By Amy Metzger, Director of First Impressions
There are plenty of neighbors on Hilton Head Island, many of whom are unwanted in our neighborhoods. No, we’re not talking about the party animals down the block, but the animals that end up in our yards and houses, like alligators and armadillos. These are just a few of nature’s animals that we run across daily here in the Lowcountry, which also includes snakes, raccoons, possums, bats, rats, mice, flying squirrels, gray squirrels, feral cats, foxes, deer, otters, and hogs.
What do you do when you find one of these unwanted visitors on your property? Most of the critters pose no danger to you or your family as long as you leave them alone. In fact, some would argue that they have as much right to be here as you and I, but it’s hard to enjoy our great outdoors with them hanging around. The best thing to do is call a pest control agent such as Critter Management. Joe Maffo, also known as Alligator Joe, and his staff have over 18 years of experience in relocating these unwanted critters.
Joe recently spoke at a Lunch and Learn session here at The Greenery, and brought some baby alligators and snakes with him to talk about encounters with critters. We had a fun and engaging discussion about “our other neighbors”. Alligator Joe shared interesting stories and how to be alert.
Use extreme caution with all reptiles and animals. Important mention was when raccoons, possums, and other nocturnal animals are witnessed active during the day; this is not normal and they may need to be removed professionally. Raccoons that display fearless behavior or appear to be drunk are most likely suffering from rabies or distemper, so it's never a good idea to approach them. Instead, call Alligator Joe.
There are some suggestions to help keep the unwanted neighbors at bay:
Secure your garbage from animals. First, make sure any garbage cans you keep outside are shut tight so that nothing can get in and, if it's knocked over, it won’t easily open. Additionally, cleaning out your trash bins every so often may help reduce the deliciously aromatic smell of rotting food, thus making your cans less attractive to outside critters.
Don’t leave food around for critters. Always be weary when feeding any pets outside and make sure the area is cleaned after food is consumed.
Close off entryways for critters. The best idea, as always, is to prevent animals from squeezing into tight spaces to begin with. Inspect your house for any gaps or holes in vents or windows. Close off anything that can be sealed with caulk or mesh.
Remember, raccoons are able to fit through a hole three to four inches in diameter. Place a grate over your chimney opening so that no animal can crawl down it and set up shop. Trim any branches that might extend onto the roof.