Red Squirrel Facts
Red squirrels are most commonly found in the northern half of North America from the Rocky Mountains up into Quebec. Their mating season happens twice a year -- in the spring from March to May, and again from August until September. Red squirrels live an average of 5 years in the wild, but can live up to 10 years in captivity.
They enjoy snacking on pine seeds and buds, as well as a variety of nuts like acorns and walnuts. They’ll occasionally eat insects or other small animals. Red squirrels are hoarders and will store two seasons worth of food by hiding it in multiple locations that are moist and cool, like your attic.
Red Squirrel Damage
There are some benefits to having these squirrels around, as they will gather and disperse seeds they never end up eating, increasing biodiversity. If fungi develop in spots where they store their food, like trees, nutrients will be absorbed by surrounding plants. However, they cause a good amount of damage by eating seeds from trees and peeling back their bark.
If they begin to nest indoors, not only will their noises become annoying, but their nests can also create fire hazards if they are blocking vents. If they are in attics or walls, they may chew through wiring, potentially short-circuiting any connected appliances. The same holds true for when they run along power lines, as they can sometimes cause problems with transformers.
Squirrels can also carry a variety of diseases such as mange, cat scratch fever, typhus, and occasionally rabies. Mange affects the fur of the squirrel, causing them to lose their coats. Cat scratch fever will cause pain from swollen lymph nodes. Typhus is a disease that produces rashes on the body, and even delirium. Rabies, although it is rare, will severely damage the nervous system if it is not caught early on.
Red Squirrel Infestation
Red squirrels are most active during the day, usually in the morning and afternoon. You’ll hear a lot of chatter from these squirrels, as the noises they emit never seem to stop. These calls are loud and birdlike, and sometimes even carry an aggressive tone.
Around your shed or near other nesting sites, you may find small piles of oval-shaped droppings. Red squirrel nests made out of grass, moss, plant matter, bark, feathers, and fur. They are typically found in holes of trees, under piles of leaves, or even underground.
Red squirrels enjoy a diet of gnawed twigs, stripped nuts, or piles of pine cones, acorns, and other foods around your yard. Your flower bulbs may be eaten, along with any seeds you have laying around. They also love to strip the bark from trees, which they will use in their nests.
If they’ve gotten inside a building, it is possible to see holes in vents, eaves, and soffits. You might also notice claw marks on the side of the building, chewed wires, and damaged household items from their chewing, urine, or droppings
Types of Red Squirrels
Red Squirrel Identification
Their bodies measure about 12 inches long with deep, reddish fur, a white underside and flatter tails. Their tails are smaller and less bushy in comparison to other tree squirrels. Their curved claws and strong legs make them excellent climbers and jumpers.
Red Squirrels In The Walls & The House
If your home is in a densely wooded areas with a lot of pine trees, then you might snag a look at the red squirrel. These rodents are found mostly in mountainous areas, preferring the shade of trees, as well as the food they can provide. Strongly territorial, red squirrels will protect the areas where they forage for food, as well as the dens where they hide it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do red squirrel droppings look like?
Red squirrel droppings are oblong-shaped pellets are around ⅜ inch long and ⅛ inch in diameter. Fresh droppings have a dark brown color, but with age they will become lighter. If you find droppings in your attack that vary in color, it’s usually a sign that the red squirrels have been there for awhile.
How do you control red squirrel infestations?
Creating the illusion that food isn’t available is a good place to start if you want to rid your yard of red squirrels. Don’t feed these rodents if they come poking around, and try to eliminate artificial sources of food like bird feeders. It’s possible to buy squirrel-proof containers if you’d still like to see some birds flock to your yard, however always make sure that these areas are clean and free of stray seed.
If they have gotten inside a structure on your property, make sure there are no young squirrels stuck inside that will continue to develop. If this is the case, seal any entry and exit points like cracks in the foundation, chimney flues, or holes in siding. Trimming back tree back tree branches will also disway the squirrels from jumping on your rooftop and getting inside.
Traps are also available that are both live and lethal, depending on your needs. If the red squirrel problem is severe, calling in professional pest control may be needed to further direct your efforts in getting rid of these red-headed rodents.
Benefits of Professional Red Squirrel Pest Control
A pest management professional has the education, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address a red squirrel problem. Finding and treating the red squirrels can be challenging, especially if they are spread throughout your yard. A pest management professional provides their expertise to identify the pest problem and determine the best possible solution to resolve the red squirrel infestation.