Some people might think that squirrels look cute and might even wonder why you would consider them to be a pest. If they invade your home you will quickly discover that there is nothing cute or nice about an unwelcome visitor who causes a huge amount of damage and disruption. If a family of squirrels takes up residence in your attic, for instance, they could quickly strip insulation from your electrical wiring, chew their way through woodwork and ceilings, and even contaminate your cold water tank with droppings and urine.
If that happens to you you will want to contact a professional immediately who has the know-how to successfully arrange humane squirrel removal and suggest measures to prevent them from coming back again. Squirrels might be viewed affectionately by wildlife watchers but they have the capacity to cause a huge amount of damage to your property if they decide to set up a home in your attic. The problem you have as a homeowner is that they are viewed as a protected or endangered species in quite a number of states, mainly because their numbers have fallen in recent years. What you want is to find a balance where you allow the squirrel to enjoy their natural habitat outside but discourage them from entering your home, where they will have to be humanely removed if that happens. Here is a comprehensive guide on the threat squirrels pose to your property and how to arrange their removal in the best way possible for you and the animal.
A brief look at squirrels
A fundamental personality trait of squirrels is that they are very adaptive and have extremely strong survival instincts. The bottom line is that squirrels are extremely resilient and are more than capable of surviving for about ten years in the wild and double that time in captivity. Squirrels usually mate about twice each year. It varies according to the species of squirrel. The gestation period is only between three and six weeks and they often have two or three babies each time. It takes the babies ten weeks to be weaned and they reach sexual maturity in about twelve weeks. That means the reproduction cycle is relentless and once they nest in your attic the problem is only going to get bigger if you don’t deal with a squirrel infestation. A typical squirrel will munch their way through roughly one pound of food each week. They are good at finding food sources and their survival skills mean they will be able to maintain themselves by adapting to their environment.
It should also be noted that they have some notable features that make them a worthy opponent when you are trying to find ways to remove them from your home. It is usually a good idea to call a squirrel removal professional as soon as you know you have a problem. To give you an idea of what you are up against, let’s take a look at some of those notable features and personality traits. They have excellent vision as a result of their large eyes that are wide-set. They also have an impressive sense of touch and they are very adept at picking up vibrations. This alerts them to dangers well before they are potentially in danger from that threat.
As well as being very nimble and quick, squirrels are very tenacious and resilient. This means they are a very competent adversary that will be extremely difficult to trap and remove. In order to successfully remove squirrels from your home, you will need to have an in-depth knowledge of their abilities and behaviors. Knowing their hunting patterns, how they source their food, and plotting a way to compete against their athletic ability and intelligence will prove to be a test. What you need to know is that a typical squirrel will invade your home because they are searching for a place that offers them warmth, comfort, security, and a source of food. The problem you face is that a typical home offers all of these things. As the description confirms, a typical squirrel is well prepared for resisting your attempts to remove them once they have started a nest in your attic.
What types of squirrels are there?
We have described the personality traits and strengths of a typical squirrel. There are a number of different species, and although they share many similarities when it comes to behavior and survival skills, they do have certain features unique to their breed of squirrel. The Eastern Gray squirrel is common in the Eastern half of the United States and Canada. It is predominantly gray in color with a brown underbelly. A gray squirrel with black or white fur tends to be more tolerant of colder conditions. Their typical lifespan is in the region of twelve years. Ground squirrels have striped fur and a furry tail. Different breeds are dotted around the US and some states have laws that make them a protected species. This breed usually lives about four years.
The American Red squirrel is also known as a Pine squirrel or a Chickaree. Their main body color is a mixture of gray and beige with streaks of red, making it easy to distinguish from other breeds. Their tails are red and black, and their striking appearance is completed with eyes that are outlined in white. The American Red doesn’t have a great survival rate compared to some of its counterparts. Barely 20% of these squirrels live more than a year. The survivors that live beyond a year have a lifespan that rarely stretches beyond eight years.
Fox squirrels are often confused with Red or Eastern Gray squirrels because they are very similar in appearance. The Fox squirrel has a red fluffy tail that is a flame red color and has gray tips. They have very small ears with tufts of red hair and an off-white underbelly. The vast majority of Fox squirrels don’t make it to adulthood. If they do reach maturity, they can expect a maximum lifespan of between ten and thirteen years in the wild.
The Southern Flying squirrel is very aptly named. Is a type of flying squirrel that is prominent across the United States. There are three distinct types of flying squirrels residing in the country. The Southern Flying squirrel frequents the Eastern half of the US and their markings are grayish brown fur with a white underbelly that is almost hairless. They also have wing membranes that give them their flying capabilities. Their bodies are typically ten inches long with a tail that spans about five inches. This breed of squirrel is considered to be extremely adaptable and very hardy.
A squirrel removal expert will be able to identify the breed of a squirrel that has invaded your property by its markings and individual personality traits. This is obviously relevant to the plan required to clear them from your home in the best way possible, for both you and the squirrel.
How do you know you have squirrels in your home?
As all squirrels have a certain degree of intelligence and great survival skills it is possible that you may get clues about their presence before actually seeing them. Here is a look at some of the obvious signs that tell you squirrels are present in and around your property. You will often hear an increased amount of activity in your attic in the form of rustling and scratching sounds. This is an indication that they are carrying out nesting activities. If you check out what is happening in the attic you will likely see droppings dotted around in various places. A squirrel removal contractor will often be needed to identify these droppings and confirm what you are dealing with. It is also possible that you will encounter a particularly pungent smell of urine. If that’s the case, it is likely that the infestation has been carrying on for some while before you noticed it. Take a look around the outside of your property to see if you can spot a noticeable amount of squirrels congregating near your roof line or taking a high position on your fence.
Another sign to look for outside is when bird feeders have been knocked over and the fruit and nut contents are going down quicker than they would if only birds were feeding there. The squirrels might also strip bark from your trees for nesting. Look out for this activity. You are also very likely to find evidence of squirrels in the form of holes in vents or damage that has occurred to the insulation material in your attic. If you have trees that are close to your property this could be an entry and access route being used by squirrels. They are brilliant climbers and can easily scale a great height with a minimum of fuss. If you can see clear evidence of a squirrel infestation on the inside and outside of your property you will need to take remedial action as a matter of urgency.
Dealing with the problem
It cannot be emphasized strongly enough that squirrels are tough adversaries and it will be a tough challenge to remove them from your home once they have found a way in and started nesting and breeding. Every breed of squirrel has survival instincts in its DNA. It knows how to outwit predators and that means you will need to get professional help to remove them. A plan of action will be needed that is based on a number of relevant factors. You need to know where they are in your home, what type of squirrel you are dealing with, and how many there are to contend with. There are two main factors to consider when it comes to getting rid of squirrels from your property.
The first is a proactive approach that involves finding a suitable repellent and deterrent solution. You need to be fully aware that all squirrels have excellent skills when it comes to finding and exploiting weaknesses in your property’s defenses. They only need a very small opening of a couple of inches to get inside. Check to see if there are any parts of your roof or near any solar panels you have that could be exploited. They are also very good at chewing your siding to create an opening to get inside. It goes without saying that you really don’t want them to get inside. Once there, they are capable of destroying wires, insulation, personal property stored in the space, and all sorts of materials such as wood and plastic. They are highly capable of causing thousands of dollars of damage and could even create a fire risk. The food they bring into your attic space will also create an environmental hazard. It is neither safe nor sanitary to allow squirrels to stay in your attic. With that in mind, what are your options for removing them?
A squirrel repellant is widely considered to be a humane way of ridding your home of them. A repellant is designed to be so unpleasant to a squirrel that they will move out and seek somewhere else to live. There are natural squirrel repellent options and ultrasonic devices available that may also have some impact. Squirrel traps can be a humane solution. A Sherman trap is designed to keep the squirrel alive whilst trapping it so that it can be removed and relocated. Bear in mind that squirrels are highly intelligent creatures and they are very good at learning what a trap is and what it looks like. The truth of the matter is that once a family of squirrels is in your attic it is going to be a real challenge to get rid of them.
The best approach is often to seek out professional help as soon as possible. Although there are all sorts of DIY options to try, you could end up spending a lot of time and money on the problem without actually getting rid of them. It is always a better approach to rely on someone who has the knowledge and skills to formulate a plan of action that results in the efficient and humane removal of squirrels from your home.