Squirrels seem harmless if you have never had a reason to interact with them. They are fun to watch as they chase each other around your neighbourhood and it’s hard to argue with the fact that they are cute. Until they break into your home that is, at which point they become an absolute nightmare. As far as nuisance wildlife problems go, squirrel removal and prevention is one of the more time-sensitive issues you will face. Squirrels are constantly chewing and are very active. If they become trapped or are separated from their young, they will become aggressive and destructive. Because of their dexterity and temperament, they have the potential to cause significant damage rather quickly. From chewing electrical wires to ripping a hole in your roof exposing your home to the elements; squirrels need to be removed promptly.
Confirming Its a Squirrel in Your House
There are a few telltale signs that will confirm that squirrels are the nuisance species you are dealing with. Squirrels are not very subtle so you will become aware of the problem very early on. Some smaller and less active species of nuisance wildlife can go undetected for months, or even years. Fortunately, with squirrels, the timeline is much shorter.
If you suspect you have squirrels in your home, keep an eye and an ear out for the following:
Noises in Attic and Walls
The two most common sounds squirrels make are running and jumping sounds in your attic, and a persistent scratching noise, typically coming from your walls.
Squirrels will most likely be found in your attic. There is lots of room to run around, it’s isolated from your living space and there are plenty of materials to build nests out of. Also, most access points for wildlife of that size are found on your roof. Staying in your attic allows them to easily come and go. So the most obvious sign you have squirrels will be lots of activity in your attic, typically early morning and evenings. This is when squirrels are most active.
Another common noise associated with a squirrel intrusion is non-stop scratching sounds. This happens when one gets trapped in a wall cavity. Squirrels will travel from your attic, through the insulation found in your walls in search of food, water and nesting materials. Sometimes, they will get trapped in a wall cavity and all they can do is scratch away as they try and free themselves. If this is the case, call a wildlife professional immediately. If the squirrel perishes in there the odour as it decomposes will become unbearable.
Visual Evidence Around The Exterior of Your House
Squirrels will leave plenty of clues they have broken into your home. From damaged entry points to tracks in the snow and feces. A close examination of the exterior of your home can give you insight into potential wildlife issues. Here are some things to look out for:
- Entry Points – squirrels will often damage your roof or wall vents, pull back siding and facia or even chew through your shingles and roof board. Take a walk around the perimeter of your house and keep an eye out for any obvious points of entry.
- Feces – these pests are creatures of habit and will use the same access point to enter and leave your home. You may notice accumulations of squirrel feces near these areas.
- Wildlife Activity – If you are hosting a family of squirrels in your house, you will see an increase in activity in and around your home. They will be seen on your roof, often in the same spots. Especially if you are noticing the activity takes place early mornings and around dusk, there is a good chance it’s squirrel your up against.
Those are the most obvious signs you have a squirrel problem to deal with. Keep reading to learn how best to go about safely and quickly resolving the issue.
How To Get Rid Of Squirrels From Your Attic and Walls
You have two choices when faced with a squirrel removal and prevention scenario in your home. Try your luck at nuisance wildlife removal and hope you get lucky, or bite the bullet and hire a professional squirrel removal and prevention company. Keep in mind, unlike some less intrusive wildlife and pest problems, a squirrel break-in must be dealt with immediately or your home will be damaged.
Take a look at the video below, a classic example of a DIY job on a residential home in Burlington, Ontario:
DIY Approach and Why That’s Dangerous
It’s always tempting to try and save a few dollars and tackle the issue on your own, especially if you are handy around the house. However, when it comes to evicting and permanently excluding wild animals, do not attempt it unless you know exactly what you’re doing. If you have not been trained in wildlife prevention, you are all but guaranteed to make the problem exponentially worse.
Here are some of the many ways this approach can go wrong:
- Accidents – working on or around your roof opens you up to all kinds of potential accidents. Working with tools and materials at heights and adding wild animals to the mix you is a recipe for disaster.
- Lock the Squirrel In – if you are successful in patching up the entry point, there is a high likelihood of you trapping one or more critters in your attic. Often there are babies, who will die if separated from there mom; who in turn will stop at nothing to get back in. This exposes your home to unnecessary additional damage. If you trap an adult squirrel in your attic, it will do everything it can to break out of your home. This will also expose you to significant additional damage.
- Risk to your House and Family – If you waste valuable time getting these pests out of your home, you place your family and your property at risk. The longer they stay in your house, the greater the risk of a serious incident. Squirrels chew non stop. Because their teeth never stop growing, they are constantly filing them down by chewing on anything they can get their jaws on. Including wires that can lead to electrical fires, or your roof boards allowing snow and rain into your attic. They also carry several diseases that put your family at risk.
Sometimes, the benefit of trying to save a few dollars is outweighed by the risk of potential problems. This is one of those times. Squirrel prevention is a highly specialized task. Unless you are trained for this it’s best to leave it the pros.
Hire a Professional Wildlife Company
No one is excited at the prospect of shelling out for unforeseen wildlife problems. The reality, however, is that the long term cost of not getting it right immediately will be much higher than that of a professional removal and prevention service. Wildlife companies are not cheap but a reputable company will provide a warranty and get the job done quickly and humanely.
These outfits carry liability insurance in case anything goes wrong with your building. Your home is a huge investment and wildlife prevention often amounts to minor construction on your home. Best left to professionals who are covered in case of any unpreventable mishaps. Furthermore, wildlife technicians are trained to work at heights and have the necessary tools and skills set to get everything resolved permanently and efficiently. This will ensure no harm comes to the animals or your home.
When choosing a wildlife and pest removal company, make sure you ask about warranties, and look into their reputation. Quality companies will have reviews from previous customers and will be able to provide references.