Have you ever wondered what creatures might be lurking beneath your house? In this article by Wildlife Informer, they explore eight different animals that live under houses. These animals have adapted to life underground and use the space beneath homes to seek refuge and find food. However, their presence can also cause problems for homeowners, such as damaging the foundation of the house. From moles to skunks, each animal has unique qualities and behaviors that make them well-suited for living underground. By learning about these animals, homeowners can better understand how to handle potential issues and find humane solutions.
Animals That Live Under Houses
Many homeowners may be unaware of the diverse range of animals that can take up residence right under their homes. These animals, known as subterranean animals, seek refuge and forage for food. While some may be harmless, others can cause significant damage to the foundation and structure of a house. In this article, we will explore several species that are known to live under houses and discuss their behavior and the damage they can potentially cause.
Moles are small rodents that are found across the globe. There are more than 40 mole species, seven of which are native to North America. One common mole species in North America is the Eastern Mole, also known as Scalopus aquaticus. Moles spend the majority of their lives underground, building complex burrow systems for shelter and nesting. These burrows can take over an entire yard and are characterized by distinct ridge-like tunnels, known as molehills, on the ground’s surface. While moles contribute to insect control and soil aeration, their burrows can cause significant damage to yards and building foundations.
Groundhogs (Marmota monax)
Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are fairly large rodents that belong to the marmot family. They are commonly seen munching on roadsides and in yards. Groundhogs spend their time eating during the warmer months and hibernating during winter. Their burrow systems can reach over 60 feet in length and can cause destruction to gardens and the foundation of a home. Groundhogs vary in color, but are typically reddish-brown, light brown, or grayish-brown with cream coloration on their faces.
Rats are highly intelligent rodents that can be either beloved pets or a burden to homeowners. They have excellent hearing and use their highly sensitive whiskers to navigate their surroundings. Rats are known to burrow and seek refuge in attics and underneath homes. They are nocturnal creatures and are difficult to trap due to their intelligence. Rat infestations can cause significant damage to structures through gnawing, urination, and nesting. As females can give birth to over 10 babies in one litter and are in heat every four to five days, rat populations can grow rapidly within a home.
Voles often get mistaken for moles and shrews, but they have some distinct differences. Unlike moles and shrews, voles do not create prominent ridge-like surface tunnels, and they do not have the long, pointy snouts that moles and shrews possess. Voles have stubby snouts, light to dark brown fur, and typically grow to be about seven inches in length. Common signs of vole damage include interconnected runways and small holes scattered throughout a yard. Voles tend to destroy lawns, shrubbery, and trees by nibbling on roots and bark.
Opossums are nocturnal marsupials that are often found lingering around decks and porches. The Virginia Opossum, also known as Didelphis virginiana, is the only marsupial native to North America. They have white faces with gray bodies and long, bare, prehensile tails that can grasp objects. Opossums do not dig or burrow, but they can be found hiding under decks, porches, sheds, and accessible crawl spaces. While their presence may not be appreciated, opossums actually help to reduce harmful insect and rodent populations.
Raccoons (Procyon lotor)
Raccoons are nocturnal creatures that are easily identifiable by the black patches around their eyes, resembling a mask. They have a grayish-black body with a bushy, ringed tail. Although raccoons do not burrow, they may create small holes in yards as they forage for insects. Raccoons are opportunistic feeders and can cause damage to a home if they manage to enter an attic. They can tear away at roofing or small holes created by other animals. Raccoons take advantage of a wide variety of food sources, including nuts, berries, eggs, small rodents, and occasionally human or pet food left outside.
Foxes are found in many parts of the world, with the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) being the most widespread species. Red foxes have reddish-orange and brown fur with white fur on their cheeks, throat, and underbelly. They have a long, bushy tail that helps keep them warm in colder months. Foxes do not burrow but may dig to create dens for shelter. They may also take over larger abandoned burrows created by other animals. While they typically seek shelter in natural habitats, such as caves or burrows, foxes generally do not cause harm to yards or houses. However, it’s worth noting that rabies can be a common occurrence among foxes.
Skunks (Mephitis mephitis)
Skunks are easily recognized by their distinct white stripes along each side of the body and a single white stripe located between the eyes. The most common skunk species native to North America is the Striped Skunk. Skunks dig small holes underneath the foundation of a home or yard for foraging and slightly larger ones for burrows. While their diet mainly consists of insects and small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, they can damage lawns and negatively impact the foundation of a house with their holes and burrows. However, skunks can also help get rid of pests that destroy plants.
How Animals That Live Under Houses Cause Damage
While it can be a pleasant sight to spot wildlife in your yard, animals that dig and burrow can cause serious problems for homeowners. Burrowing animals loosen the soil, compromising the stability of manmade structures. Rodents, in particular, can cause internal damage by gnawing on wood, wiring, and other household components. Even non-rodent mammals can cause similar issues. The best solution to dealing with these unwelcome guests is to call a humane wildlife removal service.
Animals that live under houses can create a range of problems, from damaging the foundation to destroying gardens. It’s important for homeowners to be aware of these potential issues and take appropriate steps to address them. By understanding the behavior and habits of these animals, homeowners can better protect their homes and property from damage.