Occasional Visitors
Depending on where you live, you may get a drop-in (or burrow-in or slither-in) visit from one of these:

Skunks: These four-legged stink bombs will easily burrow under your patio slab or stake out territory in your garage, crawl space, or basement. Hire a pro to trap them live and transport them elsewhere.

Bats: Given the opportunity, they'll happily take up residence in your attic for the summer and leave behind potentially disease-ridden guano as a present. Seal off their entranceways with a double layer of insect screen and hardware cloth, but only after you evict them first (Bat species are protected nationwide). Call in a pro to erect a "bat flap," a layer of screen that lets the bats crawl out but blocks their way back in.

Birds: In spring, starlings and sparrows have a knack for building nests in hidden, difficult-to-reach openings in a house. The louvered vents for dryer exhausts and the openings behind roof fascia are perennial favorites. Bar them from entering with hardware cloth. Take down the bird feeders that are attracting them to your property.

Raccoons: The masked marauders of the animal world, they'll barge down chimneys and into open garages or attic vents. Best captured with a live trap baited with peanut butter, suet, raw eggs, or dried corn on the cob. To keep them from coming back, cap your chimney, keep basement and garage doors closed, eliminate bird feeders and outdoor pet bowls, and lock down trash lids with bungee cords.

Snakes: In the fall, they'll work their way into openings around basement doors or cracks in foundation mortar, looking for a place to hibernate. They'll leave of their own accord when the weather warms up in spring. Seal those openings behind them.

Opossums: You'll occasionally find these nocturnal fruit-and-insect eaters camped out under your deck or blundering into open garages, basements, and crawl spaces. They won't stay, unless they think you're going to feed them. As with skunks, you'll need a pro to capture them and ferry them out of the neighborhood.
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