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Protecting Your Cottage from Wildlife Intrusions

Protecting Your Cottage from Wildlife Intrusions

Cottages in Muskoka serve as tranquil retreats, providing solace and relaxation amidst nature’s beauty. However, the allure of the wilderness can also attract various forms of wildlife, leading to potential intrusions and disturbances. Safeguarding your getaway becomes essential to preserve its sanctity and ensure a safe environment for you and your loved ones. In such scenarios, professional removal services play a pivotal role, offering effective solutions to mitigate intrusions and protect cottages from wildlife. 

In this post, we’ll explore the various animals that may invade your cottage, outline preventative strategies to safeguard your abode from wildlife, and discuss instances when professional services might be warranted.

Wildlife in Muskoka

The regional municipality of Muskoka encompasses multiple areas, including Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, and Huntsville. In this expanse of nearly 4,000 square kilometres, you may find various types of wildlife on your property, including:

Unlike urban and suburban areas like Toronto, raccoons tend to be less of a concern.

“We get a lot of calls for problems with raccoons in people’s homes in Toronto, but we rarely get a raccoon call in Cottage Country. I think the raccoons haven’t had to adapt to an urban habitat like their cousins in Toronto.”

  • Brandon Thorsell, District Manager

How Wildlife Can Impact Your Cottage

Wildlife intrusions can have a significant impact on your cottage, ranging from property damage to health risks and disturbances. Here are some specific examples of how wildlife can affect your cottage:

Property Damage

  • Gnawing and Chewing: Rodents like mice and squirrels have strong teeth that they use to gnaw on various surfaces, including wooden beams, electrical wires, insulation, and furniture. The gnawing can lead to structural damage and increase the risk of electrical hazards or potential fire incidents.
  • Nesting in Attics: Animals such as bats may seek refuge in your attic, creating nests and leaving behind debris, droppings, and urine. Their prolonged presence can cause damage to insulation, compromise wiring, and degrade ceiling materials.
  • Burrowing: Some animals, like groundhogs or skunks, may burrow under your cottage’s foundation or in the surrounding areas. This can compromise the stability of the structure and result in costly repairs.

Health Risks

  • Disease Transmission: Wildlife, including rodents, can carry various diseases, such as hantavirus, leptospirosis, or rabies. Their droppings, urine, or saliva can contaminate surfaces and pose health risks to humans.
  • Allergens and Respiratory Issues: Accumulation of animal dander, feathers, or droppings can trigger allergic reactions and respiratory issues, particularly in individuals with sensitivities or respiratory conditions.


  • Noise and Disruption: Wildlife activities, such as scurrying sounds in the attic or scratching noises in the walls, can disturb the peace and tranquillity of your cottage. Nocturnal animals, like raccoons or mice, may create disruptive sounds at night, affecting your sleep quality.
  • Odour and Foul Smells: Wildlife, especially if they have established nests or burrows, can generate unpleasant odours and foul smells, particularly when droppings and urine accumulate over time.

Where Do Animals Get into My Cottage?

A walk-around inspection can aid in identifying potential entry points for wildlife. Ensure all doors and windows are shut securely, look for any obvious gaps, and pay close attention to where utilities enter your cottage, like AC vents or dryer exhausts.

However, finding all potential entry points could be difficult. Chimneys, loose soffits under roof returns, and construction gaps around the fascia board are some of the most popular entry points.

Recognizing Signs of Wildlife Activity

Common signs of wildlife activity in and around cottages include unusual noises like scratching or scurrying sounds, finding droppings in certain areas, discovering chewed wires or cables, and observing damaged insulation. By recognizing specific behaviours and tracks, you may be able to identify the wildlife species involved. For example, raccoons may leave muddy footprints, while squirrels often leave chew marks on wooden structures.

Taking Preventive Measures for Wildlife Issues

  1. Identify the Wildlife Species: Observe the behaviour, tracks, and other signs to identify the specific wildlife species causing the issue. This knowledge will help in determining appropriate removal and prevention methods.
  2. Prioritize Safety: Ensure your safety and the safety of others. Keep a safe distance from potentially dangerous wildlife and avoid direct contact.
  3. Consult with Experts: Contact professional wildlife control services. We can provide specific advice tailored to the wildlife species and your cottage’s unique situation. At Critter Control Canada, we follow humane removal methods and abide by all relevant bylaws and regulations.
  4. Preventive Measures: Implementing preventive strategies can help minimize future wildlife intrusions, such as removing attractants by sealing garbage cans, storing food in airtight containers, and cleaning up fallen fruit or birdseed. Our team is capable of helping you with this step through our wildlife exclusion services [internal link], including:
    1. Secure Entry Points: Seal gaps, cracks, and holes in the cottage’s exterior, including foundations, walls, and roofs.
    2. Install Barriers: Use sturdy mesh or screens to prevent wildlife access to vulnerable areas.
  5. Habitat Modification: Make your cottage surroundings less appealing to wildlife by tidying excess debris, trimming vegetation and limiting outdoor water sources where possible. 
  6. Respect Wildlife: Remember that wildlife plays a crucial role in the ecosystem. Appreciate their presence from a safe distance and avoid actions that may harm or disturb them.

Engaging Professional Wildlife Control Services

Seeking Critter Control Canada’s professional services offers a range of benefits for managing wildlife intrusions. Our team possesses expert knowledge of wildlife behaviour, allowing us to accurately assess the situation. We employ humane practices to remove wildlife safely, minimizing harm to both animals and the environment. Our professional services provide comprehensive solutions that go beyond removal, including preventive measures such as sealing entry points and ongoing monitoring to ensure long-term effectiveness. 

We understand better than anyone that it doesn’t matter if you have a refurbished cottage from the 1940s or a million-dollar lakefront A-frame. Wildlife does not discriminate against real estate but rather searches for opportunities to enter any and all indoor spaces in Muskoka. For prompt and extensive service, contact our team if you notice any signs of animal activity in your space.

Trust Critter Control Canada for Effective Wildlife Management

Critter Control Canada is a leader in protecting cottages from wildlife, offering expertise and a range of services to address wildlife intrusions. With a team of knowledgeable specialists, we provide effective solutions tailored to your specific needs. To safeguard your property and maintain a peaceful environment all year long, reach out to us.