Bats in the belfry — er, attic? Tips to keep the wildlife out of your home

Adorable chickadee

By Blandford Nature Center and Victoria Mullen


Ah, wildlife. Who doesn’t enjoy watching birds eat from a feeder or squirrels chasing each other around the backyard trees?


Yes, wildlife can be just ducky — until some poor, little critter gets into your garbage or finds his or her way into your house. It’s amazing how destructive these little beasties can be. To be fair, it’s not their fault.


Here are some measures you can take to make sure the wild stays wild — outside:

  1. For porches or spaces under buildings like garages and sheds, bury chicken wire a foot down in the dirt and affix it to the bottom side of the structure to prevent animals from living under there.
  2. Cover laundry vents with mesh or chicken wire to prevent birds and other animals from getting in or nesting there.
  3. Cap chimneys to prevent wildlife from coming in the chimney. Many types of wildlife, including bats, owls and raccoons think it’s a cozy place to stay or investigate. Don’t worry — Santa can still get through.
  4. Secure all garbage, recycling and compost containers or bins. You may not be feeding wildlife directly, however, if the lids of your waste containers aren’t firmly shut, wildlife could be encouraged to return to an easy-to-access food source.
  5. Don’t feed animals (bird feeders, etc.) if you don’t want to encourage them to be around or possibly inside your home.

So far, so good, right?


But what if you happen across an injured or baby animal that can’t survive on its own? Try calling a wildlife rehabilitator.


Gray squirrel

The following are the main rehabbers in the Grand Rapids area:

  • Peg & Roger Markle of Wildlife Rehab Center LTD  616-361-6109
  • Sjana Gordon of Michigan Wildlife Center 616-885-4223
  • Sue Stamy of Braveheart Raptor Rehab Center 231-821-9125
  • Buck DeRiuscher for lost banded pigeons 616-897-8206 (Can call to figure out where the bird came from, also look online at The owners often don’t want the banded pigeons back, as they see them as defective. These pigeons can be kept as pets or you can see if the animal shelter will take them in.)

It is illegal to rehab skunks, bats, and raccoons in Michigan, so there are no wildlife rehabilitators that can take them in.


The following pest removal services will charge a removal fee:
  • Advantage Wildlife Management 616.460.3966
  • Mike’s Wild Animal Control 616.340.4263
  • Mike Roberts 616.738.8565 (Will relocate animals, euthanize if injured only)
  • Critter Control 616.245.4680
  • Chimney Sweeps 616.774.0027
  • Grand Rapids Pest (Insects) Control 616.784.2288
  • Bee Movers G&S 616.364.7736
  • Organization for Bat Conservation 1.800.276.7074 (Located in Bloomfield Hills, they can answer questions about bats [removal, housing, etc.])

List of other Licensed Michigan Wildlife Rehabbers.

Live trapping

Before you decide to live trap an animal…

  1. You need to figure out where you will relocate it. To decrease the possible spread of diseases, mammals cannot be relocated outside of their original county. You need to have the permission of the property owner whose land you’re releasing the animals on, as they may not want your nuisance animal to become theirs. Blandford doesn’t allow animal dumping on the property because we already have established animals and adding outside animals can put stress on our flora and fauna populations. It also increases people vs animal incidents on the property.
  2. Once you remove an animal from your property, you need to find out how to exclude that animal or another animal from coming right back to that area, such as under your porch, inside your attic, etc. Otherwise, you can be dealing with the problem again.
  3. It is recommended to cover the live trap with a towel or tarp, because if you trap a skunk, on purpose or not, if it’s covered it will not spray you.

Don’t use rat poison!

Many rodent poisons do not kill the rodent right away; they cause the animal to slowly bleed out. This slow death allows other animals to eat that rodent, causing you to poison that animal as well. Pets and children can get into those poisons too, so it’s not worth the risk of losing a love one. Using a snap trap is the better way to go.


If you are still having problems with pest wildlife, please contact one of the wildlife management services listed in the contacts above.