Squirrels: Their Behavior & How To Get Rid Of Them
Those cute little creatures we see scurrying up and down trees, on our fences, and around our property can unfortunately come with some not so cute consequences. That’s why squirrels fall under the category of nuisance wildlife and many people are looking for ways to exclude them from their property. Before we talk about squirrel removal methods, let’s get to know the fluffy little critters a bit better.
Squirrels are lovers of the forest and are known to compile their food in small amounts in different locations. They mostly eat nuts and seeds, but are also known to eat berries, fungus and insects. You can find squirrels gathering their food during the day and sleeping at night.
Squirrel Mating & Breeding Habits
Female squirrels will give off a scent during mating season which begins at each new year. This scent attracts male squirrels who then fight for their attention and gain dominance over other males.
The females will mate multiple times with more than one partner. They then give birth to anywhere from one to five babies at a time.
Squirrel nests are built with twigs, leaves and grass. They are usually constructed along branches or on buildings and are used as either a place for sleeping or as a shelter for babies. Squirrels are known to be incredibly territorial over their nests.
The most common infectious diseases of squirrels are rabies, leptospirosis, lyme disease, tularemia and salmonellosis. They also may carry various parasites such as ticks, fleas and mites.
Squirrels are known to destroy landscaping, eat vegetation, and invade homes. They can cause damage to lawns as they dig for nuts and chew on bark of trees as well as shrubbery. They also enjoy fruits and vegetables, which means they can destroy a crop quickly.
When it comes to the home, squirrels can cause exterior damage to roofing as they often will chew openings to build nests. Similarly, they will seek nest areas inside the home – usually the attic, and can cause damage to insulation and wires.
Squirrel Removal Myths
A squirrel removal method that turns out to be very ineffective, is rat poison. Squirrels will actually avoid eating rat poison and therefore will not react to it. This is also a very inhumane of wildlife removal and should be avoided altogether.
Another squirrel removal myth is that you can use squirrel repellent to keep them away. These products are not effective in removing unwanted squirrels and should not be considered as an effective method.
Laws and regulations
It’s important to know about the laws and regulations in your area for squirrel removal. Removal should be taken care of by a professional, however, squirrels should always be released within 24 hours of trapping.
Additionally, squirrels must be released within one kilometer from where they were originally captured.
When is squirrel baby season?
Baby squirrels are usually born two times a year. The first litter comes in either March or April, with the second following in either July or August. Litters are generally somewhere between one to five babies.
Babies are very dependent on their mothers for the first five to eight weeks of their life, after which they become very independent.
Removal Method #1: Excluders
A removal method for allowing squirrels to remove themselves from unwanted areas is with a one-way excluder door. To use it, attach the excluder door over the squirrels’ entrance to their ‘home’. Once they leave the space and enter the excluder door, they are prevented from returning.
You will want to wait a few days after installing the door for the squirrel to leave. The process can take time so it will be important to stay patient.
Be cautious when using the one-way excluder door to remove wildlife. If you are using the excluder door during baby season, it is best to be mindful as babies who aren’t strong enough for the door should be removed by hand.
After you have successfully removed the squirrel, be sure to repair and protect the area. You can do this by removing food sources, sealing up any holes and cracks in the area, clearing the area from any woodpiles and debris, and keeping your home clear of clutter.
Removal Method #2: Live Trapping
Always assess the situation before deciding whether or not to take on live trapping. If there are any babies in the nest, removal can be quite tricky.
Ensure you have the right equipment for trapping a squirrel and that you are well-informed on how to use it.
When squirrels are trapped and relocated, it can be very hard on them as they are often disoriented and unknowledgeable on their new surroundings. The best option is to hire a professional exclusion worker in order to make sure that the squirrel will be able to survive once relocated.
Squirrel Exclusion Work
Overall, exclusion can be a great method for animal removal when done correctly.
It’s most likely to work on a single, isolated squirrel as the area can be blocked off and narrowed down to just one place.
Always be sure to know about the laws and rules around exclusion in your area, and contact a professional should you need to rid your home of unwanted squirrels.