Last Updated: May 2016
One of the most common urbanized wildlife in Toronto and the GTA is squirrels. Quick footed and fast grabbers, squirrel problems have recently become an urban homeowner’s nightmare. Their small and flexible bodies allow them to go in and out of spaces, hide inside tree barks, and enter structures through cracks and small holes. They are superior climbers and can also utilize chimneys, shingles, and unscreened vents to enter buildings. Much like some of the other wildlife, fall is the season squirrels start looking for a winter home that provides them with safety and warmth. Squirrels are notorious for chewing on various materials like plastic pipes, vents, all kinds of woods, electrical wires, and even siding. Damage from their chewing can cause anything from costly repairs to floods and even fires. While severe damage and potential fires/floods are the more serious squirrel problems, there is also a lot of noise and disturbance caused by these little invaders.
How to identify squirrels on your property?
Usually home or business owners are alerted by the noise squirrels make. They are not nocturnal and can function on next to no sleep, which allow them to be on the go almost all the time. They make quick scampering, light thumping, and scratching sounds. They habituate mostly in the attics and between walls so that’s where the sounds usually come from. Aside from the sounds, they leave droppings, however this may be difficult to identify as homeowners don’t often inspect their attics regularly, or have access to survey between the walls. Though droppings and urine may not be visible, they do have an unpleasant and strong smell that can be an indicator of their presence.
Aside from causing damage to the inside and outside structure of a building; squirrel problems can also include inflicted damage to lawns. Squirrels dig holes to hide their food from their predators. They can chew up landscaped trees and bushes, plants, fruits and vegetables for consumption. What attracts them to residential yards are; bird-feeders, pet foods, and nut and fruit trees.
How to resolve squirrel problems?
While there are many options available for a homeowner to rid of squirrels on their own, there are lots of ambiguities one should be careful of. Results of online research suggest poison, deathly traps, etc. However these options are illegal in Canada and are considered as animal cruelty. There are criminal charges and penalties associated to such activities. One’s safest choice is to contact a professional wildlife removal company. At SOS Wildlife Control, we can help identify their entry and exit points, and often times provide on-site removal services via live trapping methods. Live trapping is the most humane method to remove squirrels.
There are measures homeowners can take to avoid squirrel problems. One of the most important things is to be aware of any holes or cracks on the foundation of their property. These cracks and holes need to be fixed, soffits need to be secured and sealed shut, and all doors and windows should shut properly. In addition, ensuring no pet food is left outside, bird-feeders and its surrounding are kept clean and free of spread food, and fruits from trees are picked regularly, and the fallen fruits are cleaned up before squirrels get to them, are helpful practices.
Although squirrel problems can be a major nuisance to property owners, their ability to cause damage doesn’t exactly define their characteristics. They are full of personality and fun facts. For an informative read and pictures, you can check out National Geographic‘s write-up on squirrels. For a more summarized fun read, here are some interesting facts about the feathery tailed members of the wildlife:
- Squirrels are natural gardeners. They have superior skills in digging holes for “planting” acorns. They do this gesture for the sole purpose of hiding their food. They bury thousands of acorns per season, and not all of them get found. This gives trees dispersal as it’s good for nuts to be buried in the soil for trees.
- As they are natural gardeners, they can distinguish their foods apart and can store them accordingly. Simple example is the difference between red oak and white oak acorns. White oak acorns germinate faster than the reds, so squirrels tend to eat the white oak acorns first and store the red oak ones for winter. A study in 1996 called Animal Behavior has revealed that squirrels bite off the embryo of white oak acorns, paralyzing the seed’s ability to sprout, which keeps longer without germinating. This gives them variety for winter time snacking.
- Squirrels are brilliant and they prepare for extreme weather conditions by collecting and storing food in hidden spots. In their natural habitats, they eat mushrooms. Many squirrels leave mushrooms between tree branches to dry as they keep better over winter.
- Squirrels can run 20 miles/hour, and their sweat glands are located on their feet.
- There are over 300 different types of squirrels but one of the most common ones we see are called “gray squirrels”. They are also referred to as “living fossils” because they haven’t changed in 37 million years.
Don’t let squirrel problems become an irritant in your life. It is very important to ensure you take action immediately after discovering squirrel invasion in your property. Their habit of chewing almost everything is an expensive repair work, but it can be even more destructive as electrical cables can cause fires, and chewed up water pipes could cause floods.
At SOS Wildlife Control, we provide superior squirrel removal services for residential, commercial, and industrial clients. Let us help you solve your squirrel problems.
We can easily be reached at 1-800-981-0330. Don’t wait and call us to schedule an appointment for a thorough inspection to help evacuate all your unwanted wildlife guests in the most humane way possible.