Window Well Covers Save Animal Lives

Window well cover to prevent wildlife entrapment. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

Window well cover to prevent wildlife entrapment. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

Many homeowners don’t realize but they are trapping. They are trapping because their homes have pit-traps that can capture unsuspecting wildlife. Those pit-traps are known as window wells.

A pit-trap like the name sounds is a hole that if an animal falls into it is too deep for it to climb out. They are an ancient form of trap and are still used by researchers today. Many may think, “Why can’t an animal see it and just avoid it?” Well, when animals are running along the wall of your home at night they likely don’t see it because they may be looking at something else (possible food) or running away from something else (danger) and then fall in.

Young skunks and even adult ones frequently fall into window wells. I have even found a dead fox in a window well. It fell in and couldn’t jump back out. Since the well was so far away from where the home’s main door, the homeowners never new he was there. The fox likely died a slow death.

Protect Wildlife From the Window Well Pit-Trap

Any window well deeper than 4 inches should be protected with a window well cover. It doesn’t have to be as fancy as the one in the photo at the right. It can be mesh (screen no larger than 1/2-inch) or even plywood. The point is that the pit-trap should be covered to prevent animal entrapment. Doing so is very inexpensive and can save the lives of animals (not to mention the potential odor of a trapped skunk.).

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is an author, lecturer, and expert witness on wildlife damage issues. His latest book is the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition. He can be reached by e-mail at stephenvantassel(at)hotmail(dot)com.