It is easier to keep animals out of your home than to deal with an animal that has decided to den inside or underneath your home. Regularly inspect the exterior of your home. Siding or roofing materials that have suffered weather damage or deterioration make it easier for animals to gain access. The following list provides tips on how to prevent animals from getting into your home.
The best way to keep animals out of the chimney is to install a commercial chimney cap. These caps are secured to the chimney with bolts or screws. A less expensive alternative is to use 1/2" × 1/2" mesh hardware cloth. Leave a peak over the flue to prevent leaves and sticks from accumulating. To exclude wildlife, the hardware cloth must be secured tightly. Do not use window-screening material as it will clog with soot and other debris causing a fire hazard.
From inside the attic, cover the attic exhaust fan opening with 1/2" × 1/2" mesh hardware cloth and staple into place. To make the exclosure more secure, overlap the edges of the hardware cloth with 1" × 2" pieces of lumber and nail or screw the lumber into the attic rafters.
Cover the inside of the vent with 1/2" × 1/2" mesh hardware cloth.
Inspect twice a year for signs of damage, paying close attention to areas where gables or dormers meet the roof line. Water damage can soften wood making it easy for animals to create holes or enlarge existing holes. Repair damage promptly after making sure the animal is not inside.
For porches or decks built within 2 feet of the ground, dig a trench at least 10" deep around the decks perimeter. Attach 1/2" × 1/2" mesh hardware cloth or 1" × 1" welded wire from the top of the outside joists to the bottom of the trench. Leave 6 to 8" of wire at the bottom and bend it out at a 90o angle. Fill the trench with soil or rocks. Add lattice or other cover for aesthetics.
Cover the window well with a commercial grate or plastic cover.