If you are like most people, seeing squirrels running around outside your home or business is no big deal. You may even enjoy their presence. After all, they can be quite comical to watch. But when these rodents get inside where we live or work, they can cause some pretty significant problems. And they cease to be comical.
A grey squirrel has a silver-grey, speckled coat with a brownish tinge on its feet, face, and along its back (especially in summer), with a tail that is fringed in white. Grey squirrels are much larger than red squirrels, growing as large as 20 inches from nose to tail and weighing in at around 24 ounces. Its diet consists of large seeds of trees such as oak, beech, hazel, sweet chestnut, and walnut.
A Few Fun Facts About Squirrels
The word "squirrel" comes from the Greek word, "skiouros" which means "the shadow tail."
A squirrel may "pretend" to bury food to throw off thieves. This is called "deceptive caching." The little trickster will dig a hole and vigorously cover it back up without depositing anything.
Adult tree squirrels usually live alone but sometimes team up in cold weather. A group of squirrels is called a "scurry" or a "dray."
A Few Not-So-Fun Facts About Squirrels
A squirrel's front teeth never stop growing. The word "rodent" (which squirrels are classified as) is actually derived from the Latin, "rodere," which means "to gnaw." Because these teeth never stop growing, a squirrel, like all rodents, needs to chew on things to wear those teeth down constantly.
Squirrels' gnawing behavior can cause power disruptions. In past decades in the United States, squirrels have been blamed for hundreds of power disruptions, reportedly even outages that briefly shut down the NASDAQ stock market in 1987 and 1994.
Squirrels don't keep their waste in one spot, they leave urine and droppings as they go.
What Happens When Squirrels Get Inside Structures
While squirrels are generally more than happy to live outside, sometimes they find their way into attic spaces and wall voids. When this happens, they are likely to chew on everything in sight. Like other rodents, such as mice and rats, they will chew on stored items, insulation, sheetrock, food packages, and more. They may also chew on wires inside wall voids or other areas, which can disrupt power flow or, worse, cause a spark that could result in a fire.
Once inside, squirrels are likely to chew entry holes larger or chew additional holes. This increases the chances of rain getting in and allows heat, or cool air, to escape. Rain or moisture getting in can lead to wood rot and a whole host of other problems. Heat or cool air escaping means increased heating and cooling bills.
Squirrels can also contaminate food sources if they get into areas where food is stored or prepared. Since they leave urine and feces everywhere, they roam; even if they aren't targeting those human food sources for themselves, they can still contaminate them if they chew into packaging and leave their waste on or near the area. A few diseases squirrels are known to carry include leptospirosis, Lyme disease (by way of ticks), rabies, salmonellosis, and tularemia.
How Can Home And Business Owners Keep Squirrels Out?
To discourage squirrels from climbing on your home or business and possibly finding a way inside, there are a few things you can do.
Please don't feed them. If you have bird feeders, consider keeping them well away from your structure. Also, please don't feed them peanuts or other foods that will draw them in close.
Trim bushes and trees back away from your walls and roof area. This will make it more difficult, or impossible, for squirrels to access the outside of your home.
Examine your walls and roof line for entry points. It doesn't take much of a hole for squirrels and other pests to squeeze their way in.
Put wire mesh in downspouts to prevent squirrels from getting up to your vulnerable roofline.
What To Do If A Squirrel Gets In
If you know you have a squirrel in your home or business, don't take matters into your own hands. These are wild animals, and they can be dangerous. The professionals here at Parkway Pest Services have the tools and expertise to remove wildlife from your home or business humanely. Call or click today for details.