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For Some, Census Should Ask About Critters in the Attic

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CARY — Many Americans willingly share their homes with animals by choice, but for many homeowners, some "extra" residents have set up housekeeping in the attic, walls or basement.

This is the time of year when many non-domesticated animals seek shelter to give birth to their young. Unfortunately, they may find that shelter inside houses.

Rocky Pearce is in the critter control business at Wild Kingdom Animal Rescue. The owners of a house in Cary hired him to get rid of some unwanted house guests.

"They can chew the electrical wiring up pretty good and cause shorts," Pearce says. "They can dig through the insulation. They can scratch through the ceilings, urinate."

Squirrels can work their way into the smallest of spaces and make their new home inside yours. When he catches critters, Pearce makes sure they will not get a chance to do any more damage.

"This one is going to the other side of Falls Lake," he said, "where there are no people or homes to bother yet." -->

Pearce has removed six squirrels from Jan Stone's house over the last few weeks. Stone says she has had lots to worry about since the invasion started six months ago.

"The noise, worrying about them making holes in the house and coming in," Stone says. They just move around, especially at night. When you're asleep you can hear them."

All of the construction and new development in the Triangle is forcing animals out of their natural habitat. The more that is built, the worse it gets. Experts say squirrels who are born indoors will later look for houses to build their own nests in.

"I try to find areas where farmers have agreed to let squirrels go," Pearce said. "I try to do that in the country, away from the cities."

If the critters have not moved into your house yet, just wait. Pearce says bat season is right around the corner.

Pearce also says squirrels are smarter than people may think.

If they are released within 10 miles of their nest, they will find their way back.

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Stephanie Hawco, Reporter
Richard Adkins, Photographer
Kay Miller, Web Editor

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