For most New Jersey residents, autumn is the idyllic season for taking long strolls and watching leaves erupt with vibrant colors. For wildlife, however, it's the best time to rummage for food, seek out winter housing and set up breeding areas before the frost sets in. That often means setting up their winter homes on your property or association's grounds.
Although many animals can be pleasant to watch, the increasing number of common New Jersey wildlife—such as raccoons, deer, geese, skunks and squirrels—around human habitats can quickly become a major nuisance to homeowners and interfere with an association's maintenance of their property. These creatures can pillage trash, lawns and gardens, nest in a chimney or attic, create unpleasant odors, and may cause an annoying ruckus for even the most tolerant nature lovers.
Raccoons and Bunnies and Squirrels, Oh My!
According to Ron Jones, a wildlife control specialist at Animal Control Products in Monroeville, "The number of animals in our area is growing fast because the animals have learned to adapt and live in a human environment. Everybody has trash cans, landscaping—like blackberry and maples—so the animal's food source is there. There's a constant food supply, yards are more open, and the trees grow better. As a result, their natural habitat has been replaced with our easier habitat and the animals are doing better."
New Jersey's wildlife control experts list squirrels and raccoons as the most frequent complaints from condominium and co-op dwellers. "Squirrels and raccoons find ways of chewing into attics and ripping up insulation, and it's very common for a female to give birth there," says Stuart Aust, president of Bug Doctor Termite and Pest Control in Paramus. "And squirrels bear young twice a year."
This type of damage to structures and property is just one example of the three biggest concerns from wildlife invasion. "The most common problem is nuisance—such as droppings, noise, lawn, tree and shrubbery damage," says Stephen Vantassel of Wildlife Damage Control in Springfield, Massachusetts. "The second concern is property damage, and the third is health risks [for humans]."