Tree squirrels frequently gnaw on electrical wires and are often the culprit of mysterious power outages. This gnawing behavior can also result in extensive damage when they enter buildings: chewing baseball sized holes in roof vents, and other areas along the roof line to facilitate comings & goings.
Ground squirrels can cause damage to lawns, golf courses, fields & crops. Their tunneling can collapse ditch banks, kill vegetation & undermine foundations. Some ground squirrels can also be a reservoir for diseases such as plague.
Baby squirrels, called kits, are born blind with no fur. It can take 3 to 6 weeks before a baby squirrel will even open its eyes.
Squirrels are small to medium sized rodents with slender bodies, bushy tails and large eyes. In general, their fur is short, soft and silky, and ranges in thickness from species to species. The color of their fur is also highly variable and can be whitish, gray, yellow, red, brown, or even black.
Ground squirrels typically live in burrows or tunnel systems they create themselves or will use abandoned burrows of other animals. Ground squirrels will hibernate in these burrows during the coldest winter months.
Tree squirrels typically live in wooded areas such as parks, forests, and woodlands. They nest in tree cavities, squirrel boxes and leaf nests. Different species of tree squirrel prefer different types of trees.
Tree squirrels perform noisy mating chases during the breeding season. Most squirrels mate once per year from between December & February. Some squirrels may have a second mating in June or July. Around 3 young are born after a 42 - 45 day gestation period. Young are weaned at 10 - 12 weeks of age and reach sexual maturity in their first year of life.
About half of the squirrels in a population die each year and rarely do individuals live past 4 years of age.
Ground squirrels become active in the spring starting late February or early March and breeding starts shortly after. Young are born after 4-5 weeks with litters of 2 to 10 young.
How many types of squirrels are there?
There are more than 200 species of squirrels, according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), and they are categorized into three types: tree squirrels, ground squirrels and flying squirrels. 12 of these species are found in Canada.
6 of these are tree and flying squirrels: Eastern grey squirrel, Fox squirrel, American red squirrel, Douglas squirrel, Southern flying squirrel and Northern flying squirrel.
6 of these are ground squirrels: Richardson’s ground squirrel, Columbian ground squirrel, Artic ground squirrel, Thirteen-lined ground squirrel, Franklin’s ground squirrel, and Golden-mantled ground squirrel.
What is the difference between a ground squirrel, tree squirrel and flying squirrel?
Ground squirrels live up to their name and like to stay grounded – they typically live in burrows or tunnel systems they create and some will hibernate there in the winter months. They eat nuts, leaves, roots, seeds, and other plants; but are also known to eat tiny animals such as caterpillars and some insects.
Tree squirrels also live up to their name. They typically live in wooded areas such as parks, forests, woodlands, etc. They will, however, make frequent trips to the ground when they are in need of food. Typically, their diet consists of nuts, acorns, berries and flowers. However, they also eat bark, eggs or sometimes baby birds.
Flying squirrels like to believe they’re birds and typically live like them, in nests and tree holes. They don’t literally live up to their name, as they can’t technically fly. However, they can glide through the air from tree to tree extending their arms and legs and coasting. These species eat nuts and fruit and also insects and baby birds that they catch at times.
Can Squirrels be dangerous to humans?
Squirrels tend to be dangerous to humans indirectly by spreading disease vectors such as fleas, ticks or mites. Some ground squirrels are also reservoirs for plague.
Because squirrels are voracious gnawers, they pose a safety risk when they enter buildings. They frequently chew electrical lines which can cause fires.
Can Squirrels damage my home?
Absolutely! Tree squirrels frequently chew holes in opportune areas of the roof to get into the attic which is a warm, protected place in which to raise their young. A baseball sized hole along your gutters, trim or vents is a telltale sign a squirrel has moved in.
Squirrels are rodents and need to constantly wear down their teeth, just sometimes they do this on electrical wires and/or structural beams inside homes. Their habit of chewing electrical wires can damage electrical equipment and cause power outages & fires.
Squirrels inside your home or building can make a big mess, ripping & displacing insulation - as well as contaminating surfaces with their urine & feces.
Can squirrels damage my yard?
Even if your home has yet to be invaded by a pesky squirrel, there are problems that can occur all over your yard. It's well known that squirrels will bury acorns and other nuts in anticipation of leaner times, which can lead to divots and holes in your grass.
To make matters worse, the National Wildlife Federation reported that squirrels may actually dig more holes than needed. If one of these rodents thinks it's being watched by an opportunistic adversary, it will pretend to bury a nut in one place before actually hiding it elsewhere. For that reason, a single squirrel can cause an impressive amount of damage to your lawn.
Beyond nuts, squirrels will also be happy to investigate a garden and munch on berries and other edibles. And in the winter, some individuals may even eat the bark off of a tree, potentially killing saplings in the process.
How do I keep squirrels out?
Sealing entry points with appropriate materials is imperative when excluding squirrels and other wildlife. Small cracks around doors and windows; as well as cracks/holes in chimneys, plumbing mats, roof vents, wall vents, roof edges, and roof sofits and intersections.
Ensuring garbage is contained and taken out regularly, and keeping food in airtight containers can also help. If possible, trimming tree limbs back about 6-8 feet from your roofline can make it tougher for tree and flying squirrels to reach your home.
Squirrels are crafty and can find entrance in very unique ways. There are also government restrictions that need to be carefully adhered to when performing any wildlife removal or exclusion, so we recommend a professional take care of it. We provide humane, legal removal as well as effective exclusion work.
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