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Protect your property with Animal Experts, Inc.

Burrowing animals can be a real nuisance – if they remain on your property, they can cause long-term damage and even undermine the integrity of the foundations of buildings and outdoor additions. Let Animal Experts remove animals for you safely and efficiently.

If you have burrowers on your property, it may even be a sign of a snake den. Call us for a property assessment today.

Humane traps and relocation

We can offer humane capture and relocation for skunks and badgers, and removal services for many other species. Because we’re fully licensed in the state of Arizona, we can help with just about any burrowing animal that crosses your path.

• Skunks
• Gophers
• Packrats
• Squirrels
• Badgers
• Mice

There are several burrowing animals that live in the Sonoran Desert. We will address the most common and how to identify them along with what we do to address the issues associated with them. Oh, and did we mention that we can remove those animals that you don’t want?
Rock Squirrels;
They are easy to identify, I will usually ask the caller does it look like what you think of when you think of Squirrel? Rock Squirrels are probably one of the most common calls for service with Animal Experts. The average adult body length is approximately 10 to 12 inches not including the tail. Their coat is tanish and grey in color with a bushy tail. We find them all over Pima County from very rural settings to the heart of the city. When outdoors the burrow entrance is about 4 to 5 inches across. they can move a phenomenal amount of dirt in the construction of their burrow especially when they get the whole family involved.
Speaking of family, the females can start reproducing at 1 year old and have 1 to 2 litters a year averaging 4 to 6 per litter. So you can see how a couple of cute squirrels in the yard can turn into a pretty major issue in a very short amount of time. Although they are avid diggers they also thrive living in the attics and crawl spaces of our homes and businesses. We respond to calls for Rock Squirrel removal with Multiple traps always setting more traps than we believe there are squirrels. The Squirrels are then relocated far enough away that they will no longer be an issue.
Gophers;
Gophers activity is another one that if you know what to look for it is easy to identify. Not the gopher (because they are very elusive) but their activity. Notice I said activity and not the hole, that’s because gophers back fill their holes. If someone calls stating they have hole in their yard that tells me right away that it isn’t a Gopher issue. Gophers will leave a fan shaped mound from the way they move the dirt out of their burrow. Their burrow system can be quite extensive. It is not un common for a yard that is riddled with mounds to in fact be the work of a single Gopher. I have encountered tunnels over 50 yards long with several mounds attached to it. Often we will request if the customer is able , that they rake over the mounds about 3-4 days prior to us responding that way we can tell where the most recent activity is taking place. This helps us with being able to focus our efforts more efficiently. We have yet to find an effective live catch trap for Gophers. That being said Animal Experts does not believe poison is an efficient, safe or humane option. Our primary means of Gopher elimination is by flooding the burrow system Co2 gas. The Gophers then succumb to the gas under ground and the gas dissipates by the time our wildlife specialist leaves the property any Gopher that is going to be affected has been eliminated. This means we are not leaving behind any harmful poisons that pets, non-target wildlife or children could be exposed to.
Badgers
Another very elusive excavation specialist we have here in Southern Arizona is the Badger. Yes I said Badger. They are nocturnal, very evasive and spend most of their time alone ,except for the purpose of breeding, so most people will live in our area for years and never see one but they do live here.
An adult male in our area can weigh in at about 20 pound and strike an imposing figure when you meet him face to face. They are built close to the ground with short stocky legs. There claws appear very fierce but are primarily used as digging tools and they can move dirt like no other. They have been known to pursue snakes and small animals into the ground digging as they go to capture their meal. Their burrow entrance is normally about 8 to 12 inches across and will have a large amount of dirt outside of it. Animal Experts Wildlife specialist will normally set up multiple traps with different buffets of bait for this carnivore. They are very fierce and should only be handled by a professional.
There are numerous other small burrowing mice and ground squirrels that call southern Arizona home and choose to invade our yards, home and businesses. From Round Tail Ground Squirrels, Harris Antelope Squirrels and even the carnivorous Southern Grasshopper Mouse which eats insects, lizards and other mice. Each case is treated on a case by case basis and we are always looking for the elusive “better mouse trap”

Skunks:
Animal Experts Inc has been trapping and relocating skunks since we opened for business in 1991. More often than not the customer doesn’t call because of the familiar odor of the skunk but because they are noticing small dug out divots in their yard. This is when the skunks are digging for grubs that live in the damp soil. They have been known to decimate a beautifully manicured lawn or golf course in just a few nights. We have found that during that grubbing time of the year skunks will not eat anything else and will in fact dig around a trap loaded with all of the goodies that you caught skunks with just the month before. That’s where the experience and techniques developed over the years comes into play allowing us to capture skunks all year long. A common misconception is that if I had a skunk in my area I would smell it. This just is not the case, skunks only spray when the feel threatened.
There is nothing that will ruin a good night sleep like discovering a skunk has wondered into your house through an open doggie door and came nose to nose with you or your pet. Remember the statement I made earlier that skunks only spray when the feel threatened? Well that’s usually about the time they feel threatened. I can’t tell you the number of calls Animal Experts has received during the night due to skunks, raccoons snakes or strays cats that have wondered into homes by way of the open pet door.
Skunks are omnivorous meaning other than the grubbing period they will eat almost anything. Which is one of the reasons they adapt so well to both city and rural settings. Skunks are also nocturnal, meaning if you see a skunk out in the daytime it could be a sign they are ill and you should steer clear of them due to the fact that they are one of the leading carriers of rabies in Southern Arizona. Female skunks produce from two to four young in April or May and the offspring are on their own by early fall. There is nothing quite as cute as a baby skunk but beware they still have a working scent gland and will demonstrate that for you.
Skunks are members of the weasel family and they all have scent glands which secrete the musk oil which gives them such a highly effective defense mechanism. The fact that their scent is a musk oil is the reason it is so hard to get rid of after you or your home has been “skunked“. We have discovered some very effective solutions for odor removal over the years that we can apply. We also have a arsenal of ionizer machines that we can deliver to your location which are extremely effective at pulling skunk odor out of your environment. These are the same type of machines that hotels and resorts use to convert smoking rooms to non-smoking.

The largest and most common of the skunks we deal with here in Southern Arizona is the Striped skunk. Striped skunks have a thin white stripe on the face and striping on the body, the striping pattern can vary. Striped skunks can be found almost everywhere and are active throughout the year. They do not hibernate even in northern Arizona; the males instead form communal dens with several females.

The closely related Hooded skunk is the striped skunk’s Mexican cousin. It is generally confined to southeastern Arizona and abundant in Tucson and the surrounding areas, The white stripes on this animal are often solidly joined to form one large white streak down the center of the back, or in some individuals, are so totally separated that the skunk appears nearly solid black. Both striped and hooded skunks have the thin white stripe on the face.

The Hog-nosed Skunk is also easily identified by its entirely white back and tail and lack of any stripe on the forehead. Moreover, the elongated and slightly up-turned snout is largely naked, and the long claws on the feet are almost bear-like in appearance.

The Western Spotted Skunk is the smallest of the skunk species that live in Southern Arizona. The western spotted skunk’s color is predominately black with a white patches on the forehead and broken white stripes running down the neck, back, and sides, giving the impression of blotches or spots.
All of that being said we have seen all black skunks and completely white skunks and everyone of them has the ability ruin your day.

Pack Rats:

When most people think of Rats think of the one from the sewers of New York City. The Packrats found in Southern Arizona are nothing like that. They live a very solitary life normally you will only find 1 per nest, even on the very large nest. In Southern Arizona they are the basis for the food chain with virtually all of the larger predators feeding on them given the opportunity. This includes bobcats, coyotes and birds of prey to name a few. This is one of the reasons we discourage the use of poisons to control a packrat infestation. That being said there is still no shortage of packrats. If you consider a female can give birth every 6-8 weeks and those females can start giving birth in 6-8 weeks it’s easy to see why.

At Animal Experts we have found that trapping and then nest removal is the best way to handle a packrat problem. We offer complete service on pack rats from the inspection to determine where they are accessing a property or the nest locations outdoors to the rodent removal and then the cleaning out and hauling away of the nest material. We will then disinfect the nest site to neutralize the residual fecal and urine which acts as a attractant for other rodents. We can also assess your landscaping to determine ways to make your property less attractive to new rodents.

Packrats need to have shelter exists, that may be in a mitten they set up in your landscaping, under the hood of your car or the crawlspace of your home.

Packrats can do thousands of dollars worth of damage in a very short amount of time. It is common for us to receive calls for service after Their victims receive an invoice from their mechanic to rewire a vehicle or an electrician to repair the wiring in a home or A/C unit goes down. Electrical wires seem to be the favorite target for chewing to keep their teeth nice and sharp.

At Animal Experts it is not our goal to rid the desert of wildlife but to give you a “buffer zone” around your home so you don’t have to deal with the pitter patter of little feet in your attic space or your home security system going off for no apparent reason because the wiring was chewed through.

Unlike a conventional pest control company which sets up to come to your home once a month forever to control your pest problem, at Animal Experts by sealing up the access points that animals have to your home along with some preventive landscaping tips we strive to not have to come back to your home again.



Basic Behavior & Biology

• More correctly known as the Sonoran Wood Rat

• Gives birth to 2-3 young every 6 to 8 weeks. Can have up to 6

• Nocturnal; common with animals in the southwest desert.

• Tail is long and thick. Ears are large and almost naked.

• Color is gray-brown .

• Size: Can be up to 12 to 15 inches including the tail.

• Adult pack rats are solitary. 1 adult per nest.

• Primary foods are cactus (they love prickly pear) and mesquite beans.

• Obtain moisture from what they eat which means they do not need an open water

source.

• Mature in 6 to 8 weeks and can begin producing off spring.



Preventative landscaping;

By minimizing why you have packrats in the first place you can greatly reduce the chances of re-infestation. Out in our natural desert setting we expect to find 5-6 nests per acre but out in the natural desert setting there isn’t a lot of lush ground cover with drip irrigation and pools of water with over grown plants offering food water and shelter.

Keeping in mind that Packrats are at the base of the food chain in the sonoran desert for several predators, by providing so much cover and safe havens around your home you are throwing of the natural balance.

When I mention preventative landscaping what this means is;

Keeping plants pruned up off the ground eliminating the cover they seek.

Cactus should not be allowed to spread but should be kept up off the ground.

Trees should be kept pruned back from your home. You want at least 2 feet of clearance between any vegetation and your home.

Keep seed bearing trees such as our mesquite and palo verde cleaned up rather that allow the bean pods to accumulate when they fall. They are a favorite food of choice.

While Pack rats are excellent climbers there is no sense in making things easy for them by planting vines on the side of your home creating an open invitation to go exploring on your roof top for a possible access into your attic crawl space. They are always looking to upgrade their living quarters.



Pack Rat Exclusion;

This refers to keeping them out of an area by means of a barrier. Keep in mind that they can access areas smaller than their bodies. If their head will fit the boy will follow. A good rule of thumb is if your thumb will fit so will they. Common points of access are at the corners of your garage doors, roof vents and where the different pitch angles meet on your roof. These need to all be sealed with metal or metal screen. don’t rely on spray foam because they will chew right through that. Lastly it my sound silly but don’t forget to close the doggy door at night. I have gotten many frantic phone calls about not only rats but raccoons, skunks and snakes coming in through the doggy door at night.

More about capture for flying and predatory pests

The professional handlers at Animal Experts, Inc. can help with a variety of animals, including protected species that require additional oversight and caution. See more about recent capture on our official blog, or get in touch with us now.