Do NOT Use Poison

Do not ever use poison. Warning: there are some disturbing images in this post that may not be suitable for some readers.

As the temperatures drop and winter gets nearer, critters make their way through holes into our homes. Please remember that they are just trying to survive and we have provided a fantastic habitat for them. Safe, warm, food aplenty. Don’t punish them for taking advantage of the opportunity, especially not with poison. It is a horrifying, painful and long death for them, believe us, we’ve seen it. Blood comes out of every place it can including eyes and ears, and they suffer from repeated seizures. If you could see first-hand what poison does, I guarantee it would haunt you for the rest of your days. Plus, poison is indiscriminate. It is designed to kill and kill it shall, no matter what it is. Your cat eats a mouse that’s been poisoned, now your cat has been poisoned.

Effects of poison on a baby Franklin's Ground Squirrel
This baby Franklin’s Ground Squirrel is bleeding from the eye sockets after having been poisoned along with its sibling and mother.

If you have unwanted house guests there are a number of things you can do to evacuate them without condemning them to a torturous death. First and foremost, do the responsible thing and patch the holes where they are coming in. It’s your house, it’s your responsibility. You cannot expect an animal NOT to take advantage of such a perfect den.

Second, it’s generally not a wise idea to live trap and relocate. Not only can they usually make their way back, but many animals are territorial and will not allow an intruder to stay in their area. Especially at this time of year when animals are searching for their winter dens, it can be a death sentence to move them to an area they are unfamiliar with, and far away from their food caches (and in the spring and early fall there are often babies to be accounted for. Relocating the parents yourself can result in orphans). To safely and humanely encourage animals to leave on their own, place a rag soaked with cider vinegar, lights, and a battery operated radio blasting a talk station in the area they have set up camp. They’ll get annoyed and go somewhere else, still within range of their food caches, within their own territory, and will take their young with them. After they have gone, be sure to seal up any entrances, no matter how small (you’d be surprised how small a raccoon, mouse or woodchuck can get when they really want to squeeze through) so they don’t come back.

For more resources and tips on evicting unwanted animals, visit the Humane Society’s website.