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Squirrel Identification

What are squirrels?

Squirrels are a type of rodent, with tree squirrels being one of the most common. Two physical features of squirrels include constantly growing front incisors and a long bushy tail that helps them balance while moving from tree to tree. Squirrels have dark eyes, ears that stand up off the heads, and an elongated body covered in light gray, brown, or dark-reddish brown fur. The fur on their underbellies is usually lighter in color than the top of their bodies.

Although squirrels are not a "rat with a tail," as some customers describe, they are classified in the same family and are scientifically considered rodents. A squirrel's tail has several uses. The main use is for balance. If you ever watch a squirrel at play and their acrobatics, you'll see the tail does this very effectively. In the event that a squirrel does fall, the tail is used much like a parachute. Their tail is also used as a blanket in the winter. The squirrel will also quickly flicker his tail to communicate with other squirrels. It is thought that the flickering is telling the other squirrels to stay away.

a flying squirrel on a tree

Despite their name, flying squirrels don’t fly, but rather glide using a fold of skin found between the front and back limbs. Gray squirrels, on the other hand, move from tree to tree, tree to building, or from utility poles to wires by jumping.

Squirrels normally enter attics looking for a safe, comfortable place to start a family. Once that happens the squirrel's babies (which are called juveniles for the first year) will also make your attic their home, bringing food and other materials from outside into the attic to make their nesting areas. Some of the holes squirrels use to enter your attic will soon become an interstate for other rodents, such as rats.

Squirrel Facts

  • Squirrels can get into any opening the size of a quarter.
  • Squirrels can get into areas that even rats cannot because of the squirrel's ability to climb, hang upside down and be acrobats in general.
  • The squirrel breeds in late winter or early spring and again in late spring or summer.
  • The gestation period is about 45 days and litters contain 2-6 young.
  • The most common squirrel in our area is the eastern gray squirrel.
  • A squirrel can run 8 to 10 mph.
  • Squirrels are not carnivores and do not eat meat.
  • Squirrels can swim.
  • Most squirrels die within the first year. Once a squirrel survives the first year, they will normally live 5-6 years.
  • Squirrels do not hibernate.
  • The male squirrel has no hand in raising the babies. He leaves right after mating.

Are squirrels dangerous?

Squirrels are most dangerous when they decide to invade our houses. In our homes, squirrels, like other rodents, chew through essential things like wires, pipes, ducts, flooring, boxes, and more to help wear down their teeth. Their chewing habits may also lead to short circuits, fires, and water damage. Squirrels also damage things like insulation, drywall, stored clothing, and upholstered furniture.

Squirrels pose health risks to people. They contaminate food and surfaces with bacteria, pathogens, urine, and excrement. They also introduce disease-spreading parasites like fleas and ticks into our yards and homes.

Squirrels can easily do as much damage as a rat. Their teeth grow their entire life requiring them to chew to keep them filed down. Squirrels have to chew constantly to prevent their teeth from protruding outside of their mouth leaving them unable to eat. A squirrel will chew on electrical wires, ducting from your ventilation fans, copper AC condensate lines, fascia, wood trim and pretty much anything else in or on your home.

Squirrel noises in your Florida home or business can be very loud and irritating keeping you awake at night wondering what is scratching around in your home's attic. The chattering & scampering noises a squirrel makes can be extremely nerve racking when it's overhead or in the walls of your home. Squirrels have no problem living side by side with humans.

Do Not Hand-Feed Squrriels!

Squirrels normally have an abundance of food, so a human feeding them is not needed for survival. However, one thing that you should never do is hold a nut with your fingers for a squirrel to eat. A squirrel's eyes are on the side of its head and it can't see what is right in front of its mouth. A squirrel has strong sharp jaws that easily slice through the shells of nuts. While biting at about six times a second, he will have no idea he's about to accidentally bite clean through the meat of your finger all the way to the bone until he's done it.

Why do I have a squirrel problem?

Having a problem with squirrels in your yard or home is enough to drive anyone nuts. Squirrels can become a problem on any property but tend to be most problematic on properties with or near trees and with access to plenty of food sources.

Squirrels are omnivores and have a varied diet. While a squirrel’s diet is heavy in seeds, fruits, and nuts, they also feed on insects, caterpillars, and bird eggs. They also forage for food in our trash cans and compost piles and eat many of the same foods as us.

Squirrels mainly live outside but move inside to find safe areas of shelter. They are most likely to move indoors during periods of extreme weather. In Florida, this usually means when the weather becomes too hot for them to live comfortably.

Where will I find squirrels?

Properties near wooded areas and parks are susceptible to squirrel infestations. Squirrels that decide to move into our homes place nests in the attics, chimneys, or wall voids. Squirrels are also familiar visitors to our garages, sheds, warehouses, and food storage and processing facilities. They hide, nest, and cause damage to things like storage boxes, lawnmowers, and cars.

How do I get rid of squirrels?

If squirrels have become a problem on your Florida property, reach out to the professionals at Rodent Solutions. Specializing in rodent control, prevention, trapping, and removal services, trust us to protect your yard and home from squirrels. With over 21 years of combined experience, you can put your trust into our professionals and our effective pest control solutions.

Call Rodent Solutions today to eliminate problematic gray squirrels or flying squirrels from your property in Bradenton, FL, and the surrounding areas.

Our Effective 5-Step Squirrel Removal Plan

  • Perform your free pest inspection
  • Seal possible entries to your home/business
  • Trap and remove squirrels sealed inside
  • Remove and clean
  • Complete and explain your guarantee

Let's Talk About Poison

Customers sometimes try to put poison in their attic to take care of their squirrel problem. "IF" a squirrel decides to dine on the poison (which is very rare), the squirrel may die in the attic.

Most poisons are an anticoagulant (prevents blood from clotting) causing the rat or mouse bleed to death internally. The dead rat or mouse will then leave an awful odor potentially causing headaches, nausea and general displeasure. This also causes large flies in the the home or business which is common as the rodent decomposes.

Pest-proofing your home is the only way to keep from having a squirrel infestation over and over again. We have humane ways to remove squirrels from your attic.

How can I prevent squirrels in the future?

Squirrels and other pests are problematic in Florida throughout much of the year. The following prevention tips will help you to guard your home against squirrels:

  • Keep doors and windows in garages, sheds, and other outbuildings closed as much as possible.
  • Repair any gaps around windows, doors, and other openings in your home. Squirrels take advantage of small spaces and will use their sharp teeth to create an even larger entry or exit point.
  • Keep squirrels out by placing caps on chimneys, repairing holes along the roofline, and replacing loose or missing roof shingles.
  • Trim back tree limbs from your home’s exterior walls.
  • Maintain gardens and compost piles.
  • Remove bird feeders from your yard.

Learn more about our general pest control and more pest control services in Bradenton, FL.

 

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