Have you ever been happily minding your business when some pesky critter shows up uninvited? Animals have a knack for getting under our skin and driving us bonkers with their bothersome behaviours. While all living creatures have a place in nature, some seem designed to annoy and disrupt our lives. Let’s take a look at some of the most irritating animals out there.
Oh, mosquitoes, perhaps the most infamous pests of all. As soon as the weather warms up, these blood-sucking insects come out in full force. That familiar high-pitched buzz signals it’s time to lather on the bug spray.
Mosquitoes never seem to leave us alone, especially when trying to enjoy the outdoors. They incessantly try to pierce our skin with their needle-like mouthparts. And it’s not just the itchy irritation of their bites that’s annoying.
Mosquitoes can transmit dangerous diseases like malaria, yellow fever, and Zika virus. It’s no wonder mosquitoes top the list as one of the deadliest animals on Earth. If only we could banish them all to the Arctic, where their biting habits wouldn’t bother anyone!
Like mosquitoes, flies have an incredible knack for ruining our good time. Who hasn’t had a delicious summertime picnic or barbecue ruined by squadrons of flies swarming around food?
These pests are drawn to our food like magnets. No amount of frantic shooing can deter them from landing on your burger and crawling around your potato salad. Flies spread germs and disease wherever they land with their spongy little feet. They have even been known to transmit serious illnesses like typhoid fever and cholera. Of course, flies aren’t just a danger to our food.
They also annoy us by dive-bombing our faces and buzzing around our ears. Flies may provide ecological benefits by consuming waste and decaying matter, but we’d be happy to see them buzz off permanently.
If mosquitoes and flies aren’t irritating enough, we can always count on wasps to make outdoor activities miserable. You’re relaxing on the patio when you hear an ominous buzzing sound. The next thing you know, a wasp is circling your can of fizzy drink or cramming itself into your sandwich.
These black-and-yellow-striped insects seem to exist only to pester and torment us. Sure, wasps may kill a few garden pests, but that doesn’t make up for their obnoxious stinging habits. Getting stung by a wasp is an acute pain you will never forget.
Their venom-filled stingers pack a painful punch, warning all who come near to back away from the wasp’s precious nest. Of course, this only makes them more likely to sting in defence.
Could any bird be more irritating than the common pigeon? These urban pests overrun cities across the globe. Pigeons gather in crowded urban areas to feast on our discarded food, litter our streets and sidewalks with their droppings, and generally cause a nuisance.
They coo loudly all day and night on windowsills, fire escapes, and rooftops. Pigeons are known to carry and spread diseases, and some people even develop allergies to their feathers and droppings. Their nests clog gutters and obstruct ventilation systems.
Even though feeding pigeons in public spaces is often banned, people still do it, encouraging these birds to congregate wherever humans are found. With a global population estimated in the hundreds of millions, pigeons have become synonymous with urban chaos, noise, and dirt. These birds would be far less annoying if they stayed away from populated areas.
If you’ve ever spent time at the British seaside, you’ll be familiar with the notorious seagull. These noisy, opportunistic birds have perfected the art of stealing food right from under our noses. A sunny day at the beach can quickly turn ugly when flocks of gulls swoop in, squawking loudly as they scavenge for scraps.
Skilled at snatching sandwiches, seaside treats, and even food out of people’s hands, seagulls show no fear around humans. They will hover above your picnic blanket or garbage bin, waiting to dive-bomb your meal. Seagulls are also known for their ear-piercing calls and tendency to leave droppings everywhere.
As seabirds, they play an important role in shoreline ecosystems. However, their lack of shyness and daring food-stealing habits make them a definite nuisance. Many seaside towns have resorted to creative deterrents to try and discourage these brazen birds from pestering beachgoers.
While they may seem wise and mysterious, owls become a real nuisance when they reside nearby. If an owl nests on your property or nearby trees, you’ll soon hear them making an awful racket at night.
Owls produce loud hoots, screeches, hisses, and squawks well after dark. Their noises can make it difficult to fall asleep and wake you abruptly in the middle of the night. Rural residents sometimes face major issues with barn owls nesting in attics or crawl spaces.
They are noisy, and their nests and pellets full of bones and fur can attract other vermin. While owls play an important role as nocturnal hunters, their impact on humans can be quite disruptive.
We’ve all seen cute images of raccoons looking like bandits with their distinctive black masks and striped tails. But if raccoons start frequenting your neighbourhood, their mischief and mayhem are anything but cute.
These nocturnal mammals have adapted well to living in proximity to humans. However, their intelligence also makes them brazen regarding causing property damage and nuisance behaviour. Raccoons will tear open garbage bags in search of food, strewing your garbage across the yard.
They’ll establish dens virtually anywhere, including chimneys and attics. Raccoon droppings and leftovers can spread harmful diseases and parasites. These masked bandits will also eat garden fruits and vegetables, leaving ruined plants in their wake.
And raccoons do not fear confronting pets or even people if they feel threatened. Preventing raccoons from accessing food sources is the best way to avoid problems with these pesky critters.
With their bushy tails and dog-like features, foxes might seem endearing. But when they become accustomed to human environments, foxes can become a real headache for homeowners. Drawn by the prospects of shelter and easy meals, foxes have adapted to living near humans.
However, these medium-sized canids still retain their wild instincts. Foxes will prey upon livestock like chickens, geese, and ducks. They’ll scavenge pet food, garbage, compost, and fruit trees, making a mess. Foxes mark their territory with urine that gives off a pungent, skunk-like odour.
And foxes aren’t afraid to build dens in yards, gardens, and underneath sheds. Their characteristic “screaming” howls can wake light sleepers at night. While relocating urban foxes is sometimes done, prevention and deterrents are the best defence against these cunning creatures.
Few things are more annoying than dealing with a mouse problem at home. Despite their small size, mice can cause major issues if they invade your living space. These prolific rodents can squeeze through tiny openings and cracks to enter where food and shelter await.
Once inside, mice make themselves at home, gnawing on furniture, wires, and stored food. They build nests in cupboards, closets, attics, and walls, leaving droppings everywhere. Mice are active at night, scratching around and keeping you awake with their incessant squeaking.
They have fast metabolisms, so even small populations produce noticeably large droppings. Mice can spread diseases, trigger allergies, and contaminate food with urine and faeces. Getting rid of mice involves sealing up all possible entry points and removing food sources. Otherwise, expect these annoying rodents to keep making themselves at home, to your dismay.
Lastly, we come to the rat – the ultimate urban pest. Rats outmatch even mice when it comes to causing trouble around homes. Due to their larger size, rats must consume significant amounts of food and water daily.
This forces them to seek out new sources to scavenge constantly. Inside homes, rats are destructive. They gnaw through wood, electrical wires, piping, and insulation. Rats also carry a long list of diseases transmissible to humans and pets. As social creatures, rats travel in packs, so seeing one usually means many are lurking about. The noises rats make as they scramble about buildings are enough to make your skin crawl.
Rats are prolific breeders, with females producing up to 2 litters per month. Eliminating food sources, denying access, and trapping are the best ways to rid a property of a rat infestation. Once rats invade, your headache has only just begun.