Egress windows let light and air into basement living spaces, and provide a means of escape in case of fire. But since part of the windows are below ground level, they create a well into which small animals can fall and become trapped. As a homeowner, you're left with the situation of either having to figure out how to free a wild animal from the well, or disposing of the body of a dead animal. Fortunately, you can prevent this situation from occurring.
The best way to prevent animals from falling into the egress window well is to install a cover over the well. These covers, made of clear plastic, let in light and easily pop off should you need to use your egress window as an emergency exit. They also prevent trash, leaves and snow from filling your window well. You can purchase several different types of window covers to fit your window.
Instead of installing covers on your window wells, or while you're waiting to install covers, you can provide a way out for any animals that wander into your egress window well by installing a ladder to help them escape. Find a board long enough to reach from the bottom of the window well to the ground above the well when placed at an angle. Nail a few scraps of wood on the board to serve as cleats. This will allow animals that fall into your well to climb out again.
You can fence off your window well to keep small animals from wandering into the well. Decorative garden edging four to six inches high will keep out most small animals such as rabbits, skunks and mice. Place the fence all the way around the well and secure it with garden staples or stakes.
If an adult animal falls into a window well, place a board or tree branch in the well and leave the animal alone for several hours. The animal should climb out on its own. If the animal appears sick or injured, contact the local wildlife authority for help. If a baby animal falls into your window well, put on a pair of gloves and lift out the animal, cradling it carefully. Place the animal in the shade nearby and keep pets away from it. The animal should return to its home on its own.