Skunks: are like the size of a cat and weigh up to 14 lbs. Males are solitary animals when not breeding, but females may shelter in dens with other skunks for warmth in colder habitats. They shelter during the day in their burrows and come out in the evening. In the winter, Skunks do not hibernate, instead they go through a bit of a dormant stage. They will remain in their dens for extended periods, generally inactive and feeding rarely. They have been known to use the same winter den consecutively. Skunks have an excellent sense of smell and hearing, but can only see objects less than 10ft away. They can live up to 7 years in the wild, but many don’t make it past a year. Females will have their babies in May and June and can have a litter of 4 to 7 babies. The baby Skunks will remain in their dens for eight weeks. Skunks have two glands, one on each side of the anus, for spraying anything that threatens them. They can spray up to 10ft with accuracy and are capable of spraying up to six times in a row. If they exhaust their spray sack, they require up to ten days to produce another supply.
Raccoons: a nocturnal mammal, primarily active at night. They enjoy their own company and are usually only seen in groups when it’s a mom with her young. Raccoon's eat fruits, berries, nuts, fish, frogs, insects, turtles, mice, rabbits, muskrats and bird eggs. The average lifespan of a Raccoon in the wild is about five years, but with a healthy food source and shelter, they can survive for more than 10 years. Raccoon's typically give birth to 3 or 4 offspring, called kits, between March and April and only have one litter a year. If the first litter does not survive, a second litter is possible late June. Newborns are blind and deaf for their first three weeks.
Possum (Opossum): The Virginia Opossum is found in Canada and is our only marsupial (babies born under developed, that continue to develop and suckle in their mother’s pouch). Very similar in behaviour and diet to Skunks and Raccoon's, they are also omnivorous and opportunistic feeders. They enjoy eating a variety of plants and animal matter, as well as foraging through garbage. Possums are also about the size of a house cat, with coarse, greyish fur, whitish faces, long pointed snouts and naked, round ears with beady eyes. Their tails are rat like and can grasp items. Since they have naked tails, ears and paws, they are susceptible to the cold and are prone to frostbite. They are mostly docile, aloof and rarely dangerous. They have been known to play dead when scared and can stay in that state for up to six hours, waiting out danger.
Possums generally breed from December to February and birth litters between February and June. Usually, females have one or two litters per year of 4-8 joeys, but can have a third litter if climatic conditions are favourable. The new born joeys can be as small as a honey bee, fur-less, blind and will crawl immediately into their moms pouch for protection and to continue to develop. After about two months they are large enough to ride on their mom’s back while she goes out to hunt. Opossums are mainly solitary animals, but have been observed hanging out with skunks and raccoon's.
Squirrels & Chipmunks: Red and grey squirrels are common in Ontario. Squirrels reproduce twice a year, February to April and in late August to September. The first litter of babies will leave the nest around April or May and the second litter leaves in September. Baby squirrels are ready to be on their own at 10 weeks of age.
Chipmunks generally reproduce once a year with breeding season from mid-April to mid-May. Babies are born after about 30 days, in May and June and will stay in the nest for up to six weeks. Chipmunks typically give birth to litters of 3-8 young.
Skunks and Possums are most active at night and sleep during the day. They become somewhat dormant during the winter months and remain active spring to fall.
Raccoons are most active at night, but will come out during the day at times.
Squirrels & Chipmunks are active during the day, from dawn until dusk. They are most active in the fall, collecting food to survive the winter. Ground squirrels will hibernate, but tree squirrels are active all year long.
WHEN INVADING HUMAN LIVING SPACE
Skunks generally help with keeping a healthy lawn and are beneficial to farmers and gardeners. They love grubs, mice, beetles, larvae, wasps and other pests. Outside of their pungent smell and the risk of getting sprayed or spraying your pets, they are good neighbours to share your outside living space with. They do not pose a health risk.
Raccoons, similar to the Skunk, are great at keeping your yard free of pests as well. They are predators of small rodents, which can be beneficial in control. However, they themselves can be a huge nuisance to humans, having incredible dexterity, they are able to open doors, jars, bottles and windows. They can get into a lot of things around your home.
Possums are not vicious. Even though they are wild animals, they do not react aggressively towards humans. However they should still be respected as wild and given space when coming in contact with them. If they feel threatened they will most times play dead, but if provoked as with other wild animals, they will bite out of self defence. They have 50 teeth, so with a mouth full of teeth, they can cause some damage. Always better to respect their space. They do not chew or dig, they use dens of other animals. They help us to get rid of back yard and garden pests like mice, ticks, cockroaches, slugs, snails and toads. Unlike Raccoon's and Skunks, they are travellers. They act as vacuum cleaners, killing almost 95 % of the ticks that try to feed on them. A single Possum could eliminate up to 4,000 ticks in a week. If they find a home under your shed or house for the winter, you are best to leave them alone until spring, at which time they will move on to a new location all on their own.
Squirrels & Chipmunks: can be damaging to property. They will chew on anything. If they feel a need to enter your home, they will destroy and widen access areas. Squirrels and Chipmunks can carry parasites and can transmit illnesses.
Wildlife exclusion by a Balson Licensed Technician.
We will perform an onsite initial assessment of the home to determine the source of the concern, investigate access points and prepare a plan of action.
Within two business days of the initial assessment a quote will be created and emailed out.
Exclusion work when we are dealing with wildlife such as a Skunk or Possum, will include live trapping and release. With other wildlife that harbour in attics etc, the process typically starts with the installation of a one way door (possibly more then one, dependent on the situation and the design of the house) and in tandem, identifying and sealing up discovered access points. Allowing the wildlife the opportunity to exit to forage for food and unable to re-enter the home upon their return. With other potential entry points sealed up, it is likely they will move on to find other suitable accommodations.
If babies are present, additional measures will be taken to ensure they are reunited with their mom. Such as installing reunion boxes to hold the babies in safely, until mom returns to move them to a new home.