed!! So let us remove them for you.
These guys are members of the Squirrel family; they are noted by their stocky furry build. There front feet have very long claws for digging holes and digging for food. They tend to be about 16-20 inches in length and have short furry tails that vary within 4-7 inches in length. They breed in March and April and have a litter of 3-4. Her gestation period is approximately 32 days. The young are weaned at around 60 days. At this time they will be seen coming out of their dens or holes. We at JB's Wildlife Removal Service get quite a few calls about these guys digging out from under front porches. They are humanely trapped and removed.
In the state of Maryland, there are two types of fox, the Gray Fox and the Red Fox. We service many calls about these guys hanging out in people's yards. Most times people are afraid of them, but for the most part they are harmless. This does not mean you should try to get near them, they are a wild animal and any mammal can have rabies, plus, it is in any animal’s nature to protect themselves if they feel threatened. They are curious and want our food. These guys are on the rabies list and are known to get mange. This is noted by hair loss of the tail and body. The Gray fox is a salt-pepper gray with rustic yellow on the sides of the neck, back of the ears, legs and feet. The tail is bushy with a black tip. These sly fellas vary in size, somewhere about 32-45 inches in length from nose to the tip of the tail and weigh between 7 and 15 lbs, they mate from around mid-January to early February and the gestation period is 51-53 days, and the pups are born from March through April and have 3-9 pups.
The most common Squirrel in the state of Maryland is the Gray Squirrel, but there are 4 species in the state. The other 3 are the Northern flying Squirrel, Southern flying Squirrel and the Western Maryland Pine Squirrel. There is also one other that is known on the eastern shore that is classified as endangered, this guy is the Delmarva Peninsula Fox squirrel. Squirrels are active during the daylight hours all year long. The gray squirrel is 16-20 inches long, they are mainly gray. Some have a reddish cast to their coat and, some are black in color. They weigh between 1.25 -1.75 lbs. The Northern and Southern squirrels are about 8-10 inches in length and 10-12 inches in length and weigh in at 1.25 - 2.75 ounces and 1.75-6.50 ounces. The Red Pine squirrel is about 10-15 inches in length and weigh in at 1/3- 2/3lbs.Gray Squirrels mate twice a year. December through January and again in June. The gestation period is 42-45 days, this is the squirrel we mainly see in our yards and yes we rid of them also, humanely...
There are roughly 40 species of bats in the U.S., The three main species of bats you see flying around are the little brown bat, the big brown bat and the evening bat. The wing span of the little brown bat is 9 - 10.6 inches; they are dark brown, shiny and have smooth fur. The big brown bats has a wing span of 12.8-13.8 inches and are a reddish brown copper color to a darker brown. The evening bat has a span of 10.2 -11inches and is a medium brown in color. These guys use a high frequency to detect food and obstacles; it’s really amazing if you think about it. They use audible sounds in order to communicate with each other. These bats mate in the fall and winter time, amazingly the female retains the sperm in her uterus and does not fertilize until spring time that is quite something. The young are born from May through July and start flying around 3 weeks of age and are weaned July through August. The little brown bat has usually one pup but can have two. The big brown bat has two pups and so does the evening bat. JB's Wildlife Removal performs bat exclusions. This cannot be done until Sept 1, it’s the law. If you have one or two that flew in your house, we can get them out and release them at anytime. Colonies cannot be excluded until Sept 1 unless a permit is obtained from Maryland’s Dept of Natural Resources, you can contact them for further information on bats or go to their website.
Amazingly designed creatures, these are the only marsupials, (mammals with a pouch to carry their young), YES like a Kangaroo...Wild isn't it?? They are nocturnal and omnivorous. They are a scavenger like creature, but often seen eating road kill. They have no objections to getting in the trash and feasting. Opossums are about 40 inches long this includes their rat like tail which is just about half the size of their body; they have about 50 teeth in their mouth. They have rounded hairless ears and are grayish-white in color, on average; they are about 4-7 lbs in weight. The mating in these mammals happens January through July and average no more than two litters a year. They generally have 7 young per litter. The gestation period is only 13 days, yes 13 days...when they are born; they remain in the mothers pouch for a 7-8 week period and then are weaned .We trap many of these amazing creatures per year. Usually because they are a nuisance to the homeowner. They are known for getting into garbage and the odd time in an attic or under a deck or shed.
We will happily remove snakes. The most common snake call we receive is for the Black Snake. They are found in attics basements, garages, etc. These snakes are not venomous. They can be as big as 6 feet in length. There are only two venomous snakes in the state of Maryland, the Timber Rattler and the Copperhead. The Timber Rattler is pretty rare but not unheard of. Copperheads tend to have more chance contact with humans.
A mouse will eat almost anything, but prefer cereal grains, seeds, or sweet material. They require very little water, obtaining most of their water needs from their food. Mice can consume large quantities of stored seed and grains from farmers and granaries.
House Mouse Habits and Biology:
If there are good living conditions(food, water, and shelter),they can multiply rapidly. They sexually mature in two months, producing about 8 litters in a one year life time. Each litter has 4-7 pups.
A house mice in a city environment may spend it's entire life in buildings. In rural and suburban settings, it may not only live inside, but be found outside near foundations, in the shrubbery, weeds, crawl spaces, basements, or in garages.
They survive well on weeds, seeds, or insects, but when their food supply is shortened by the colder months they move inside nesting closer to a food supply. They make their nest from soft material like paper, insulation, or furniture stuffing. These nest are found in many places including: in walls, ceiling voids, storage boxes, drawers, under major appliances, or within the upholstery of furniture. Outside the nests are found in debris or in ground burrows.
House mice have a characteristic musky odor that identifies their presence.
Mice while being "nibblers" eating many times at different places, they do have two main meal times...just before dawn and at dusk...they simply "snack" at other times at intervals or every 1-2 hours. They can eat about 10 to 15% of their body weight every day, the adults weighing about 5/8-1 oz. Mice also cache food as supply permits. They get much of there water from food products.
Mice are active mostly at night, but they can be seen occasionally during daylight hours.
A house mouse is an excellent climber and can run up any rough vertical surface. It will run horizontally along wire cables or ropes and can jump up 13 inches from the floor onto a flat surface.
Deer Mouse-White Footed Mouse
In Comparison to the house mouse, the Deer mouse/White footed mouse has larger eyes and ears and have a white belly, the are sometimes mistaken for squirrels scratching in the attic/walls due to there size is a little larger than the common house mouse .These mice are mainly seen eaters, feeding on seeds, nuts, acorns etc. You may see acorns in your attic and automatically think it is a squirrel but you may be wrong.They also will consume insects, fruits, fungi and green vegetation.They often will store there food near there nesting site.
The reproduction period may occur year round but usually there is a period in the summer where they do not.They will come into heat every 5 days until they are impregnated.The gestation period is approximate. 21-23 days but can be as long as 37 days in nursing females.The litter is can be 1-8 but on average is 3-5.The young are weaned when the are about 2-3 weeks old and become sexually mature at 8 weeks of age.The females have 2-4 litters per yr depending on the climate, the young born in Spring and Summer can breed that same yr.
The mates usually remain together during the breeding season but but may take new mates in the spring if both survive the winter months, the do not hibernate but will become inactive on those really cold days during the winter months.
The Roof Rat also known as the black rat or ship rat are very common is the U.S., the were known to come to the U.S. off the ships that arrived in the states yrs ago from other parts of the world.The Roof rat commonly nest above ground, in trees, attics,or along fence lines in debris. These rats tend to enter the roofs of residential and commercial buildings from power lines, phones lines, cabling of some sort .These rats like to be at a higher elevation compared to the Norway rat, where they like the lower spaces, such as the ground, 1st floors of buildings etc.The Roof rat like to be above the 2nd floor and higher where they will settle in a breed and quickly infest buildings.
The food that these guys eat are alot like the squirrel, which are nuts, fruits, vegetables, berries and seeds.They are omnivorous and will eat just about anything the find.They do require water daily although the foods they eat may carry enough water. The will travel 100-150 ft for food and water and seldom travel 300 ft from their burrow.The young are born 21-23 days, just like the deer mouse-white footed mouse, they have 5-8 young and have 3 litters per yr.The young will nurse for about 4-5 weeks and at 3 months reach maturity and will be ready to mate.
The Norway Rat
The Norway Rat also came off the ships from Europe and have a few different names such as the house rat,sewer rat,gray rat,barn rat,brown rat,or wharf rat, these guys weigh an average of one pound as the roof rat is half that and they are about 25% longer.The fur is very dense and usually a brownish or reddish gray and a whitish gray on the belly.They say the Norway rat came here in 1775 and is now spread all over the 48 states.The Norway rat are found more often living with people since they do like the lower elevations but do not have a problem living in attics, basements, under buildings, porches, crawl spaces etc.This rat will eat almost anything, they will eat cereal grains,fish,meats,nuts, pet foods, and some fruit. Rats do require 1/2 to 1 oz of water daily when eating dry foods but as the Roof rat, their diet may contain enough moisture to help them over.
These rats are primarily Nocturnal, they will come active at dusk and seek food and water.Some are out in the day time if the population is real high.The females will come into heat every 4-5 days until impregnated will mate a day or 2 after a litter has been born .Breeding takes place in Spring and fall and have about 6-12 young, the young are weaned about 3 weeks and become independent at 3-4 weeks and are sexually active at 3 months.
Voles, also called meadow mice or field mice, they have compact short stocky bodies, short legs and short tails, their eyes are very small and their ears are partially hidden, very small. Voles are usually brown or gray in colour and have a very dense coat with longer guard hairs.They are 23 different Vole species in the U.S. but the we are about to mention are found mainly on the eastern seaboard.
The meadow vole--Its is about 5 1/2-7 1/2 inches long. it's Fur is gray to yellow brown,obscured by black tip hairs, its under side is gray to buff in colour.
Pine/woodland vole--is smaller and is about 4-6 inches in length and has a soft dense brown fur, with light gray to a cinnamon underside and the tail is barely bi-coloured or uncoloured.
These voles eat a variety of plants, mostly grasses and herbs.In the late summer early fall they store seeds,bulbs etc, they also eat bark off trees if their populations are high. These voles are active all yr round day and night, the home range is usually 1/4 acre or less .Voles breed throughout the year but mainly spring and summer, they will have 1-5 litters per year and ranges 3-6 per litter but have been known to have up to 11. The gestation period is about 21 days and the young are weaned about the same at 21 days and the females mature in just 35-40 days. Voles life spans are very short, ranging form 2-16 months.
A squirrels nest is sometimes hard to see, but the babies are in there! Have us get the baby squirrels out, this is not fun!
This is the same nest after it is uncovered, we recovered two young squirrels. The mother squirrel trapped after one day and the babies found.
DID YOU KNOW?
Wild animals accounted for 92% of reported cases of rabies in 2006. Raccoons continued to be the most frequently reported rabid wildlife species (37.7% of all animal cases during 2006), followed by bats (24.4%), skunks (21.5%), foxes (6.2%), and other wild animals, including rodents and lagomorphs (0.6%). Reported cases increased among all wild animals during 2006.
Rabies Facts from the Center of Disease Control
Any mammal can get rabies. The most common wild reservoirs of rabies are raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes, and coyotes. Domestic mammals can also get rabies. Cats, cattle, and dogs are the most frequently reported rabid domestic animals in the United States.
Bats are mammals and are susceptible to rabies, but most do not have the disease. You cannot tell if a bat has rabies just by looking at it; rabies can be confirmed only by having the animal tested in a laboratory. To minimize the risk for rabies, it is best never to handle any bat.
JB's Wildlife Removal Service also provides full services in rodent treatment. We provide service for mice, moles, voles, rats etc, residential and commercially for all homes and businesses. Call us any time for consultation. (240-793-0316), you will never get a recording saying “The office is now closed”, you will get a live person every time unless we are on the other line or wrestling some wildlife, of course humanely!! If you get a voice mail, you will be called back immediately as soon as were free of other calls.
John Byl and Family
A rat living under a concrete slab of a residential home.
We recovered this skunk from a garden shed.
He is just hanging out to get back in the chimney, this is why we install chimney caps!