A day in the life of a wildlife solutions expert


Should you find bats swooping around your bedroom at 2 am, call Matt Osinskie. His phone is always on, which doesn’t please his wife. Just keep in mind that getting him out of bed and into his truck in the middle of the night is going to cost $485 plus sales tax.

When bat-stressed people hear that number, “there’s usually a lot of cursing and hanging up,” said Osinskie, co-owner of Hudson Valley Wildlife Solutions.

There are also plenty of grateful takers; he says his phone rings a minimum of five times a night in August, busy season for bats. For them, he will drive from his home in Coxsackie to anywhere from Rhinebeck to Saratoga Springs. The quicker he arrives, the better his chance to find the intruder. “That’s the latitude. I will travel farther, especially for bats. We can get bats done with two trips, sometimes three,” he said.

“We” means Osinskie and his partner, Neil Tregger. Besides bats, they also contend with raccoons, birds, snakes, squirrels and more. The duo met studying wildlife management at SUNY Cobleskill and briefly worked together at a nuisance company in Westchester before founding their own enterprise in 2012. They aren’t currently looking to hire, but for anyone interested in their line of work, it helps to have a biology background and a high tolerance for risk. “It’s a lot of fun, different every day. It’s a weird business,” Osinskie said.

After almost a decade of weirdness, Osinskie is no longer scared of bats circling his head or enormous snakes (the longest black rat skin they have found to date was 6 feet, 7 inches), though he regrets the time he put his head in a hole in a soffit (“huge mistake”) and came face to face with a raccoon.

“I don’t like working with raccoons,” Osinskie said. “They are my least favorite animal to deal with — brutal and vicious. They lunge at you. Cornering a raccoon is never a fun day and invariably they smell worse than skunks. The first thing they do is poop in your truck, and it smells for weeks. It’s awful stuff.” Skunks, on the other hand, Osinskie says, are “sweethearts.”

Ultimately the most colorful part of running Hudson Valley Wildlife Solutions is the clients. “If you call me at 2 am, I am tossing your bedroom. I am going through all the top drawers of your end table. I am seeing all of it,” he warned.


Osinskie has taken calls from people under their blankets paralyzed with fear who won’t move until he arrives. Others call, leave him keys, and go to a hotel. Some have gotten offended when he delivers the news that it will be $5,000 to bat-proof their house. Like I’m a jerk here. I didn’t buy the giant house full of bats!”

Then there are the potential clients who believe Osinskie and Tregger are capable of stopping nature. “People are more and more detached from the world around them. I got this call about a woodpecker: I can’t sleep, can you come get rid of this thing? No, we can’t remove nature from nature!” he said.

But mostly, people consider Osinskie and Tregger heroes. Bats make up a majority of their work. Clients are frequently dismayed to learn that from May 15 to August 15, bats — not humans — are protected in New York. (That’s when mother bats nurse their pups.) Installing a system in a home where bats can fly out but not back in runs the risk of separating a mother from her offspring.

“When juveniles get left behind, there’s a legal element and a moral element,” Osinskie said. “I try to run this business as low mortality as I can. Killing a bunch of juvenile bats is not something I want to do.”

Still, plans can be made during the summer to install an exclusion system when it does become legal again. And Hudson Valley Wildlife Solutions offers a reassuring signing bonus. “If you sign a contract and I’m coming back August 16, if you get a bat back in the house, I will come get it for you,” Osinskie said. “I can capture it and let it go.”

Even if Osinskie can’t exclude bats from a home during these three months, he can do interior prep work and, if there has been a reasonable assumption of exposure, talk clients through the need for rabies shots. He’s only had them once since starting Hudson Valley Wildlife, after a “dicey” situation involving an aggressive bat trapped by a client under a bathroom garbage can.

“He bit the heck out of my gloves, which were borderline garden gloves,” Osinskie said. That bat tested positive for rabies. “I didn’t want to mess around. You start laying awake at night, should I think about orphaning my kids?”

Bats are so small they can enter homes through all kinds of gaps, including those in chimneys, screens, and around window-mounted air conditioners. “If you can stick a No. 2 pencil in it, a bat can get in.” Still, seeing one bat indoors usually means there’s more than one. “Most of the folks that have bats coming in have a population in the attic and don’t know it.”

If you’re wondering what else might be lurking in your house, Osinskie says, “unless you live in a Tupperware, you have mice. Everyone has mice and the people who say they don’t are lying.”

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