Fox Squirrel Tracks



Some light snow allowed me to take some photos of some tracks of a fox squirrel. Note how the photo is in focus and a standard size object is in the photo to show scale. When you take photos for diagnostic purposes, they should have the same quality as this one. 

Stephen M. Vantassel, 

Shutgun Sprinkler Device

Shutgun sprinkler device is used to shut off sprinklers that are accidentally fired.

Shutgun sprinkler device to shut off fired sprinklers. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.
Shutgun sprinkler device to shut off fired sprinklers. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

Pest controllers performing heat treatments for bed bugs should definitely consider this device. Wildlife control operators concerned about fired sprinklers may want to consider adding this device to their tool kit as well. I suspect that using it once, will make the price of the tool worth it. It’s a tool that can fit into your tool box and save you a great deal of money in water damage.

 About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Operator (CWCP®) who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. He has written the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition. Reach him at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.

Copyright

All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.

Lifts & Lawns

Lifts & Lawns

Tracks from a lift that damaged the turf. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.
Tracks from a lift that damaged the turf. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

Wildlife control operators (WCO) use lifts to access high points for exclusion and wildlife control work. Lifts are an important tool and can greatly speed up work and enhance worker safety.

But before you drive one on your client’ s property, make sure you warn him/her about the potential damage to their turf and sidewalks. Otherwise, any advantages you may gain from the lift may be lost with an angry client.

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Operator (CWCP®) who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. He has written the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition. Reach him at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.

Copyright

All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.

Challenges of Track ID

Challenges of Track ID

Coyote track. A U.S. quarter is shown. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.
Coyote track. A U.S. quarter is shown. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

In my job, I get requests to identify a track. To me, it’s an enjoyable task but also a challenging one. A key reason is people rarely take good photos. Here are a few things to keep in mind when taking photos of tracks that you want identified.

  1. Keep the track between you and the sun.
  2. Take photos at the maximum resolution
  3. Make sure the image is in focus. Zoom in on your shots to ensure they are still crisp at full size.
  4. Include a ruler or  a standard size object in the photo to show the size of the track.

Follow these tips and you will increase the likelihood of having your track identified.

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a free-lance writer that specializes in wildlife damage management. His books are available at Lulu.com.

 

Garage Doors & Mice

Garage doors often have rubber edges that mice can damage. A new product is available that may help homeowners with this problem. It is easy to use.  Metal strips simply fasten over rubber edges (used to improve the insulation seal of the door) to prevent gnaw damage by mice.

Garage Door Rodent Guard. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.
Garage Door Rodent Guard may help prevent rodent entry into your building through the garage door. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

I am not endorsing the product. Just letting people know about it. I would welcome hearing your comments.

Stephen M. Vantassel does research, advocacy, training, and consultation related to wildlife damage issues.

wildlifecontrolconsultant(at)gmail(dot)com

 

Histoplasmosis and Hot Dry Attics

Histoplasmosis and Hot Dry Attics

Bat guano can carry the fungus that causes histoplasmosis even in hot dry attics. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.
Bat guano can carry the fungus that causes histoplasmosis even in hot dry attics. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by a fungus that resides in bat droppings and areas contaminated by bird excrement. The fungus usually grows in moist nutrient environments. So the question is does the fungus survive in bat guano in hot dry attics? Well according to Bartlett et al. (1982) the answer is simply, “Yes.” Attics, even hot dry attics, with active bat infestations can cause people exposed to the droppings/fungal spores to contract histoplasmosis.

Source:

Bartlett, P. C., Vonbehren, L. A., Tewari, R. P., Martin, R. J., Eagleton, L., Isaac, M. J., & Kulkarni, P. S. (1982). Bats in the Belfry: An Outbreak of Histoplasmosis. American Journal of Public Health, 72(12), 1369-1372 available at http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/pdf/10.2105/AJPH.72.12.1369

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Operator (CWCP®) who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. He has written the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition. Reach him at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.

Copyright

All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.

Understanding Average Wildlife Populations

Understanding Average Wildlife Populations

A wildlife control operator (WCO) complained that all the experts said that there were on average only 8 pocket gophers per acre. Yet he had trapped 12 on a ¼ acre. His question is

Pocket gopher mounds. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel
Pocket gopher mounds. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel

understandable. But it shows a misapprehension of population density averages.

  1. Average is just an average. This means that your plot of land can have more or less than the average (often depending on the quality of habitat).
  2. Check the calendar. In general, wildlife populations are higher in the spring (due to young) and lower in the winter (due to deaths due to winter/predation/hunger).
  3. Wildlife move. Wildlife are always looking for a better place to live. If you remove pocket gophers from an area, pocket gophers from the surrounding property will readjust their home range and move into the newly vacated property.

Keep these 3 points in mind and you will have a better understanding of average wildlife populations.

 About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Operator (CWCP®) who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. He has written the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition. Reach him at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.

Copyright

All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.

Obtain Repair Release

Obtain Repair Release

When I owned Wildlife Removal Service, Inc., I was hired to remove a squirrel from a basement. It was a relatively routine job. I placed a trap in the room where the squirrel was. To protect the carpet, I laid down several layers of newspaper underneath the trap. I removed the squirrel, got paid, and thought the job was over.

Then I got a call. The client said the squirrel damaged the carpet. Sure enough it did. Fortunately, they didn’t want the carpet replaced, they just wanted it cleaned. I spoke with my insurance company and they told me that I could pay the cleaning bill but I should obtain a repair release. The point was that if I paid the bill, having the release, would mean that the client stated he was satisfied, and therefore couldn’t allege more damage.

So don’t forget, if you repair something, be sure to obtain repair release.

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Operator (CWCP®) who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. He has written the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition. Reach him at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.

Copyright

All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.

Bats, Sound, & Rabies

Bats, Sound, & Rabies

Research by Denny Constantine (d. 2014) found that there is a relationship between bats, sound, & rabies. In other words, Constantine believed that rabid bats are attracted to noise.

Rabies virus. CDC/ Dr. Fred. A. Murphy
Rabies virus. CDC/ Dr. Fred. A. Murphy

He found that rabid bats appeared to attack humans that were associated with or emitting loud noise. In one study, Constantine used harp traps. Some were set with noise makers and others were silent. The noisy traps caught rabid bats while the silent one’s did not.

The attraction of rabid bats to noise may explain why people who were sleeping in rooms with bats contracted rabies. Perhaps the individuals were snoring or were making noise through their breathing.

Ultimately, more research is needed. But if Constantine’s findings prove out, a trap methodology could be developed to capture bats that are sick and thereby protect other bats and wildlife species from contracting rabies. (Source Combating the Rage by David A. Jessup. The Wildlife Professional Fall 2014: 8:3:38-42.

 About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Operator (CWCP®) who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. He has written the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition. Reach him at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.

Copyright

All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.

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Add a Signature

Wildlife control operators (WCOs) have trouble with marketing. Though more people are beginning to distinguish WCOs from their insect-killing cousins (Pest Control Operators), the fact is WCOs remain in the shadow of the larger pest control industry.

Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC Logo
Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC Logo

In light of those challenges, one would think that WCOs would be looking to take advantage of every opportunity to market their services. But in my experience, they don’t. One of the least expensive ways to market  a business that WCOs don’t use is the e-mail signature.

Signatures are standard blocks of text that are placed by the e-mail program at the bottom of every e-mail prior to being sent. Once you set one up, the text is automatically placed. Failure to add a signature results in a lost opportunity to let people know what you do and how to contact you. So why not add a signature to your e-mail account so that when you write future e-mails you don’t loose the marketing opportunity it provides.

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Operator (CWCP®) who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. He has written the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition. Reach him at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.

Copyright

All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.