An animal in the crawl space incorporate a number of things the average person tries to avoid at all costs; dark, dirty, and cramped spaces. Nuisance wildlife, such as raccoons, skunks, mice and rats, and others have a differing opinion however.
Why is it so important to properly seal the crawl space of your home?
An open crawl space is a perfect place to set up home for an animal, especially during the colder months of the year. Not only do crawl spaces provide a roof and walls for wildlife to nest under, but most crawl spaces have some sort of insulation and duct work that provide warmth to the animal as they are welcoming themselves. Crawl spaces also give wildlife a place to breed and birth their young. The remnants of both male and female pheromones can last up to a couple of years, so even if the is no current wildlife activity in a crawl space there could be he potential of a mate looking to breed. During January and February skunk removal from crawlspace becomes our busiest service!
Wildlife not only can cause damage to insulation and duct work but health concerns also arise when there is wildlife present in a crawl space. Over 60% of all raccoons have been found to be carrying Giardia, Leptospirosis, and/or Roundworm in their feces and urine.
Giardia is an organism which causes symptoms of nausea, diarrhea, dehydration, and abdominal cramps when a human becomes infected. The infection is spread when one comes in contact with the disease and ingests or inhales it. Giardia can live in soil, contaminated water, and surfaces.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection in which the organism is spread through the urine of raccoons. The disease can cause diarrhea, jaundice, nausea and vomiting, muscle cramping, and headaches. Proper protective clothing and equipment must be worn when disinfecting an area being treated with the possibility of the leptospirosis organism present.
Roundworm can cause serious illness when present in a human. Like giardia, roundworm eggs are found in a raccoons feces. Some symptoms of roundworm are loss of muscle control, liver complications, and potential blindness if the organism comes in contact with ones eyes.
Homeowners should routinely check their home including the crawlspace doors, foundation vents, around drain pipes, underneath decks, and check inside the crawlspace for damage. Broken vents should be replaced with steel vents, foundation gaps closed with concrete, and decks screen with steel mesh.
For more information on crawlspaces, decks, and odor issues, check out our skunk articles!