You think there’s *something* living in your crawl space and you’re like, “Ack!” First off, what is it? Will they cause damage, and how can I get rid of them? One of the many things you never thought you’d have to deal with in life . . .
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we understand the stress and anxiety that comes from unknown invaders creeping into your crawl space. It feels icky and you feel powerless. We’ve been under thousands of Brazos Valley homes and have definitely encountered critters over our 35+ years in business. We’ve got a few ideas for you on what it could be and how to handle things.
This article will discuss what kinds of animals are more likely found under crawl space homes in our area of Central Texas and what kind of damage they can cause. We’ll also cover what can be done to get rid of the undesirable creatures as well as how to prevent the little guys from setting up shop under your home in the future.
What Kinds of Animals Could Be Living in Your Crawl Space?
Maybe the worst part of suspecting that something is under your crawl space foundation is not knowing what it is and your imagination runs wild. Having been under far more houses than the average person, here’s what I most often see taking up residence under Brazos Valley homes:
- Mice or Rats,
- Armadillos, or
- Much less likely: raccoons, possums, squirrels, and rabbits.
Try not to panic. These animals are not out to get you or torture you. There must be something under your home that they want or need. At some point, you might need to figure out what it is that is attracting them and work to make your crawl space *less* attractive (but we’ll get to that later).
Can Critters Cause Problems Under Your Home?
Most of these creatures are not going to cause mega problems for your foundation. Skunks are likely the most problematic simply because of the smell, but that’s not going to do any permanent damage to your home.
The majority of the animals listed are not heavy-burrowing creatures. They are not digging massive tunnels and holes under your home. Even if they do dig a tunnel, it’s not in their best interest to dig a tunnel so shallow that it will cave in because they are trying to live in there, not get buried there.
At worst, a burrowing animal could result in undermining a pier or two under your pier and beam or crawl space home. But extensive crawl space damage is really very unlikely. Frankly, I’ve seen termites cause way more damage in a crawl space than any furry or slimy creature.
I think the damage an animal causes under your home is more like mental and emotional damage . . . to you. It freaks people out and they don’t like it, which is totally understandable.
How Can You Get Rid of Crawl Space Creatures?
So how can you get rid of said crawl space creatures? First, I do not recommend burning down the house because your insurance will certainly not cover that. Here are some less drastic and practical ideas for critter removal:
- Figure out what they are attracted to and remove/relocate the attraction
- DIY by setting some traps or bait that kill or poison the creatures
- DIY by setting live traps and moving to a new location
- Hire a professional pest or critter control person to kill/remove or capture/transfer
Many times, there’s something under your home that is *calling* the creatures in. Is it dripping water? A cozy, warm pile of debris? A food source of some kind? Animals tend to set up camp where something meets a need for them.
If your home is filling an essential need for some animal, make your home less *homey* for them. Hopefully, they will move along when it’s less inviting or they become more motivated to find something better elsewhere. If they don’t move out on their own, you can always evict them with the appropriate bait, traps, or professional pest control.
Just keep in mind that these things tend to take time whether you are trying to get them to naturally move away or more forcibly remove them. Living things can be uncooperative and uncontrollable sometimes – exhibit A: children. (I’m hoping no children are living in your crawl space though, right??)
Once you get all the uninvited guests out, seal off any and all entry points immediately. You’ve got to block however they have been entering now that you’ve gone through the effort to remove the offending animals.
Best Ways to Prevent Animals from Living In Your Crawl Space
Now that those undesirables are out, you don’t want them to return anytime soon. So now’s the time to employ some preventions. Here are the top 6 ways to keep the critters at bay:
- Add or make sure that skirting material is secure and complete
- Add screening to any larger ventilation openings
- Clean up the crawl space and keep it open and free from trash and debris
- Fix dripping water situations and remediate drainage issues
- Apply pest and rodent prevention treatments to eliminate food sources for larger animals
- Monitor and observe landscaping around the foundation, cut back shrubbery if needed
Before you resecure or add skirting material or screened vents, make sure that whatever has been living in there has departed. The idea is to keep them out, not trap them in. An animal trapped under your home can certainly cause damage if they can’t find an exit.
You don’t want them critters to immediately mess up anything new you just added to keep them *out* if they’re still *in* there.
Straightening everything up and keeping your crawl space neat and clean goes a long way also. Piles of stuff create warm spots and little hideaways for critters to sleep and live in. Take away anything that could offer shelter for them and make it easier for you to spot future intruders too.
Plan to re-check your crawl space regularly and often to catch any *pesky new tenants* before they get a chance to get too comfy.
You Know What’s Worse Than Critters in Your Crawl Space?
Now you know a few ideas to clear out the *pesky extras* under your home and ways to prevent future visitors. When it comes to your crawl space condition, creatures aren’t even the scariest things you can find under your pier and beam home.
Having foundation issues with your crawl space home is more intimidating and stressful than any li’l critter.
Homeowners worry when they have foundation problems (and even when it’s just an animal visitor in their crawl space). You don’t know what to do or who to trust. At Anchor Foundation Repair, we build our business foundation on education and making sure you find the answers you’re looking for when you need them.
We know you want to take care of your largest investment by making informed decisions and confident choices. If you’re worried about the condition of your pier and beam foundation, check out The Complete Picture Guide to Pier and Beam Foundation Problem Signs to see if you have any of the top symptoms of concern.