The common species of nuisance squirrel is the Eastern Gray Squirrel. The Eastern Gray Squirrel or “Gray Squirrel” is a member of the Rodent Family; measuring around 16 to 18 inches from nose to tail and weighing approximately one pound. Gray squirrels are active year-round and they live primarily in tree dens. They feed on a variety of foods such as nuts, fruits seeds and insects and store their supply in holes in the ground for overwinter.
Gray Squirrels breed during two distinct peak times of the year; during the late winter and late summer months. Gestation lasts about six weeks, with only two to four young in the litter at a time. Young squirrels are slow to mature, taking about four months to be able to venture out of the nest and live independently but it is not uncommon for the young to stay with their litter for up to nine months. They prefer cavities in trees or they will build a nest out of leaves and twigs and when cavities aren’t available, they look for other means of protection, such as homes and commercial buildings.
Most people do not recognize that they are living with Flying Squirrels because they are nocturnal and seldom seen moving about. Flying Squirrels are easily distinguished from their other squirrel relations by a “gliding membrane”. This gliding membrane is a flap of loose skin that extends from wrist to ankle. When outstretched, this extra flap of skin allows the squirrel to glide from tree to tree. As it approaches its landing site, it pulls up, slowing its descent just as if it were a plane! When it is gliding, it uses its tail as a rudder to help it change direction.
The Flying Squirrel is a small, only about ten inches long from its nose to its tail. It has very large, round black eyes that help it see at night and a long, flattened tail. Their fur is olive-brown in color and white on the stomach. Breeding takes place twice a year, once between April and May and then again between August and September. After a gestational period of about forty days, two to six young are born.
The Red Squirrel is another small tree squirrel. It’s curved front claws and powerful hind legs make it a very good climber and jumper and also very difficult to eradicate from your home!
The Red Squirrel got its name because of its obvious reddish to reddish-gray fur. Just like the Flying Squirrel, the Red Squirrel has a white or cream underside. They also have white around their eyes and a black stripe on their sides during the summer. Their tail is not as long or bushy as other squirrels. The Red Squirrel is most active in the early morning and the late afternoon.
Red Squirrels are not social creatures although mothers and their young do stay together for a while after the juveniles mature. The Red Squirrel makes its nests in a variety of places including hollows in the ground, in tree hollows, logs or crotches in trees. If they feel threatened, the Red Squirrel becomes very vocal; chattering, growling, and screeching to alert other Red Squirrels.
Red Squirrels breed April to May and August to September. After gestational period of thirty-eight days, two to seven young are born per litter.
Squirrels have easily adapted to humans in urban and suburban areas and therefore, they frequently use buildings as nesting areas or can be found rummaging through garbage or bird feeders. The most common place the Grey Squirrel takes up residence in is the attic, soffit area or gable vent of a building. To gain access, they will locate a small opening and will gnaw at the hole to make it wider in order to create an easy entry point. Once they have found a safe place to nest in the building, they find and create nesting material out of items such as garbage or attic insulation. Often times, it has been reported at night the sound of scurrying around and rolling nuts while the squirrels are actively preparing for Overwinter. An infestation can pose a health risk as well, for they leave behind their droppings and can saturate the ceiling and walls in living areas from excess build up of their excreta and urine, creating a need to call professional squirrel removal experts.
Other activities that are common complaints from a squirrel infestation is that they can cause fire hazards by chewing on electrical wires or traveling along power lines, causing transformers to short. They have even been known to fall down a chimney flue and enter into a home through the fireplace or even fall down a wall from the attic and get stuck.
How to Get Rid of Squirrels
There are many ways to control squirrel damage from repellents to habitat modification and noise makers. But the only way to successfully rid yourself of the problem is through trapping for squirrel removal and the use of exclusion techniques, such as blocking entrances into buildings. They are the most effective way to control and prevent any further damage.