Squirrels, while cute to observe in their natural, outdoor habitat, make unpleasant house guests. From alarming noises in your attic to strange smells in your garage, these fluffy, oft-adorable rodents can cause major problems for homeowners. Instead of running screaming when you discover squirrels taking up residence on your property, learn a little bit about them, their habits and their needs to better deal with them.
Squirrels Playing Games In Your Home?
Are you having squirrel problems? Call Critter Control today at (574) 825-1079 in South Bend and Elkhart,
or (260) 632-5106 in the Fort Wayne area and our trained staff will be there to help with your squirrel removal needs.
Appearance and Description
Squirrels are members of the Sciuridae family. These small to medium sized rodents are closely related to chipmunks and prairie dogs and are found on every continent of the world, with the exception of Australia. Ranging in size from one to two feet long (between roughly 30 to 64 cm) — including their usually busy tails — these critters sport thick gray, black, red or brown fur that usually, but not always, contrasts from the fur on their underbellies.
They’re active climbers, and as such are muscular despite their small size. Their sharp claws are an asset to their climbing. Flying squirrels and tree squirrels spend the majority of their time in trees, the former group gliding from branch to branch and the latter group scrambling about. Ground squirrels prefer to stick to earth and can be found in underground tunnels or burrows.
Habitat and Diet
Squirrel nests are constructed from leaves and branches, providing shelter from the elements. Squirrels may use natural structures as dens — tree cavities or root hollows, for example, as this is easier than constructing a nest from scratch. Ground squirrel burrows are usually found at the base of trees, while flying and tree squirrels nest higher in the branches. Different species have different preferences for the height at which they construct their nests or even the type of tree they settle in or around.
Squirrels are omnivores that prefer a plant heavy diet rich in nuts and seeds. They will, however, occasionally eat insects and birds. They’re notoriously opportunistic in their diet and won’t refuse leftovers from an outdoor meal, seeds from easy to access birdfeeders or even scraps from your garbage cans.
Signs of Squirrels on Your Property
Because they’re so ubiquitous and have learned that the presence of people means a chance at eating well, squirrels are a common sight in residential areas. They’re also smart enough to know that your home, garage and outbuildings provide a cozy place to overwinter away from inclement weather and cold temps.
One of the first signs you might notice from squirrels that have taken up residence in your home are scratching or skittering noises as they move about in your attic, crawlspace or in your walls. Like other rodents, squirrels gnaw and grind their teeth to keep them in good shape. You might also hear squeaking, chirping or barking from these critters as they communicate with one another.
You may also find squirrel droppings in your home. Their feces are pill or cylinder shaped, about the size of a raisin or jellybean, and light brown. Proper removal and sanitation is required when dealing with squirrel feces and urine, as diseases like leptospirosis, typhus and tularemia can be transmitted to people by way of their droppings.
Squirrel Damage and Control
Just because squirrels aren’t usually aggressive to people doesn’t mean they aren’t a nuisance. Their ability to cause damage to property is nearly unparalleled. They dig and chew ceaselessly and it doesn’t matter whether the object of their attention is your favorite tree, the support beams that keep your house sturdy or even electrical wires running into your home. Not only can their damage endanger themselves, but you and your family as well.
Effective squirrel control requires a multi-pronged approach consisting of excluding squirrels from your home and making your property less attractive to newcomers. If necessary, a qualified Critter Control specialist can help you trap and remove any squirrels currently in residence in your home.
Exclusion and Removal
Excluding squirrels from your home and making the premises less attractive means sealing up any cracks, crevices and easy modes of entry. Window screens should be repaired and vegetation trimmed. If squirrels are drawn by your garbage, consider cans with locking lids. Critter Control specialists can help you identify possible means of entry and exit from your home and how best to seal them.
Removal of squirrels from your home can be tricky in some locations, as certain states may classify squirrels as game, requiring a permit to trap. A wildlife specialist can identify, handle and remove squirrels safely, humanely and legally.
How Critter Control Can Help
We carry a promise to protect people, their property and the wildlife we work with. We won’t exterminate squirrels like some pest control companies – we will humanely remove them from your home wherever possible and work with you to exclude squirrels so the problem doesn’t reoccur. If you’re dealing with unwanted squirrels in your home, give our wildlife experts a call today at (574) 825-1079 for help.