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Angie's List: How To Deal With, Or Avoid, A Squirrel Invasion

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- You know how nice it is to have a warm home to go to when it's cold and nasty outside?

Animals like to snuggle too. And if you're not careful, it'll be your house they'll see as shelter from the cold.

Kathy Pribble doesn't have a thing against squirrels. But she does think they ought to live outside.

"I walked in the house and I immediately knew that there was something amiss," Pribble said. "I have two cats, but they don't knock over my vase of flowers, they don't leave trails of things through my house."

"I walked into the kitchen," she added. "I had left a package of Fig Newtons out on the counter and they were torn to shreds, all over the floor a mess. But, the most surprising thing was that the water was running in the sink. So somehow this creature, which I later on found to be a squirrel, had turned on the water faucet and left my water running."

If animals invade your house, you have a couple of options: 1: You can call an Animal Control expert to extract it Or 2: You can try to contain the critter yourself.

"I dusted, ran the sweeper in the TV room and then I was ready to tackle the Fig Newtons on the floor in the kitchen," Pribble said. "As I left this room I looked back and the pillows, one happened to be cock-eyed and I decide I was going to go over and straighten it. When I lifted up the pillow I could see a squirrel asleep underneath the pillow and I thought I was going to have a heart attack."

Every year, animal control experts say there are home invasions from bugs, raccoons, mice, squirrels, even bats and snakes.

"Wild animals in your house are funny unless they happen to you," said Angie Hicks of Angie's list. "Years ago, I had a member story where she was getting in the shower and she looked down and said, 'Oh, there's a leaf in my shower.' She reached down and it was actually a bat. These animals can be dangerous and destructive, so knowing what to do in case of that problem is important."

Getting the animals out of your house is just the first part of dealing with an animal invasion.

"Animal proofing is like buying insurance," said Cory McClung, Wildlife Removal & Repair Contractor. "You are insuring and your risk is going down that you are going to have animal entry. Once animals get in they are going to make a mess and it costs a lot to clean up so in the long run buying insurance for your home pays."

Animals can be really clever about finding ways into your home. The tiniest holes may be enough for them.

"Some of the common entry points that we do see is the roof line of the house where the animal can tear the wood back and enter the attic," said McClung. "Also soffits, crawl space vents, any weak place on the structure that they can enter."

Pribble counts herself lucky there wasn't more damage to deal with. Her grandkids are happy it happened, too.

"I was telling it from one adult to another group of adults," said Pribble. "But, evidently Luke had been listening very carefully off in the corner because it wasn't much later and he said, 'Grandma, tell that squirrel story again.' So I sat down with Luke and I tried to make it childish so that he could understand all the parts and I told the story again. It wasn't five minutes and he said again, 'Grandma, tell that squirrel story." And every time I saw him for months, even up to a year, he would say, 'Grandma tell me that squirrel story please.'"

"So then I decide I would write a book," Pribble added. "I created what I call 'Grandma's Squirrel Story: a True Tale.'"

Should you fall victim to an animal invasion, Angie's List recommends you do your best not to panic. Even if you're afraid of the rat or bat or snake or whatever it is that's sought shelter from the storm. Get to a safe place and do your research because hiring a pest removal company can get expensive. Head over to our website for tips on how to find an animal wrangler who won't take advantage of your fear.

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