You see squirrels at the park or while you are walking down the street, but you never think of them being inside your home and attic. This article will cover why squirrels enter your home, what to look for so you know if you have squirrels in your home, how to keep them out, and more. Most of the time, you will need professional guidance and inspections to find out if you have squirrels. After the inspection, they will remove any squirrels from your home for you.
Why Would Squirrels Come Into Your House
There are many reasons a squirrel would find your home inviting. It could simply be because it is getting cold outside and your home is nice and warm. Squirrels often store their food, they could be looking for an area in your home or attic to stash food away. During breeding season, your attic makes the perfect nesting site to keep their young safe.
Everyone knows squirrels love acorns and nuts, but there are quite a few other delectable they enjoy! Some of those being birdseed, insects, fungi, fruit, and vegetables. If you are a gardener growing delicious fruits and vegetables, you have a good chance of attracting squirrels. The same goes for any bird feeders around the house or if your land has plentiful acorns. The fruits and vegetables will also attract insects and other dishes for the squirrels. These factors will invite the squirrels into your yard, and eventually, they will find their way into your attic, where it is nice and safe.
Predators and Hibernation
Another common reason squirrels will seek shelter inside your home is to hide from the predators in the area. Hawks and owls are frequent predators of squirrels, they are a common reason squirrels will try to seek shelter. These predators are not the only ones squirrels have to watch out for, though. Most people do not realize that common household pets such as cats and dogs are also predators for squirrels. Foxes, coyotes, weasels, and snakes enjoy squirrels for their meals, too.
Your home provides squirrels protection from these animals. When possible, squirrels will have multiple entry points into your attic. This allows them easy escape should predators follow them into your home. When squirrels are pregnant, they always find a safe, warm, comfortable place to rest away from danger, and your attic is the perfect spot. Squirrels don’t hibernate, however they may be less active, during the winter months, while cozy in their nests and eating the food they have stored in your attic.
If you think a squirrel hiding in your attic may be pregnant or have babies, it is best to leave them alone or have a professional removal service help you. Trying to remove them on your own, especially if babies are involved, may scare them into hiding within your walls, where they could get stuck. If a squirrel gets stuck in a wall they may chew a hole in the wall or potentially die, the smell is terrible and attracts other unwanted vermin and insects.
Common Squirrel Behavior When They Are in Your Home
Squirrels are rodents. Like all rodents, their teeth (incisors) are constantly growing. With a bite force of over 7,000 pounds per square inch, squirrels have the ability to gnaw through almost anything including aluminum, wood and brick. Squirrels can even gnaw through your shingles, roof decking and other materials in your home to get in, if there are no points of entry already. Since squirrels can climb up your house, they tend to gnaw holes in hard-to-reach areas of the roof. They don’t need a huge hole to get through either, so entering your home is relatively easy for them.
Squirrels are very territorial over their nesting areas. If you are smelling urine in your attic, that may mean squirrels have gotten in and made your attic their home. The odor dictates their territory. Squirrels typically build their nests on the opposite side of where they urinate, so you will smell the urine before actually seeing a nest in most cases.
The life span ranges significantly from an average of six years up to 12 years in the wild. Their lifespan makes it harder to get them out of your house once they start having babies. They fill your attic walls with nuts and acorns for them and their babies, but this also attracts more squirrels (or other rodents) to the location. The squirrels don’t only come into your home to escape the winter during the season. They also mate during this period, and their babies are born in the spring.
The more squirrels that reside in your attic, the more annoyance you will have both from the odor and from hearing them gnawing holes in the walls while you are sleeping. Squirrels will notify each other of approaching danger by communicating with ultrasonic sounds. Because the communication is above a pitch that we can hear, they are always gone and back into hiding before you see them damage the house.
Potential Safety Hazards From a Squirrel Being in Your House
When you think of squirrels, you think of them running up trees and hiding nuts. No one thinks about the potential dangers squirrels can carry with them. Squirrels can carry fleas, ticks, and mites, which can harm your pets and everyone in the home. If you handle any squirrels, take the proper precautions so they do not bite you. Although it’s rare, squirrels can carry rabies and transmit them to humans. Many other potential safety hazards come with having squirrels in your attic.
If you find dead squirrels in your home or even around your yard, get professionals to handle them. Dead squirrels can carry tularemia which, if you get infected by it, potentially causes skin ulcers, fever, swollen lymph glands, and more symptoms. The smell that comes from a dead squirrel is very hard to get rid of even after they are removed.
If you find squirrel feces, do not touch it without gloves or wait until you can have a professional come and remove the feces for you. The feces from squirrels carry salmonellosis, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps. While salmonellosis is usually cured easily with hydration and receiving electrolytes, it is still very unpleasant to contract.
Lyme disease is another potential hazard from squirrels. You can contract this disease from a tick the squirrels carry with them without the squirrel biting you. Some symptoms to look out for are headaches, fatigue, and skin rash. Unlike most of the other diseases contracted from squirrels, Lyme disease can cause serious conditions if left untreated. Those conditions could include:
- Facial Palsy
- Heart Palpitations
- Autoimmune Diseases
When comparing all the potential hazards that come with Lyme disease, you will want to consider getting professional squirrel removal the moment you think you may have them in the house or see any ticks around the home. Ticks are not always easy to see, so you may have them and not even know it until you start to feel some symptoms of the diseases they can cause. In these situations, it’s best to take precautions and keep your attention on the issue.
Squirrel urine doesn’t just produce a bad odor. When the urine comes into contact with open wounds, even if they are just scratches or bites, you can get infected with leptospirosis. Symptoms from this can range from rashes to vomiting. Leptospirosis can lead to harmful conditions and infections if left untreated, much like Lyme disease. Untreated leptospirosis has the potential to cause kidney failure, or you could get meningitis.
Other diseases and infections you can contract from squirrels include typhus and ringworm.
Beyond all these reasons to get squirrels removed from your house, they can also destroy the looks of your house by gnawing into window sills, doorframes, roofing, the fascia, your HVAC system, electrical wires, plumbing and they will also damage vents and gutters with their claws.
How To Get Squirrels Out of Your Attic
The first step is doing what you can to keep them out of your attic in the first place. Sometimes this is an impossible task, and that’s why there are professionals to help you remove squirrels from your attic! Alas, those claws, powerful jaws, and strong arms will often find their way into houses if they really want inside. While removing any tree limbs that are overhanging your home, may remove the squirrel’s easiest access to your roof; squirrels can easily climb brick, stucco, wood/hardi-board siding, and gutter downspouts.
A common DIY form of deterring squirrels from making your attic their nest is by placing strobe lights around your attic. The hope is that the high-intensity bright flashing lights will make it difficult for them to move around the attic because it annoys their eyes. Unfortunately, there are plenty of areas in your attic that the light will not reach and many animals living in urban and suburban areas have become accustomed to bright and flashing lights. Most houses will not be able to cure their problem that simply, though, and will require a removal service.
In spring, you will not want to attempt any self-removal strategies. There could very well be a mother squirrel in the attic with her babies, and they will not survive if she leaves them alone to in the nest for too long. If you try to seal a mother squirrel out of the attic she will make every attempt to regain access; gnawing new holes through the roof, vents, siding, etc. are common in these cases. During the spring months, it is best to contact a professional removal service with expertise and have them inspect your home.
If you do attempt to remove the squirrels yourself, there are some other things to keep in mind. Crawl spaces can be a great place for them to hide, and you will need to find something that can reach in there and frighten them enough for them to leave. An air blower is generally good for these situations. If you try to seal entry points and the squirrels is inside, they are prone to causing lots of damage in their attempts to get back out. There is also the problem of potentially exposed wiring in the attic from the squirrels chewing through everything. Having exposed wiring could cause a fire. After you clear out the squirrels, you need to have electricians come inspect your wiring.
The best and least destructive course of action is to hire professionals to come to inspect your home, and if any squirrels are in your attic, they have methods that are proven to be effective. Having a removal service handle both the before and aftercare of the problem will save a lot of time and potential error. Professionals provide ways to remove the squirrels and offer exclusion services where they find any entry points and patch them up.
You can also have them do periodic checks on your home, making sure the squirrels never return. Long-term solutions provided by professional removal services help your home stay clean of pests and rodents while keeping it structurally safe. You will feel confident knowing you no longer have to worry about any of the diseases, smells, ruined walls, and animals living in your walls after a removal service is finished cleaning out your home.
Contact Urban Jungle for Squirrel Removal Services
Call today! Even though there are ways for you to attempt to get squirrels out of your attic yourself, they are all more time-consuming and could potentially hurt yourself, your home or the squirrels more. Urban Jungle is a respected wildlife removal service full of experts who will provide you with the entire package to keep you and your home safe from squirrels. Contact Urban Jungle today for an inspection of your home! With services ranging from trapping and removal, to exclusion and repair, to clean up and sanitation, and reinsulating your attic, Urban Jungle is the perfect choice for your wildlife pest issues!