Despite its less than friendly appearance, the bat is one of nature’s most beneficial creatures. Bats consume tons of insects annually including a large number of mosquitos. Unfortunately, they are also carriers of many diseases.
Bats in your home is a big problem, because you rarely have just one bat. It will quickly be a colony and one that continues to grow until resolved. As more time and more bats accumulate, so does a distinct and unpleasant odor. The odor is a buildup of feces and urine in wall voids, attic spaces, etc. This buildup can eventually seep through into your living spaces creating serious health hazards. Guano can lead to serious respiratory disease if left untreated, it is also potentially fatal.
Beavers are most common in less populated areas, however they can be found anywhere that there is a stream, lake, or water in general. Of all the nuisance wildlife, these creatures are amazingly hard workers. Oftentimes you could tear down their dam and they will have it fully rebuilt by morning. They are most active in the warmer weather of spring through fall, but with the mild temperatures in Georgia it is still amply warm enough for them to maintain a steady level of activity even in winter. They are primarily nocturnal but in the colder weather will come out during the daylight. Their preferred active hours are dusk and dawn.
Having a beaver on your property can significantly disrupt local ecosystems. Not only is there a huge risk of flooding. They will also take down trees and kill plants while looking for their preferred food source cambium (the material found just under the bark of a tree) or physically chew down trees to use them for dams and lodges. Beavers are generally non-aggressive however they will defend their territory. When a beaver feels threatened you will hear a noticeable popping sound. This is the sound of the beaver slapping it’s tail on the water.
Coyotes are a well-known and often feared nuisance wildlife. Whenever people hear of one in the area immediately they worry that none of their pets are safe. While yes, if you hear of a local coyote you should definitely mind your animals and be cautious, keep in mind that coyotes can have up to a 50-mile home range. So, a singular sighting does not mean one is living on or near your property. They easily could have just been passing through. Coyotes are generally not looking to make a home on your property unless they feel they can maintain their den at a safe and comfortable distance for them.
Despite their bad reputation coyotes are usually nonaggressive and will keep their distance from humans, large animals and anything they know they couldn’t beat in a fight. In fact, a pact of coyotes is less aggressive than a pack of feral dogs. There are exceptions to this rule, however. If one is sickly or rabid, feels cornered or trapped, or are protecting their young they will become aggressive, and it is wise to keep your distance.
Coyotes are fair more common and in greater numbers than what people realize in Northern Georgia. This includes through Atlanta’s suburban and metro areas. They have adapted very well to heavily populated areas. When there are a lot of missing pets in an area, or you see a lot of missing pet signs, possibly even find parts of small animals left behind, all these are a good sign you have a coyote roaming your area. They will usually feed on rabbits, rats, mice, squirrels (smaller rodents) and small outdoor pets (like a cat). They are primarily nocturnal and due to the warm temperatures in Georgia active year round.
Raccoons can be a nuisance year round and are extrememly common throughout north Georgia. They are nocturnal animals and most active from dusk till dawn.
When a raccoon gets into your home, they are generally looking for shelter from the elements or to rear their young. Although raccoons can vary in size they are generally 20 lb or less, and can get into your home through a hole as small as a softball.
To rid your home of a raccoon can be a big project. Not just for the entry hole they create, but also the damage they do inside. They can destroy wood, tear up and contaminate your insultation and some may even chew through wires. It is never wise to approach or feed a raccoon. Although they will generally shy away from human contact, if they are scared or if there are young present they can become extremely agressive.
Skunk problems are not very common in North Georgia or Metro Atlanta, however the time of year you are most likely to see activity is spring and fall.
Skunks are relatively small in size, weighing from 2-11 lbs roughly. They are comparable in size to a housecat, with their distinctive black fur and white stripe. They are nocturnal animals. Most active at night and sometimes early morning.
The most common issue one will experience with a skunk is digging. Skunks often dig for grubs leaving holes on your lawn. You do need to be cautious if you feel you have a skunk problem. Not only the horrible smelling spray they use when they feel they are endanger, but they can also carry rabies.
Did you know it is illegal to kill a non-venomous snake? But why?
Well despite their bad reputation snakes are extremely important to the ecosystem mainly for what they eat. Some eat bugs, mice, small animals, a lot of the small pests that will invade your home or tear up your lawn.
So although it is normal to be intimated if you see one, as a general rule, snakes don’t want anything to do with you. They cannot eat you. They rarely chase you. And they recognize an encounter with you will likely not end well for them. Snakes only tend to strike when they feel threatened. So leave them alone, stay calm and still, give them space (more than 6 feet), and the snake is unlikely to bite you.
Of the 46 snake species in Georgia, only 6 species are venomous. In the North Georgia area really only 5 venomous species.
So the odds of any snake you encounter being venomous is less likely just based on the numbers. However, we did create a little cheatsheet showing you the 6 venomous snake species in Georgia and how to identify them. Click here to view it.
As a general rule, venomous snakes have a more a triangular-shaped head, while non-venomous have a more rounded head. However venomous snakes have been known to flatten their head shape in an effort to impersonate their venomous counterparts. Venomous snakes are also known to have more “cat-like” eyes with yellow eyes and thing, virtual black pupils.
Grey squirrels (tree squirrels) are very common in Metro Atlanta and North Georgia. They have a fairly large and bushy tail and mainly grey fur, but it may also be brownish in color. Don’t let their cute appearance fool you. They are extremely destructive little animals.
Grey squirrels in the wild can have home ranges up to 10 miles. However, in suburbia, it may only be 2-3 properties due to the availability of food and shelter. Some friendly advice: they LOVE your bird feeders. So if you have one you are best to use hot seed.
When a grey squirrel gets in your house they quickly contaminate and flatten blown-in insulation and strip down rolled insulation to make their nests. They are notorious for chewing on wiring and are extremely noisy. They can be heard throughout the day, but peak times are just after daybreak and just before sunset.