Outdoor Home Improvements to Keep Animals out
For many homeowners, spring cleaning season is also home improvement season. Chores that have been put off since winter are now past due, so it’s high time to take on some tasks that will improve the functionality and safety of your home. And because spring is also a time of year when wild animals are particularly active and restless, our efforts should include measures to keep pest animals from entering our homes and causing trouble. Here are some ideas to put on your “To-Do” list:
Look for Holes and Cracks
First things first: inspect the outside of your home closely, especially near the foundation and on the roof, to see if there are any potential points of entry for a small animal. Cracks and holes should be considered “weak spots” and repaired as soon as possible. And if you think that you should only focus on larger holes and can safely ignore tiny gaps, think again: rats are capable of squeezing their bodies through openings that are only half an inch wide, and mice have been known to wriggle through openings only a quarter of an inch wide! Chances are, if a hole is big enough for you to notice it, then it needs to be filled in.
Keeping your yard free of debris and clutter does have a purpose beyond making it look nice and/or keeping your homeowners’ association off your back. Natural detritus, like leaf piles, fallen tree branches, and large rocks can often serve as shelter for animals; if a wild animal feels sheltered or protected, then it’s more likely to stick around, whether their new “landlord” likes it or not! Combat this by taking away potential hiding spots for small and medium-sized animals. You don’t need to remove absolutely everything from your yard (and you probably wouldn’t want to, anyway), but clearing away any unnecessary messes or piles will do wonders for repelling animals.
Fortify Your Trashcan
Depending on where you live, you may have a standard, city-issued garbage can, or you may have a trash receptacle that you’ve gone out and purchased yourself. Either way, take a moment to look at your trash can and verify that it’s still in decent shape. If a tiny nudge is all it takes to knock the lid off, or small holes have already been worn/chewed into its bottom, then it is probably time to get the can replaced. There’s nothing quite like human garbage (especially food remnants) to attract wild animals, and an unsecured, easy-to-access garbage can is essentially a buffet for pests. Animals that get into your trash may wind up inviting themselves into your garage or walls. Don’t give them the opportunity!
Consider your Chimney Cap
If your home doesn’t have any kind of chimney cap, or it has one that is damaged and therefore ineffective, we strongly recommend that you get a new one installed as soon as possible. A chimney cap can easily be your best defense against pest animals; this structure will prevent birds and other creatures from climbing into the chimney and either using it to get into your house or simply “setting up shop” within its walls. It will also prevent animals from getting stuck and dying inside the chimney, which is an extremely unpleasant situation for everyone involved.
Any kind of pest animal infestation can be a major pain to deal with because even tiny animals can cause big problems inside human homes. While it’s definitely possible to get rid of these critters once they move in, it’s far better to be proactive and keep them from entering your house in the first place. Springtime means out with the old and in with the new, so start out by refusing to host pest animals from here on out!
Today’s guest writer: Lucille Fernadez