Small Animal Control – A Guide

Small Animal Control – A Guide

The armadillo

To start of our small animal control guide we’re going to start out with the armadillo, because this one can be tricky animal to trap.

The main complaint and what makes the animal a pest are the large holes the animal makes in the yard. They are often found up against the foundation of the house. They can also be very dangerous in horse paddocks which in such a situation a horse can accidentally step into the hole and end up breaking a leg.


The reason that the armadillo is more difficult to trap rather than other small animal control is because of the baiting issue since they eat grubs and worms instead of something as easy as canned tuna or cat food that a racoon or opossum would eagerly accept. There are some tricks around this like putting night crawlers in a stocking and place them inside a have-a-heart trap or placing predator urine around an area, but there are problems with these techniques. First, you can purchase a container of predator urine, but is it likely you’ll cover your entire property with it? Sounds kind of expensive and unrealistic. The worms in a stocking sound like a more realistic idea, but as we know, armadillos have horrible eyesight. To be honest, this trick hasn’t worked(yet) for us in our experience. A better idea would be having a dog that stays outdoors at night; that would surely deter any armadillo. However first, you need an outside dog, and second, you would need to have your yard fenced in.

Really, the best way to approach small animal control when talking about the armadillo would be to try something like this. As mentioned earlier they have very poor eye-site. Set up a have-a-heart trap during the morning or day(they are nocturnal which means they are most active at night) near the hole with small garden fencing set up so that there is a passage way which is created that leads directly into the trap in hopes that they will walk right into it. Remember, never attempt to hold or touch an armadillo due to the diseases it may be carrying such as Chagas disease, and others.

The opossum

The opossum is a marsupial which puts them in the same family as the kangaroo. The the opossum is a nasty, dirty creature and a call we at Meryl’s Termite and Pest Control receive on a regular basis. Unlike squirrels and even raccoons may be thought of as being “cute” by some people, the the opossum has no redeeming qualities. They are nocturnal which means they are most active at night, and they are omnivore scavengers.

The opossum | Meryl's Termite & Pest Control

The opossum are semi-arboreal which mean they spend much of their time in trees. If you have tree branches hanging over your home or any other structure it could be a way an opossum can gain entry to any weak points of the structures roofing. They also tend to be infested with fleas and ticks which can lead to another pest control issue if an opossum takes residence inside a structure. They can also carry different parasites, lice, and mites. Though not quite as aggressive as a cornered racoon, they are still very aggressive and you should never attempt to handle an opossum. Besides rabies the oposum can be host to many diseases such as Chagas disease, leptospirosis, trichomoniasis, tuberculosis, relapsing fever, tularemia, spotted fever, toxoplasmosis, and coccidiosis. In other words, you really don’t want an opossum hanging around your home or other structure.

The small animal control method that is usually efficient and successful is trapping. We at Meryl’s Termite and Pest Control of lots of experience(residential and commercial in central Florida) in small animal control with the opossum being just one of the many critters we trap. We would advise you to leave trapping to the professionals because trapping on your own could lead to getting bit or scratched which can have effects that have secondary consequences beside the bite or scratch itself.

The opossum is one critter that we’ll be dealing with in the small animal control industry for a long time to come. They are remarkably resistant to snake venom and have the ability to play dead so don’t let them fool you if you find a “dead” opossum on your property because there is a good chance they will suddenly come to life and bite you if you attempt to handle them. Always proceed with extreme caution and leave trapping and small animal control to the professionals is the best advise that can be given.

rodent control

Rodent and small animal control by Meryl’s Termite and Pest Control


To begin with the racoon is not a rodent. The racoon in an omnivorous Procyonidae and are similar to bears. Like the opossum, they are scavengers, though through our experience, even more intelligent. Still, we don’t allow the racoon to make a monkey out of us with our small animal control program.

Racoons can be destructive. I’ve had situations where they would crawl underneath a manufactured home and tear apart at air conditioning and heat ducts and even sometimes use them as passageways. They will also invade attic spaces when given the opportunity, especially when there are tree branches and limbs in close contact with the roof. Naturally, if you keep tree limbs and branches cut back and away from the structure you will be at less risk although they don’t necessarily need this short-cut or bridge to enter an attic space. They are our second most common call we get with the squirrel being the most common.

racoon | Meryl's Pest Control

How do I know if I have a racoon invading my living space? Believe me, you’ll know. Racoons are quite noisy and don’t seem to put much effort into being secretive, especially the ones who have been around human habitats. These racoons tend to be quite brave, boldly knocking over garbage can at night and ripping through the trash looking for food. They can be quite messy. Even so, most of our small animal control calls concerning racoons are for the ones who have invaded a structure.

We even have our own subspecies of racoon here in central Florida, appropriately named the Florida racoon first recognized way back in 1898. This is generally a medium-sized and dark-colored racoon with a prominent rusty rufous nuchal patch. One thing all racoons have in common is that they can get really nasty when cornered or threatened and will fight off a would-be predator viciously by biting and clawing their way to freedom. Anyone who has heard a racoon hiss before can attest to the intimidating animal that they can be. Babies may be cute but we highly recommend not coming into contact with them either as they can surprise you with a very nasty bite. This is why we offer our small animal control program.

A call for small animal control

If you suspect racoon or other rodent or small animal tactility around your home or workplace we at Meryl’s Termite and Pest Control are here to help. Small animal control is what we do and we highly recommend not coming into direct contact with racoons or other small animals or rodents not only due to the immediate danger of being bitten, but also the potential for carrying and spreading diseases such as but not limited to rabies. If you are unfortunate enough to sustain a bit or any kind of injury that may break the skin to seek professional medical care immediately.


One thing is for certain, and as anyone can attest to, you don’t want to get sprayed by this critter. The skunks are here in Florida, but they are not our number one call when it comes to small animal control. In fact, I’ve had many more encounters with skunk activity up north than here in Florida. Nonetheless, they are still here and can present a stinky problem for Florida residents. Roadkill is one of the most common encounters with skunk in our area, but the number one roadkill seems to be the armadillo.

Skunks are omnivores and at times can turn into scavengers. It’s not unheard of for them to knock over an occasional garbage can at night although the racoon is usually most responsible for this offense. The horrible smell the the skunk is known for comes out of anal scent glands and the smell is a combination sulfur containing chemicals. Believe it or not, the skunk is reluctant to use their weapon of stench as it is used for several other functions other than warding off predators. Although the gopher usually gets the blame, skunks will often dig holes in lawns in search of two of their favorite foods, namely grubs and worms.

Small animal control – skunks, racoons, opossums, squirrels

If you ever happen to catch a skunk in a “have a heart trap”, other similar kind of trap, the best way to remove the skunk is by placing a blanket over the trap before it is set. Then you can come up from behind the skunk and place the cover over the remaining open part of the trap and carry it away, although this does not guarantee you won’t get sprayed. Some people allow the skunk time to expire before they attempt to remove it. This is why we don’t recommend catching this critters on your own because once you get sprayed you come into a real problem. Plus, they are also known to carry rabies. We at Meryl’s Termite and Pest Control are available when trapping such nuisances such as skunks and other small animal control issues that you may be experiencing.


Now we’ll be talking about the squirrel, our number one small animal control call. One thing is for certain, the number of squirrel calls we receive keeps us at Meryl’s Termite and Pest Control busy, pretty much all year long with the height of the activity being during the cool winter months.

Squirrel calls keep us busy, and for good reason. Out of all the nuisance small animal control pests we deal with, the squirrel is the most responsible for fires that start in the attic with rats following in at a close second. This is why if you have squirrels(or rats or any other small animals that you may hear, find droppings, or anything else that would lead you to believe you have such activity) in your attic you must act now, do not delay. As a reminder, rodents and other small animals can do more than just damage your property. They can compromise and threaten your health and well being with the diseases they carry and if that were not enough, they also can bring fleas and ticks into your home or office as well.

Our technicians have the necessary experience in trapping small animals and rodent pests. We can service both indoors and outdoors, depending what the situation may be. We also enter hard to access areas like crawl spaces and tight attics. Our memories and experiences with small animal control and rodent control are endless and it is truly and interesting job for us because it never gets dull or boring!

Are you hearing strange noises at night coming from your attic, wall voids, or crawl spaces? Chance are your are not experiencing any kind of ghosts or paranormal activity. You most likely have a furry intruder. Other signs may include finding droppings, finding chewed up paper, boxes, torn and chewed clothing, crumbs and evidence of something getting into food items. If you have an intruder and are in need of small animal control they’ll at the very least leave subtle hints of their presence, if not more obvious signs like noises and actually seeing the pest.

We hope we helped you with our small animal control series. I can promise that even though this series is completed we will still cover small animals and rodents in many future posts yet to come, as the need arises. There is always something new happening!

Small Animal Control – A Guide