It’s been a busy spring for wildlife biologist Brad Ogle.
Between possums, bats, and squirrels, Ogle stays on the go; answering calls, setting and checking traps, plus inspecting homes and businesses with his own business, SouthPaw Wildlife Management. The main problems right now: bats and squirrels. Ogle said both can be extremely dangerous.
“Bats can be rabid,” Ogle explained. “They can fit through a hole that’s a half an inch wide. If they can fit their head in, they’ll get in. They can also bite you without you knowing it. They have razor sharp teeth and only have to nick you to transfer diseases like rabies. Rabies is transmitted through they’re saliva.”
What they leave behind isn’t healthy for humans either.
“Several lung fungi come from bat guano or droppings,” Ogle said. “When you have a [bat] colony, the guano builds up. dries out, gets airborne, and can spread through out your home.”
But Ogle warned not to get rid of the problem yourself, or you may face severe penalties.
“It’s highly illegal to kill a bat in any way. It’s federally mandated,” he said. “That’s because endangered species could be present. I’ve tracked three species in LaGrange: Big Brown bat, Little Brown bat, and the Mexican Free tail. “
Ogle said the second biggest danger to home and business owners is squirrels. He said the animals can do costly damage, especially if they get in an attic.
“They chew on electrical cords,” Ogle explained. ” Most insurance companies won’t cover fires that are attributed to rodent damage, because they are deemed “preventable.” Squirrels are considered part of the rodent family.”
With summer on it’s way, Ogle expects he’ll get more calls to deal with mice, snakes, raccoons, possums, and even coyotes.
Ogle is also a certified Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator (NWCO) under the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). While he’s only owned SouthPaw for a year, Ogle has 12 years of experience of wildlife trapping and working with endangered species all over the United States. Ogle said the company is humane in the way they catch and trap wildlife, but they are required to put down any animal that may have rabies.
“Everything is 100 percent dealt with humanely. Even if I have to put down a raccoon, it’s done humanely,” he said.
In addition to catching and trapping animals, SouthPaw Wildlife also removes contaminated items, cleans, sanitizes, repairs any damage, and will seal off the area so animals can’t return.
Despite the danger of his business, Ogle said he knew he wanted to work with wildlife since he was 12 years old.
“I love working with animals, ” he said. ” I like providing this service to homeowners. giving them peace of mind…. I like educating them about the species. It’s my passion and I enjoy it.”
SouthPaw Wildlife is located in Franklin, but Ogle said they do travel to LaGrange and Newnan on a regular basis. Ogle said they’ve also answered calls in Douglasville, Villa Rica, and Southwest Atlanta. He soon hopes to expand the business into Alabama.
For more information on SouthPaw Wildlife Management LLC, you can call them at (706)296-6208, visit their website at www.spwildlife.com, or find them on Facebook.