Are Raccoons Dangerous Around My House?

A raccoon hanging out in Baton Rouge LA - Dugas Pest ControlRaccoons are often considered violent, aggressive, and dangerous. They forage for food in our trash cans and sneak around our yards at night, creating an unsettling environment for the fearful. They have also been proven to carry rabies in some cases. But is there truly a reason to panic if raccoons are inhabiting your yard?

While it is true that raccoons have been known to exhibit aggressive behavior, they are actually much more scared of you than you are of them. So long as you do not try to get rid of raccoons on your property on your own, they will leave you alone and keep a safe distance. If you are concerned about the raccoons on your property in Baton Rouge LA, read on to learn more about them from the Dugas Pest Control experts.

Are Raccoons Dangerous in Baton Rouge LA?

When living in the wild in their natural habitats, raccoons leave humans alone whenever possible. However, sometimes they stumble into residential areas looking for food and shelter, and when they find them, they might stick around. Trying to ward off raccoons on your own can be very dangerous—they have sharp claws, bite, and can transmit various diseases. However, they will not bite unless you threaten them.

That said, raccoons can cause a hassle by way of property damage. They have been known to:

  • Climb through chimneys and cause structural damage
  • Chew on electrical wiring, causing fire hazards
  • Damage your siding, insulation, wiring, and other parts of your home

How Can I Prevent Raccoons?

Keeping your property clean and your home sealed off will prevent raccoons from taking residence around your home. Here are some starters that you can do on your own:

  1. Clean up waste. Any food scraps, fallen fruit from trees, and other trash can attract raccoons.
  2. Seal your trash cans. Consider buying a garbage can with a latch so raccoons can’t get inside.
  3. Look for open entry points. If you’ve noticed raccoons lurking in your neighborhood, look around your house for small gaps in the siding or foundation where they could get inside your walls.

Professional Raccoon Removal with Dugas Pest Control

If you can’t get rid of raccoons on your property in Baton Rouge LA, have your local pest control company help you out. Our Dugas Pest Control wildlife specialists are trained to use safe and humane strategies that handle active raccoon infestations quickly. We also emphasize the importance of learning how to prevent raccoons on your own going forward. For a free quote on the best raccoon removal service in Baton Rouge, contact us today!

How a love of animals led to a career in pest control

Meet Debbie!


She’s one of our pest control technicians and she’s been with us for almost 4 years now.

It might seem unusual that we have a woman working as a technician in our industry, but the pest control world offers wonderful opportunities for people with all sorts of interests.

You see, Debbie has always loved nature, animals, and the outdoors. In fact, she started out working at Audubon Zoo at just 18 years old!

After many years of working as a zookeeper, curator, and educator, she moved on to another career with animals: managing an animal shelter.

Even though both of these jobs had serious challenges and tough situations, Debbie has always loved helping, learning about animals and educating people.

Then one day as she was considering a career change, her interest in the natural world led her to us in what most people refer to as the pest control business!

It was an amazing coincidence – Debbie wanted to work outdoors and manage her own schedule, and our job post was the first thing she saw. She applied at Dugas, and the rest is history… 

Know Your Enemy

It seems like an unusual career change, but a love of learning about science and nature makes Debbie a great pest control technician.

“I’m not the annihilator,” she says, “but I know that pests can get out of control, especially with our climate and terrain. All the standing water this year is a perfect example.”

By learning how to identify bugs, knowing their habits, and staying aware of the dangers they present, Debbie has quickly become one of our top pest control technicians. Once she performs an inspection, she has the knowledge and expertise to determine the best way to solve your pest problem.

She loves the challenge!

Knowing the difference between similar-looking pests and their habits helps Debbie create a customized plan to keep your home pest-free as well as safe from the diseases they can carry. She even collects some insects to show to other technicians!

So even though it seems like a former zookeeper and animal lover with 3 dogs (and maybe a foster or two), 3 miniature horses, a Cockatoo, and a Macaw might not be what you expect in your pest control technician, Debbie’s interest in nature and knowledge about animals and bugs inspire her to solve pest problems for her customers each and every day.

Next time you see Debbie in one of our vehicles headed to a job, give her a wave! We promise she’ll smile right back 🙂

Real Health Threats from Wild Animals

Dugas Pest Control provides mosquito control treatment and extermination service in New Orleans and Baton Rouge LouisianaAlthough the number of different diseases that can infect humans is quite large, most people are affected by only a few of them, and many of the diseases people do experience are easily overcome. The same seems to be true of wild animals, although statistical records do not always tell us which animals are most apt to experience what diseases and how serious some of those diseases can be. What is known is that some wild animal diseases can be passed on to humans, and several of them can be quite serious and potentially deadly.

Diseases that spread from animals to humans are called zoonotic diseases. There are a few zoonotic diseases that humans can spread to animals, but which are not widely known. Fortunately, a great deal is known about most of the more common zoonotic diseases that can make the jump from wild animals to people. For example, we know quite a bit about rabies, plague, and Hantavirus, and therefore have some knowledge of the steps that can be taken to avoid them.

Some zoonotic diseases are spread by bites or scratches, some are airborne, and a few are encountered while an animal carcass is being handled or being prepared in some way. While most people can avoid encounters with wild animals, or at least having to touch them, the same is not true of hunters who consequently are at a higher risk of contracting a certain number of these diseases. Several examples of how zoonotic diseases can be spread are given below.

  • Animal Bites – Most bites are caused by household pets, and do not result in the transmission of a disease. A person is more apt to be bitten by a wild animal, however, if the animal is approached too closely, or is touched. Most instances of rabies are caused by wild animal bites.
  • Flea and Tick Bites– Flea bites are usually harmless although they can be quite irritating and can sometimes lead to secondary infections. Wild animals, including birds, will sometimes host fleas that have been infected with some type of virus. An infected flea bite or tick bite can cause a human to become ill, even if the host animal is not. Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are often associated with wildlife but are actually caused by ticks.
  • Brucellosis – This disease is not as widespread in the United States as once was the case, but is still a major problem in Latin America and some developing countries. It is normally spread by cattle, but in the U.S. the disease is most often associated with bison. Significant efforts in the United States are made to keep open-range bison and cattle separated for this reason.
  • West Nile Virus – While this familiar virus is particularly dangerous to horses, as South Louisianians well know it can affect humans and in some cases can prove to be fatal. The common carrier of this virus is a mosquito that has been infected with the disease, but birds and other wild animals that have been bitten by an infected mosquito can also be carriers and so spread the infection to humans. The direct spreading of the virus from animals to humans is at the present time somewhat rare.

Most of the diseases that can endanger humans are viruses, while parasitic diseases are somewhat less common. When they do occur it is often the result of field dressing wild game that are hosts of parasites of one type or another, with the disease usually being transmitted by eggs which enter the human organism.

Statistically, the instances of humans being infected with diseases by wild animals are relatively uncommon, but why take the chance?

Let the professionals handle it. From squirrels in your attic to raccoons in your yard, the wildlife removal experts from Dugas Pest Control will quickly and safely restore peace at your home.

Do You have Squirrels in Your Attic?

If you have an attic in your house which you use for storage and frequently visit, the chances of one or more squirrels taking up residence there, particularly during the winter, are quite low. If the attic is empty or rarely visited however, the story can be quite different.

An attic can make a nice home for at least three types of animals: birds, bats, and squirrels. If left alone, birds are unlikely to cause a great deal of harm. Bats on the other hand can multiply over a period of several years, and have caused ceilings to collapse in more than one household from the sheer weight of accumulated guano, which besides leaving a mess can also be a health hazard.

Often squirrels are mostly a bird feeder nuisance, but if they spend most of their indoors time in your attic they can also work their way in between interior or exterior walls, where they have a potential for causing a great deal of damage. The presence of squirrels in a house is often first detected when they are heard scurrying in the walls of the home.

Squirrels don’t normally enter a house through an open door and somehow manage to work their way to the attic where they’ll feel safe. A squirrel might not even think of a house as being a place of shelter except for one thing: most houses leak heat. Squirrels seek warm places as cold weather approaches, so if they detect heat coming from a house they will look for the source. That source may well turn out to be a crack, hole, or vent through which the animal can gain entry.

A squirrel can work its way through any opening its head will fit through. If such an opening only leads to a small space, that will be good enough for the squirrel so long as it is a place it can keep warm. If the opening gives the squirrel the run of the house, or at least gives it access to the walls and the attic, so much the better. A squirrel that takes up residence in a small space will rarely present a problem. You leave it alone, because you’re not even aware it’s there, and it will leave you alone.

Where a problem arises however, is that one squirrel can become several squirrels, or at least two squirrels can, and if your home or attic is particularly attractive to a few squirrels the friends and close relations may soon join them. This does not usually occur in the numbers that bats can attain, but it is enough to cause problems.

When a squirrel can really become a danger is when it finds itself in a place where it cannot escape from. Of course, it won’t just sit there quietly waiting for death to come; it will try its very best to chew its way out. A squirrel can easily chew through most kinds of wood, especially softwoods, and drywall is no problem at all. Additionally, while chewing its way to safety it might chew through an electrical wire or cable. That might be the end of the squirrel, but it could also be the beginning of a fire. Copper pipes are no match for a squirrel’s teeth either. If it needs to chew through a pipe to find food, water, or freedom, it will do so. The end result could be an expensive plumbing bill and perhaps some water damage expenses as well.

Squirrels are cute, and they can even be tamed to some degree, but you really want to keep them away from your house unless you are absolutely certain there is no opening they can gain access to. That usually means a thorough inspection by you, by an animal control specialist, or by a building contractor who knows what to look for.

In the meantime, if you haven’t been up in your attic for a year or more, you might want to check it out for evidence of squirrels.

Baton Rouge Nuisance Wildlife 101

Dugas Pest Control provides humane wildlife trapping service in New Orleans and Baton Rouge LouisianaBaton Rouge is home to a wide assortment of wildlife and animals, many of which are able to coexist with people just fine. However, there are a number that can become pests, meaning they either damage your property or pose a serious risk to you and your family. Let’s take a look at three of the most common versions in Baton Rouge.


Raccoons are a common staple throughout Baton Rouge, whether you’re in the suburbs or the city. This is due in large part to the raccoon’s very non-discerning appetite. As an omnivore it may feed on fruits, acorns, insects, crayfish, fish, turtles, young rabbits, carrion, birds, and their eggs. However, raccoons will also go through your garbage to look for anything else it may feed on, which is quite the list.

Aside from their diets, raccoons can be real pests because of how well they survive alongside humans. Being nocturnal means most of us will never see them, even though they might find their way into our attics, garages, sheds, etc. This kind of fearlessness can be a real issue.

Worst of all, raccoons have a track record for carrying rabies. So waking up to find they got into your pet’s food is the least of your concerns. For this reason, never attempt to remove a raccoon from your property, rabies will make them hyper-aggressive and prone to attack. This can also represent a huge threat to your pets.


Opossums can grow to be about half the size as raccoons, but their bodies tend to be gray or silver with bright white faces, pink noses and ears like a mouse. Their teeth are thin and sharp and they have paws that resemble human hands with their four fingers and opposable thumbs. Long rat-like tails are also extremely noticeable.

These pests are also like raccoons in that they are extremely versatile when it comes to their diets and where they’re willing to live. While just about any swamp in the area will feature an opossum, they also love the type of shelter available to them on your property.

Fortunately, one major difference is that opossums don’t get rabies like raccoons. They are also extremely docile and would rather play dead than put up a fight. Still, cornering one is never a wise move.

Despite their perceived meekness, opossums are still an issue you don’t want to deal with. They can make a mess of your garbage, pet food and even your chicken coop. Opossums can also carry with them a number of parasites and diseases.


Squirrels are so common in Baton Rouge, you may have a hard time believing anyone could seriously consider them pests. However, squirrels can definitely become a huge problem if they get into your home.

Generally, squirrels will take the opportunity to enter your home through the attic. This is especially common during the winter, when temperatures around Baton Rouge drop and squirrels look for additional shelter. Fortunately, while they may cause some damage to the inside of your house, barn, shed, etc., they are rarely seen as a threat to your well-being.

That being said, squirrels are not opposed to chewing through telephone lines and electrical cables. If you experience issues with either in your home, it could be because squirrels are tampering with them.

Although these three pests may not always look like the most imposing creatures, it’s important that you have opossums and raccoons removed from your property as soon as you notice them. Dugas Pest Control is experienced at dealing with both. While removing squirrels isn’t always necessary, keep an eye out for problems with your property that may mean they’ve overstayed their welcome. In that case, Dugas can help too.

What type of snakes live in Louisiana?

banded-water-snake Snakes may not be anyone’s favorite creature to spot in their yard, but they are fascinating reptiles and a part of Louisiana’s natural heritage. They are also important members of our local ecosystem as for every snake with a bad reputation, there are many others that help keep the balance of nature in order.

Nevertheless, many LA residents worry about snakes hiding in their backyards, underneath decks and patios or lingering in woodsy areas. Many snakes are poisonous and leave behind painful bites. That being said, the majority of snakes in LA are harmless and are actually beneficial to the ecosystem as they limit the amount of insects and rodents and contribute to the “balance of nature.”

Interesting Facts:

1. Did you know that smaller snakes feed more than large ones? That’s right; small snakes will feed as much as once per day while large ones only eat once every two weeks.

2. When snakes are not searching for food, they’re relatively quiet and secret, and during the summer when the weather is warm, snakes become nocturnal.

How to Tell Venomous from Non Venomous Snakes

Even though snakes are an important part of the Louisiana ecosystem, they don’t get a free ticket to your home, especially because there are some breeds that are highly venomous. An easy way to tell a venomous snake from a non-venomous one is by the head. Non-venomous snakes have narrow heads, round pupils and no pit between the eyes and nostrils. Venomous snakes have triangle-shaped heads, elliptical pupils and a pit between the eyes and nostrils. A pest control company can also do a quick evaluation of the tail to determine if the snake is venomous.

If you do find snakes by your home, remove their habitat if possible; look for piles of wood or overgrown vegetation for example. Also be sure to seal openings to the home, garage or shed so that the snakes don’t relocate in these areas.

So, what types of snakes are common in the state of Louisiana?

  • Banded Water Snake
  • Black Pine Snake
  • Brown Snake
  • Canebrake Rattlesnake
  • Coachwhip
  • Common Garter Snake
  • Common Water Snake
  • Cottonmouth
  • Eastern Worm Snake
  • Louisiana Pine Snake
  • Pine Woods Snake
  • Rough Green Snake
  • Scarlet Snake
  • Texas Coral Snake

Taking a closer look at Louisiana racoon problems

Dugas Pest Control provides humane wildlife trapping service in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Louisiana In pictures, they look cute and innocent, but make no mistake; raccoons can be quite the pests. We often associate them with living in the streets and coming out at night to feast on garbage, but raccoons can also tear up people’s yards and make a home in the attic or underneath decks, leaving behind piles of waste and creating new life.

Raccoons are also difficult to get rid of because they are stubborn animals. If they need to chew a hole through the attic to get back in, they will.

Where Raccoons Are Commonly Found

Some of the most common places that raccoons enjoy nesting are in attics, underneath decks and porches, in chimneys and behind buildings. The signs that a raccoon has been in your space include tipped over trash cans and ripped up lawns. They are very social creatures and are often found in groups. January and February are their mating months, and when the babies are as young as two months old, they begin attending their parents on outings for food. Although raccoons feast on berries, slugs and frogs in the wild, they are an urban nuisance for homeowners.

Keeping Raccoons Out

Fortunately, prevention is the best key to keeping raccoons out of your space. Since trash cans are what they enjoy most, choose cans made from durable materials such as metal or hard plastic. Also make sure the can has a tight-fitting lid. Place screen wiring over chimneys so that raccoons can’t get in, and seal entrances to porches, patios and sheds. Sometimes, raccoons do get in, and homeowners are left dealing with the effects.

For example, raccoons can chew holes in insulation, raid garbage cans and prey in bird nests and feeders. If they get into the home, raccoons will make noise, scratch at the floors and walls and leave behind droppings. They can also carry diseases like roundworm, which is found in the waste, as well as ticks and fleas. Raccoons are strong animals that can damage shingles, vents and boards.

If this happens, contact your local pest control company. At Dugas Pest Control, we use humane measures that include trapping and relocating the raccoons. This type of entrapment is called wildlife exclusion. We make sure we have the whole family so that they can be relocated into wildlife as one unit.  When you work with a pest control company, you can be sure that the right measures are being used to lure, trap and relocate wildlife while giving you back your home.

Wildlife Exclusion: Getting Ready for Cooler Weather

Dugas Pest Control provides humane wildlife trapping service in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Louisiana When the weather starts to get cooler, it’s only natural that people spend more time indoors. Humans aren’t the only beings that seek shelter during the winter months; animals do too.

Cooler Weather Prompts Animals to Seek Shelter

Animals of all breeds look for safe, secure places to retreat to, and sometimes, animals find our own homes to hideout for the winter. Although the cooler weather prompts wildlife to look for shelter, animals can do so at any time. With new housing developments, shopping centers and office buildings springing up all over Baton Rouge, animals have been driven out of their natural habitats, having to find new places to live and raise their young.

If you discover that an animal has found shelter in your home, there are measures that can be taken that are both humane and effective. Read on to find out more.

What is Wildlife Exclusion?

Pest control companies like Dugas Pest Control believe in exclusion because removing the pest is only part of the solution. Exclusion is a humane approach to pest control and involves sealing points of entry on the home so that the animal can no longer get in. Our company can help you identify the animal in your home, recommend a specific plan and prevent other animals from coming into the home. We can help with all types of animals, but the most common we work with include armadillos, raccoons and opossums.

Exclusion Starts with being Proactive

Wildlife exclusion is something that should start before you have a problem. Being proactive is the number one priority. As we head into the winter months, take the time to walk around your home and survey the exterior. Look for such things as loose siding, deteriorated boards along the roof line and screens with holes.

Also be sure to take the proper measures to protect your home from wildlife by doing the following:

–      Keep trash in sealed containers
–      Use wire mesh over chimneys
–      Have trees trimmed so that they do not hang over the home
–      Use small garden fences underneath decks
–      Make sure all cracks and holes are sealed
–      Keep clothing and blankets off the floor and preferably in sealed containers
–      If there are scratch marks, urine or feces anywhere in the home, be sure to contact a pest control specialist immediately

For more assistance getting your home ready for the winter season, contact Dugas Pest Control  today.

The Importance of Controlling Nuisance Wildlife

Dugas Pest Control provides humane wildlife trapping service in New Orleans and Baton Rouge LouisianaThere is no doubt that most of us love seeing a cute raccoon in a state park or on a nature walk.  But you definitely don’t want to see that same raccoon rooting through your dog’s food when you open your garage door at night.

Or, if you see a big black snake in your yard, can you really be sure that it is probably just a harmless Louisiana king snake?  Very few people can correctly identify a snake in a situation like this.

The fact is that if you are hearing scratching and gnawing noises in your attic, or finding over turned garbage cans in the morning, there is a good chance you may have a problem with something commonly called “nuisance wildlife”.  And while some people may only experience the inconvenience of an uprooted garden, others encounters can be more serious to your health.  For instance, many people don’t know that armadillos can carry leprosy!

There are groups of nuisance wildlife animals that seem to cause most of the problems. These include:

  • Raccoons
  • Opossums
  • Snakes
  • Armadillos

What should you do if you see these animals around?

You have few alternatives in getting rid of these pests. But unless you are a pest control expert, “do it yourself” should be out of the question.  Each of these animals can be potentially dangerous, especially when cornered.  And each packs a nasty bite if you are unlucky enough to get too close.

Even if you are lucky enough to actually catch one of these animals, you need to know where you can release them and how to do this in a manner which doesn’t harm the animals.  And once they are gone, there are issues you may still need to address at your home or business to keep the animals from coming BACK – this is referred to as “exclusion”.

If you are seeing these animals regularly on your property here are a few tips:

  • Don’t try to handle, pet or feed them
  • Exercise caution if you are going to try and capture them yourselves
  • Never shoot, harm or kill one of these animals.  In addition to being inhumane, it may actually be illegal unless you are licensed to do removal
  • Check your trash cans, pet food, etc to make sure you are not leaving an easy source of food for them.
  • Make sure that decking, woodpiles, etc. are cleaned out regularly to avoid making common nesting areas too comfortable for them.
  • Keep grass and gardens under control

Many people wind up looking for help after trying unsuccessfully to trap and remove these animals.  After all, creatures like raccoons and armadillos are notoriously “trap shy”.  If you find yourself in this situation, call us today as we now offer nuisance wildlife control and removal in the Baton Rouge area.