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Some animals are natural pest control technicians. From fly-eating toads to mice chasing cats there’s an animal out there that would make a great pet and supply a pest control service too.
Dogs have been used for centuries as rat catchers and along with cats they are still employed as an effective and cost-efficient means of rodent control on farms. Toads make unusual pets. They are super fly and mosquito catchers. Who could resist this guy here as a pet?
If you have a pond or standing water introduce an American toad. An adult toad will eat up to 25 mosquitoes a night. They also love flies, crickets and slugs.
To make a larger dent in the mosquito population encourage bats to nest in your garden by installing a bat box. A single brown bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in one hour. Bats like warm, tight spaces so make sure you place your bat box place in full sun.
Bat lovers will be interested to note that this year had been declared the “Year of the Bat” by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and August 27, 2011, is International Bat Night.
A pet falcon will scare any pigeons from nesting near your property with the added bonus of keeping the local mice population in check. In order to get a pet falcon you need a Falconry Permit from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service plus state permits where required. Training on how to care for the bird, including a written test, is mandatory. More information is available here.
Assassin bugs are one of the very few natural predators of Bed bugs. They are very aggressive and impossible to tame so don’t make great pets. Their only appealing quality is that they have been known to completely eradicate Bed bug infestations.
Assassin bugs earn their name by lying in wait for unsuspecting prey like bed bugs, before pouncing on their victim and injecting a toxin into their prey’s body that will dissolve the tissue ready to be sucked up. However, it’s best not to introduce them into your home as they will seek a blood meal from your pets and your family. And if you have introduced bats to keep the mosquitoes in check, they will attack them too as illustrated in this video from National Geographic.
Cats are America’s most popular pet, followed by dogs. If there’s a mouse in your house a cat will be sure to find it, and they will spend hours patiently watching and waiting until a rodent emerges. Cats are also very useful at chasing house spiders and moths.
Terriers like the Brussels Griffon were used as rat catchers in stables. Jack Russells were commonly used on farms as they were quick and small enough to wriggle their way into nooks and crannies and would happily tunnel for vermin. They possess teeth as large as a German shepherd and can easily kill rats by grabbing and shaking them. It is important though if you do decide to employ a rat-catching dog to ensure it receives its shots to minimize any concern of contracting a disease while rat hunting.