Did you know that squirrels can be dangerous? It's true. While many potentially dangerous animals require people to post signs of their presence, no one has ever posted a sign that says, "BEWARE OF THE SQUIRREL." At least not to our knowledge. That would be silly since squirrels typically mind their own business and aren’t generally a threat to anyone. Outside, they scamper here and there, dig lots of holes to hide their nuts in for the winter, and chatter away at each other in the trees. But the real threat comes when they invade our homes. If they somehow find a way into the attic of our homes, or worse, into our living spaces, they can become dangerous in several different ways.
Types of Squirrels Threatening New York Homes
Squirrels are unique rodents. The word "squirrel" comes from the Greek word, "skiouros" which means "shadow-tail." And this name is quite fitting as all squirrels have unique, very distinguishing tails. However, flying squirrels’ tails is a bit flatter than the tail of the common gray squirrel. The two squirrels mentioned above, the gray squirrel and the flying squirrel, are the most common types of squirrels that can be found invading homes in our area.
As you could probably guess from their name, these little creatures have silverish-grey coats predominantly with areas of light brown fur. These squirrels also have white undersides, brownish-colored feet, faces, and backs, and bushy tails speckled with black and white. Growing as large as 20 inches from their nose to the tip of their tail, grey squirrels weigh approximately 24 ounces. Gray squirrels usually nest in trees, but they sometimes find entry points in roof areas of homes and take up residence in our attic spaces, especially during colder months.
In New York, we have two species of flying squirrels: Northern flying squirrels and Southern flying squirrels. Northern flying squirrels have reddish-brown coats and white underbellies with large eyes and flat tails. Their Southern cousins are more grayish-brown in color, similar to the color of mice. They also have large dark eyes and flat tails. These species weigh about two ounces on average, making them the smallest squirrels found in New York! While these squirrels have the word "flying" in their name, they cannot actually fly. Instead, by stretching out their feet and using the large flaps of skin on their sides called a patagium, they glide through the air from tree to tree or, sometimes, from tree to rooftop. This gliding behavior allows these squirrels easy access to our rooftops.
How Squirrels Can Be Dangerous
Squirrels are rodents, and, as all rodents do, they have incisors that never stop growing. This means that if they get inside your home, they will need to chew on things to maintain their teeth. They may chew on anything from stored items and furniture to insulation and even wiring. In fact, squirrels have been blamed for hundreds of power disruptions in the United States. And this chewing behavior even has the potential to spark a fire if they chew on live electrical wires. In this way, squirrels are dangerous to us, our possessions, and even our homes.
Squirrels don't keep their waste in just one spot. As they roam around, they will leave their urine and feces behind throughout your home. This means, if they find their way into your food storage areas, there is a good chance they could contaminate the foods inside. Though they may look harmless, squirrels are also known to carry diseases. Some diseases squirrels are known to carry include leptospirosis, rabies, salmonellosis, and tularemia. Lastly, when they enter our homes, squirrels can carry in various parasites on their fur, such as fleas and ticks, which leads to their own set of problems and health risks. In this way, squirrels are dangerous to our health.
If squirrels make their way into your attic, they may decide to make more entry or exit points to have access to the outdoors or other areas of your home. This can lead to rainwater and moisture getting in, which, in turn, can lead to wood rot and additional problems. It also causes an increase in heat loss during the fall and winter months and cool air in the summertime. In this way, squirrels are dangerous to our bank accounts.
Why DIY Squirrel Removal is a BAD IDEA
Though squirrels may seem harmless, like any wild animal, they can become violent if they are cornered, threatened, or protected young. If you have discovered that you have squirrels living in your attic or any other area of your home, it is never a good idea to try to remove them by yourself. Without the proper training and equipment, squirrel removal can be quite dangerous. When agitated, squirrels may be driven to bite or scratch, which could lead to disease transmission. And if they get loose in your living spaces, you could be in for some costly damages to your belongings as the animal tries desperately to escape.
How Parkway Can Help!
As you can see, there are many ways that DIY squirrel control can go wrong. For the best and safest squirrel removal services, contact us today! At Parkway Pest Services, we offer emergency and same-day service, or at the very least next-day service, when it comes to removing potentially dangerous wildlife pests from your home or property. We have the proper equipment and training needed to remove squirrels safely and humanely. Don’t let squirrels or other wildlife pests take up residence in your home for another day. Reach out to us at Parkway today for the safe removal of these potentially dangerous animals!