Joseph Balistreri had always been a wildlife lover, but knew that conflicts between wildlife and homeowners were increasingly inevitable as people move into territories that contain abundant wildlife. Balistreri wanted to provide effective solutions to remove wildlife from homes without harming them. Many animal species are quickly adapting to urban or suburban life and one of the most common and frustrating species for homeowners to deal with is raccoons. Why?
Raccoons are really cute, aren’t they? And some of the YouTube or Facebook posts showing them up to their usual tricks are a lot of fun to watch. But if they sneak into your garage in the middle of the night, open up your trash cans and spread rotten garbage all over the place? Or take a swim and poop in your sparkling in-ground pool? Trust me, you will not be laughing! And somehow they seem to be able to get into places that are blocked, locked or covered up.
Tim Traver called them “break-in artists,” noting that no chimney flue, garbage can or campground cooler is safe from their prying hands (Northern Woodlands, 3/31/14).
A wildlife removal expert like Balistreri can certainly trap and take a live animal to a more remote area without undue harm (to him or the animal), but that doesn’t prevent other animals or even the same one from returning. Raccoons seem to be able to subvert most of the common attempts at discouraging them, so he knew the solution would be in creating something that the raccoons would not want to come near.
According to Tim Traver, raccoon paws are particularly sensitive and contain more cells that detect mechanical stimulus, such as pressure, than most other mammals. In fact, only humans and primates have similar or greater ability. So Balistreri focused on creating a product that would take advantage of that fact, and Critter Pricker was the result. Balestreri promoted his invention by exhibiting at numerous trade shows, including Pestworld 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland, and Everything Under the Sun Expo, in 2018. Patents were granted in January of 2018.
Critter Prickers are strips of polypropylene plastic with pointed spikes with an interlocking snap and hook design enabling the strips to be connected either end to end or side to side. Ten strips put together create a pad of roughly three square feet. The pads are placed in targeted areas near pools, trash cans, feeders and attics. When raccoons (or other nuisance animals) encounter the spikes, they are deterred from continuing into the targeted areas. Critter Pricker currently has pest control outlets in Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts, Florida and California.