a wild animal is loose in the house
Photo: Mark Hooper

A Wild Animal is Loose in the House

What to do: "Don't try to herd a bird with a broom or tennis racket. It'll just panic and try to hide," says Tom Scollins, a zoologist turned wildlife-control agent in Baltimore. "Instead, turn off the lights and open the windows, drapes, and blinds. It’ll feel the air currents and fly toward the light." The same technique works for squirrels and raccoons, if you can corral them in a room and shut the door. If that fails, you’ll need to call in a professional wildlife wrangler or your town’s animal-control officer.

How to keep this from happening to you: "Prevention is so much cheaper than removal," says Scollins. Chimneys and dryer vents are common entry points, so install chimney caps on the flues and snap-in screens inside dryer-vent openings. To deter burrowing rodents, keep mulch thin around the foundation. And if you've got lots of starlings or sparrows in your yard, remember to shut the screen
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