Varmint(s) under the house

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Years ago I sealed up all the entrances to the crawlspace, but last week I noticed that one had come off. Argh! I wasn't about to just seal it back up because I figured that with the cold weather coming on (Berkeley, CA, not freezing, but quite chilly in the winter), some animal was probably under the house.
I figure before I seal up (this time with a door and latch), I have to get whatever animals out of there. I started by putting some strained dirt over the ground just below the ~18x24" opening, smoothing it carefully to reveal any footprints of an animal going in or out. Next day, sure enough, footprints, maybe about the size of a small cat (but I figure it wouldn't be a cat, but who knows?).
I tried a trick I'd heard of and put an open container with some rocks in it (to keep it from tipping over) with ammonia and a rag, to disperse noxious and offensive fumes, right in back of the opening, so the animal(s) would have to pass the concentrated fumes when going in/out. I figured that after a day or two the animal(s) would find friendlier accommodations. After two or so days of this, footprints are still in evidence.
What can I try to expell the varmint(s)? I figure I can maybe work up a one way door of some kind, but it seems tricky.
Dan
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Ammonia probably isn't the most effective smell, after all urine smells of ammonia when it gets old, so the area will just smell like the animal's favourite toilet area.

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It evaporates pretty fast, too, so you have to keep renewing it.
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On Thu, 06 Dec 2007 07:24:22 -0800, Dan_Musicant wrote:

A pet Wolverine released in the crawlspace will cure your varmint infestation.
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Dan_Musicant wrote:

Get a humane trap from animal control. Decide what to do with the animal after it is in the trap. My mom used to relocate possum and racoons. You can do it :o)
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wrote:
:Get a humane trap from animal control. Decide what to do with the :animal after it is in the trap. My mom used to relocate possum and :racoons. You can do it :o)
OK, I may go this route. Again, I'd have to do it until at least a day passes with no footprints. I've never relocated a varmint before, but I figure I can locate a free trap here in Berkeley, where we celebrate the human conscience... sometimes to a fault.
Dan
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Call your animal control department. They may be able to ID the footprints, which may enable them to recommend the best bait for the trap. They may also loan you a trap.
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On Thu, 06 Dec 2007 17:24:30 GMT, "JoeSpareBedroom"

In many places it is illegal to relocate animals without a special permit. The fines are pretty high.
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True. He'll find that out when he speaks to his animal control department.
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There are no fines where I live. Relocation means moving the live animal with the blast of a 12 ga. shotgun to wherever it lands. Then out in a field for varmint dinner. It is 100% effective.
Steve
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snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote in message

the
and
day
but I

celebrate the

footprints,
may also

In CA it is illegal, and since he's in Berkeley ( I assume CA) so if you're going to relocate an animal, make sure you don't tell *anyone* especially in that town where they practically arrest you for being a Republican. ;-)
Cheri
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On Thu, 6 Dec 2007 11:27:05 -0800, "Cheri" <gserviceatinreachdotcom> wrote:
: : snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote in message
:>On Thu, 06 Dec 2007 17:24:30 GMT, "JoeSpareBedroom"
:>
:>> :>>> wrote: :>>> :>>> :Get a humane trap from animal control. Decide what to do with :the :>>> :animal after it is in the trap. My mom used to relocate possum :and :>>> :racoons. You can do it :o) :>>> :>>> OK, I may go this route. Again, I'd have to do it until at least a :day :>>> passes with no footprints. I've never relocated a varmint before, :but I :>>> figure I can locate a free trap here in Berkeley, where we :celebrate the :>>> human conscience... sometimes to a fault. :>>> :>>> Dan :>>> :>> :>>Call your animal control department. They may be able to ID the :footprints, :>>which may enable them to recommend the best bait for the trap. They :may also :>>loan you a trap. :>> :> :>In many places it is illegal to relocate animals without a special :>permit. The fines are pretty high. : :In CA it is illegal, and since he's in Berkeley ( I assume CA) so if :you're going to relocate an animal, make sure you don't tell *anyone* :especially in that town where they practically arrest you for being a :Republican. ;-) : :Cheri
True enough. I scanned the registration roles while waiting in line to vote one day a couple of years ago and it appeared that Republicans here are about 1 in 50, if that.
Dan
PS Thanks for the info about animal relocation in CA. I won't call animal control, then. What would be the point? I'm going to have to do something clever to get the animal(s) out, make sure they're out, and then lock them out!
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clipped

I looked at the little bit of the link to CA info. Some reference to trapping if there is a health or safety issue. Worth checking if the animal is a threat to residents or pets, IMO.
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Cheri wrote:

He could give whatever he traps a bath...
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Dan_Musicant wrote:

You may (or may not) want to talk to: http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/animalservices /
Looks like Bezerkeley city council is opposed to trapping: http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/animalservices/Trapping%20of%20Wildlife.html
You may want to talk to animal control anyways. See what they suggest.
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wrote:
:Dan_Musicant wrote: :
:> wrote: :> :> :Get a humane trap from animal control. Decide what to do with the :> :animal after it is in the trap. My mom used to relocate possum and :> :racoons. You can do it :o) :> :> OK, I may go this route. Again, I'd have to do it until at least a day :> passes with no footprints. I've never relocated a varmint before, but I :> figure I can locate a free trap here in Berkeley, where we celebrate the :> human conscience... sometimes to a fault. :> :> Dan :> : :You may (or may not) want to talk to: : http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/animalservices / : :Looks like Bezerkeley city council is opposed to trapping: : http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/animalservices/Trapping%20of%20Wildlife.html : :You may want to talk to animal control anyways. See what they :suggest.
Yeah, a friendly conversation on the phone can't hurt, I figure. Thanks.
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wrote:
:Dan_Musicant wrote: :
:> wrote: :> :> :Get a humane trap from animal control. Decide what to do with the :> :animal after it is in the trap. My mom used to relocate possum and :> :racoons. You can do it :o) :> :> OK, I may go this route. Again, I'd have to do it until at least a day :> passes with no footprints. I've never relocated a varmint before, but I :> figure I can locate a free trap here in Berkeley, where we celebrate the :> human conscience... sometimes to a fault. :> :> Dan :> : :You may (or may not) want to talk to: : http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/animalservices / : :Looks like Bezerkeley city council is opposed to trapping: : http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/animalservices/Trapping%20of%20Wildlife.html : :You may want to talk to animal control anyways. See what they :suggest.
I just called them and this is what I was told:
1. They won't go into my attic or crawl space.
2. I can block off the entrance suitably, but leave it open until 11:00 PM. Then close and lock it. He tells me that any animal living under the house then, be it a racoon, possum, feral cat or even a skunk (it's obviously not a skunk), would be "out foraging."
Problem solved. I asked him how I would know for sure the animal wasn't still under the house, and he just wanted me to take his word for it that it wouldn't be at 11:00 at night. I asked him if I would hear something if otherwise, and he said yes. He was sounding in a hurry to end the conversation. Anyway, I guess this is the thing to do.
Dan
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Dan_Musicant wrote:

I may of missed one of the posts that had the animal ID'd, but I get calls on all the animals listed below except for skunks getting into attics quite often. Was at one Thursday where the possum was climbing the wooden fence, jumping about a foot to the gutter of a detached garage, getting into that attic where a breezeway attached to the garage then following the inside of the breezeway into the house. Most of the activity heard is between the first floor ceiling and second floor, but there is possum crap in the attic above the second floor so it is making access there also.

That time frame is just a general rule, for example, Mr possum comes from under a house just after dark and only has to waddle next door 30 feet away to the neighbor's patio who keeps a full bowl of food out for fido or the area stray cats....possum gets a quick full tummy, is able to look around a bit and then get back home before 9:00 ...gets to hang around the home a few hours with time to play the video games, watch the tube a bit then waddle out again in the early morning for another snack and hunt down a possible future Mrs possum....mother nature will make a liar of you every time. If you have an obvious opening that you can get to, place a few pieces of masking tape across the opening, don't close it totally with the tape. Any animal activity will tear the tape away.
Lar
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:Dan_Musicant wrote:
: :> :Looks like Bezerkeley city council is opposed to trapping: :> : http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/animalservices/Trapping%20of%20Wildlife.html :> : :> :You may want to talk to animal control anyways. See what they :> :suggest. :> :> I just called them and this is what I was told: :> :> 1. They won't go into my attic or crawl space. : :I may of missed one of the posts that had the animal ID'd, but I get :calls on all the animals listed below except for skunks getting into :attics quite often. Was at one Thursday where the possum was climbing :the wooden fence, jumping about a foot to the gutter of a detached :garage, getting into that attic where a breezeway attached to the garage :then following the inside of the breezeway into the house. Most of the :activity heard is between the first floor ceiling and second floor, but :there is possum crap in the attic above the second floor so it is making :access there also. : : :> 2. I can block off the entrance suitably, but leave it open until 11:00 :> PM. Then close and lock it. He tells me that any animal living under the :> house then, be it a racoon, possum, feral cat or even a skunk (it's :> obviously not a skunk), would be "out foraging." : :> Problem solved. I asked him how I would know for sure the animal wasn't :> still under the house, and he just wanted me to take his word for it :> that it wouldn't be at 11:00 at night. I asked him if I would hear :> something if otherwise, and he said yes. He was sounding in a hurry to :> end the conversation. Anyway, I guess this is the thing to do. :> :> Dan : :That time frame is just a general rule, for example, Mr possum comes :from under a house just after dark and only has to waddle next door 30 :feet away to the neighbor's patio who keeps a full bowl of food out for :fido or the area stray cats....possum gets a quick full tummy, is able :to look around a bit and then get back home before 9:00 ...gets to hang :around the home a few hours with time to play the video games, watch the :tube a bit then waddle out again in the early morning for another snack :and hunt down a possible future Mrs possum....mother nature will make a :liar of you every time. If you have an obvious opening that you can get :to, place a few pieces of masking tape across the opening, don't close :it totally with the tape. Any animal activity will tear the tape away. : :Lar
Um, yes, I'm concerned. Last night I went ahead with the Animal Services representative's suggestion, but I altered it somewhat. My thinking was that last night was the shortest day of the year. In fact, Winter began just 1/2 hour before that guy recommended shutting the access. That's about 6 hours after dusk! I figure that since the day was the ultimate short day, I should shut the access/exit a couple of hours earlier than typical. So, around 9:15 PM, I did the deed, jamming a piece of plywood into the opening, the same piece that had come loose. I intend to make an actual door there, hinged, with a latch to insure security in the future, but in the meantime, the playwood should suffice so long as it doesn't fall off again. Of course, it's possible an animal precipitated the plywood coming off in the first place, I wouldn't know.
In fact, the guy just behind my house has a couple of dogs and may well leave food out there for them that an animal can readily eat. That might mean the animal(s) would get back under my house less than an hour after nightfall.
From the footprints I was seeing in the sifted dirt I leveled at the access/exit point, my best guess is a feral cat. It's possibly a racoon, but I didn't see the telltale claw marks racoons leave. Still, in that dirt, I can't be sure. That's why I wanted to put mud down and paper, to get accurate footprints, but I never got to that stage.
After I closed things up last night I started thinking and I had doubts. Thing it, last night happened to be not only the shortest night of the year, but it was definitely the coldest so far. At 9:15 PM it was 40 degrees out there. I'm wondering if the animal would stay under the house in the unusually cold conditions, or else, as you suggest, if it had an easy time of finding food for some reason, it may have ducked under the house for comfort and security. Therefore, the representative's assurances that the animal would be outside aren't giving me confidence an animal (maybe more than one!) isn't trapped under the house. Worst case scenario I figure is I start smelling rotting corpses and I have to go under there with a flashlight and plastic bags find the corpse(s) and bag up the rotten meat. Ugh!
I'm hoping that if there's live animal(s) under the house now it/they will make a commotion rather than just die.
Dan
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wrote:
:Dan_Musicant wrote: :
:> wrote: :> :> :Get a humane trap from animal control. Decide what to do with the :> :animal after it is in the trap. My mom used to relocate possum and :> :racoons. You can do it :o) :> :> OK, I may go this route. Again, I'd have to do it until at least a day :> passes with no footprints. I've never relocated a varmint before, but I :> figure I can locate a free trap here in Berkeley, where we celebrate the :> human conscience... sometimes to a fault. :> :> Dan :> : :You may (or may not) want to talk to: : http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/animalservices / : :Looks like Bezerkeley city council is opposed to trapping: : http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/animalservices/Trapping%20of%20Wildlife.html : :You may want to talk to animal control anyways. See what they :suggest.
I just called them and this is what I was told:
1. They won't go into my attic or crawl space.
2. I can block off the entrance suitably, but leave it open until 11:00 PM. Then close and lock it. He tells me that any animal living under the house then, be it a racoon, possum, feral cat or even a skunk (it's obviously not a skunk), would be "out foraging."
Problem solved. I asked him how I would know for sure the animal wasn't still under the house, and he just wanted me to take his word for it that it wouldn't be at 11:00 at night. I asked him if I would hear something if otherwise, and he said yes. He was sounding in a hurry to end the conversation. Anyway, I guess this is the thing to do.
Dan
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