HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - From afar, a screech owl and juvenile rat snake may look cute, but to the homeowners who found the animals inside their homes this week, they had some other choice words.
According to Virginia Beach Animal Control, the screech owl got into the home early Sunday morning, but going down the chimney. The next day, Portsmouth Animal Control assisted a resident who found a snake stuck in a glue trap.
According to Portsmouth Animal control, falling temperatures can be to blame for these unwanted guests.
"With the winter coming, certain snakes do tend to hibernate so they will be seeking warmer places. Mostly though they will follow the mice and rats and insects," explained Claire Mcleod, with Portsmouth Animal Control.
Mcleod was one of the officer who was able to help save the snake from the glue trap, but it was no easy feat.
"You have to be patient because they are too small and if you yank them too hard you can rip skin off if they are stuck to the glue," explained Mcleod.
Vegetable oil is a known tool to combat the glue in traps but it wasn't readily available, so Mcleod went for the next best thing.
"I went digging through the fridge in the office and I found country crock," explained Mcleod. "I buttered him up and off he came."
According to animal control, these critters are making their way inside your home because they are following their food source. With cooler temperatures in our forecast, mice, rats and insects, are looking for warmer places to go.
"Any kind of food will bring the rodents and the rodents will bring the snakes."
In order to keep owls, snakes and other critters out of your home, animal control says the first thing to do is get rid of their food source. Mcleod suggests not feeding any outdoor animals, since the food you leave out will attract other pests. Another tip is to make sure there are no cracks in your home's foundation or places where animals can get in. Openings can become the perfect avenue for critters to get inside your home.
It is also helpful sweep up any crumbs and left over food and to keep your trash from your home. Mice and insects love leftovers so any open bags can become a place for them to feast.
If you do decide to put out traps for pests, Mcleod suggests doing your research first, since some labeled as humane, actually aren't. Click here for more information on traps.