Wildlife animals are creatures that are meant to stay in the "wild" for "life." But who doesn't enjoy watching wildlife? It's fun to see a deer stepping out of the woods, a chipmunk scurrying along a fence, or a bird singing loudly on a tree branch (unless its a crow). But wildlife is supposed to stay living in the wild, hence their name. Today, we will look closely at one of the most common wildlife animals in our area, the common gray squirrel, and the many problems they bring with them when they decide to trade their life in the wild for a taste of home life.
The eastern gray squirrel averages 1 to 1.5 pounds and measures from 16 to 20 inches in length. As their name suggests, they are typically gray in color (with a white underside) but they can also be a shade of brown. Like all squirrels, they have large bushy tails. Gray squirrels typically eat mostly seeds, nuts, and buds, and prefer to live in hardwood forests or forests with a mixture of hardwoods and pines where they make leaf nests in the crooks of trees or create dens in cavities found inside those trees. But sometimes they get too close to human dwellings and find their way into our homes, particularly in attic areas and inside walls, where they then establish nests and raise young.
Signs Of Squirrels In Your Home
If you are concerned about noises you are hearing in your walls but you don't know what is causing them, this list may help you determine if you have a squirrel or two (or a bunch) living in your home.
Signs a squirrel has moved in may include:
- Scurrying, scratching, or fighting (scuffling) noises in your ceiling, walls, or attic area.
- Squirrel nests in tree cavities around your home.
- The presence of squirrels on your roof.
- Squirrel droppings in your rafters or other areas. These are around ⅜ of an inch long and ⅙ inch in diameter are are typically reddish-brown in color.
How Squirrels Can Affect A Structure
- Damage to siding. If a squirrel has found a way in through some damaged siding, it can chew these damaged areas and make the problem worse. This may allow rainwater or moisture from the air to seep into the wood of your home, creating more damage as well as allow more insects and animals access to your home.
- Damage to shingles. If there is a small hole, a squirrel can chew at it to make the hole bigger for easier access to your attic area.
- Damage to insulation. Squirrels and other rodents love nesting in insulation. This can cause holes or bare areas where heat or cool air can escape easier, making your costs of heating and cooling higher, not to mention you'll have to pay to have it fixed!
- Damage to wiring. Like all rodents, squirrels have teeth that never stop growing. So, in order to maintain them, they must chew constantly. Squirrels will chew on anything, including the wiring in your walls. This presents a fire hazard as it could spark a fire.
How Squirrels Can Affect Health
- Droppings. Although there is little danger of humans contracting diseases from squirrels, as with all animals, squirrel feces can pose a threat of salmonella infection if handled improperly. When cleaning up squirrel feces, it is wise to wear a pair of goggles and a good pair of gloves to limit contact.
- Allergies. If you have allergies, having rodents living inside your attic or wall voids can be a problem. Everything from a squirrel's hair to its saliva and urine can lead to the following: a runny nose, itchy watery eyes, sneezing/nasal congestion, scratchy throat, asthmatic symptoms, and eczema.
- Parasites. Squirrels can carry a number of parasites on their fur including mites, lice, fleas, and ticks. Each of these pests come with a list of health concerns.
Is It Safe To Remove Wildlife On Your Own?
If you know or even just think you have a squirrel or two (or a whole family) living inside your walls, attic, or other areas of your home, it is imperative to get professional help as soon as possible. Any wild animal will attack if it feels cornered or threatened, especially if it is defending young. The professional pest control experts here at Spencer Pest Services have the knowledge, the experience, and the necessary equipment to remove squirrels safely and efficiently, in the most humane way possible.
You probably have enough "wild" in your life without having wildlife living in your home. Let us take the wildlife out of your home life, for good!
Click here to learn more about our rodent and wildlife control.