floods, rats and other rodents may move into buildings to
escape floodwaters. Snakes are often forced into places where
they are not usually found. Upon re-entering flooded homes
or buildings, you will need to be wary of these possibilities.
Rats can carry disease and parasites, while snakes may be
poisonous or at least frightening. Neither pose serious problems
in Wisconsin, but the chance of an incident increases after
of the danger of rat infestation, use caution when entering
a solid club and a flashlight.
likely hiding places for rats. Check closets, drawers, mattresses,
appliances, upholstered furniture, stacks of clothes or
paper, dark corners, attics and basements.
extremely careful when approaching rats. They may be aggressive.
continue to be a problem after floodwaters recede, contact
your county Extension agent or professional pest control operator
for advice. If you proceed on your own be extremely careful
with any rodenticide or trap. To minimize rat problems:
trash piles and piles of damaged furniture or equipment.
Store materials on platforms or shelves 12 to 18 inches
above the ground.
food sources. Store food supplies in rat-proof bins or containers.
Suspend garbage containers from trees or posts. Remove animal
carcasses, as they may attract rats.
you are bitten by a rat, wash the wound with soap and water
and see a doctor immediately. Rats may carry diseases and
at the least, rat bites can cause infection. If the rat
is captured or killed, health authorities may wish to check
it for rabies or other diseases. When picking up a carcass,
use the inside of a plastic bag to avoid touching it. Double-seal
it in plastic and freeze until further notice.
important to know what poisonous snakes may be common to your
area. Only two poisonous snakes exist in Wisconsin: the timber
rattlesnake and the massasauga rattlesnake. Both species are
restricted to the southwest quarter of the state. The massasauga
is an endangered species and is rarely encountered. Non-poisonous
snakes, however, are common and may bite. Remember that all
snakes are beneficial to the ecosystem and should not be killed
indiscriminately - poisonous snakes included. But follow these
precautions upon entering a flooded structure or area:
alert for snakes in unusual places. They may be found in
or around homes, barns, outbuildings, driftwood, levees,
dikes, dams, stalled automobiles, piles of debris, building
materials, trash or any type of rubble or shelter.
a heavy stick or long-handled tool handy. After dark, carry
a strong light.
beginning rescue or clean-up operations, search the premises
thoroughly for snakes. Wear heavy leather or rubber high-top
boots, and heavy gloves. Use rakes, pry bars or other long-handled
tools when removing debris. Never expose your hands, feet
or other parts of your body where a snake might be.
to children the dangers of snakes during storm or flood
conditions and the precautions they should follow. Do not
allow children to play around debris.
you kill a poisonous snake, use a stick, rake or other long-handled
tool to carry it away for disposal.
you realize you are near a snake, remain still-sudden movements
may cause the snake to strike. If the snake doesn't move
away from you after a few minutes, slowly back away from
someone is bitten by a poisonous snake, call a doctor immediately.
If bitten by a non-poisonous snake, clean the wound and
watch for signs of infection.
chances of finding snakes indoors, block openings where they
might enter buildings. Snakes can pass through extremely small
openings and usually enter near or below ground level. Some
sure doors, windows and screens fit tightly.
walls and floors for holes or crevices. Inspect the masonry
of foundations, fireplaces and chimneys. Then plug or cement
spaces around pipes that go through outside walls.
galvanized screen over drains or ventilators, or over large
areas of loose construction.
Your county agricultural agent
"Snakes of Wisconsin," (G3139);
"The Raccoon," (G3304);
"Skunks: How to Deal With Them," (G3273);
"Meadow Mouse Control," (A2148);
"Tree Squirrels in Wisconsin: Benefits and Problems," (G3522).
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