Proceedings of the Vertebrate Pest Conference
Control of opossums, bats, raccoons, and skunks
- Author(s): Merrill, Howard A.
- et al.
Methods for the control of problem opossums, bats, raccoons, and skunks are discussed. Basic biology of these animal species is provided. For the opossum, control methods include trapping, physical capture at night, or use of a strychnine formulation injected into eggs. The presence of bats in homes or other structures is a concern due to their potential infection with rabies. Bat biology and behavior is summarized, and bat-proofing of structures is recommended as a technique. Bats repellents for use in attics or other closed spaces are discussed. In some situations, professional fumigation of a structure to kill bats is needed, but it has several disadvantages and does not provide a permanent solution. Raccoon biology is summarized. When numerous, they can cause economic damage to gardens and crops and are especially destructive to corn fields. Raccoon trapping using a variety of traps and types of trap sets is described in detail. Exclusion of raccoons is possible by adding a single wire strand electrified by a fence charger to an existing fence. Where raccoons cause extensive damage to crops, they can be controlled using strychnine baits; formulas and instruction for strychnine-egg baits and strychnine-corn baits are provided. Skunk biology and behavior is summarized. Preventing their entry into structures is preferred over skunk destruction, as they have beneficial aspects by eating mice and insects. Techniques for excluding skunks are described in detail, including exclusionary methods to keep them out of poultry houses. Insecticides properly applied to lawns will reduce skunk damage to turf by eliminating insect and grub food sources. Methods to trap skunks are described, as are techniques and a formula for making strychnine-egg baits to kill skunks.