Category Archives for "Squirrels"

Squirrel Poop vs Rat Poop – Identifying Rodent Droppings

Something is nesting in your house and you need to find out what, exactly, you are up against. The animal sounds smaller than something truly horrifying, like a possum, but it is also bigger than a mouse based on the noises it makes and the damage it has done. There is likely more than one of whatever it is. So like any good do-it-yourself pest fighter would do, you investigate the situation. You go into the crawlspace, attic, basement, or garage where the trouble in going down and come up with some vital evidence: a pile of poop.

The only problem is, you don’t know what kind of droppings you are looking at. You immediately thought it belonged to a rat, but after safely removing some of the feces and looking at it by the light of day you realize it could just as easily belong to a similarly sized animal, like a squirrel. Based on all the information you have gathered on the infestation, it really could be either rats or squirrels. Figuring out what you are dealing with is extremely important since rats and squirrels are expelled from a house through very different processes.

Squirrel and Rat Poop Identification

The first thing you need to do when sorting out squirrel poop vs. rat poop is pull up a droppings identification guide on the internet. The Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management features a very thorough guide on pest droppings. They recommend taking a close, almost scientific look at the droppings you discover. Consider the shape, length, color, and distribution of the droppings and then see if you can answer these questions:

  1. Is it more pointed or rounded at the ends? Rat droppings are pointier, squirrel droppings rounder.
  2. What is the overall shape of the pellets? If you are dealing with a squirrel it will be shaped more like a barrel whereas what a rat leaves behind tend to be thinner and longer.
  3. What color is it? Rat poop tends to be blacker and darker than squirrel poop, which can be tan or red in color.
  4. What pattern did you find the droppings in? Rats tend to defecate everywhere they run, like a mouse does; squirrels tend to leave their feces in clusters or piles.

Another key to distinguishing the two kinds of droppings is squirrel poop tends to lighten in color with time, whereas a rat’s poop will stay dark in color. If you find older fecal matter and it is noticeably paler than what you find fresh, chances are you are dealing with a colony of squirrels.

Of course, this comes with a warning about the hazards of handling animal poop; you should always use gloves and thoroughly clean or dispose of anything that comes into contact with the feces. Both squirrel and rat droppings carry diseases. In fact, you should address any droppings in your house while figuring out how to get rid of the pests so that a bacteria like salmonella doesn’t spread through your house. Also use caution when exploring areas of your house where an animal is living– you don’t want to be bitten. When in doubt you can handle the situation safely, call a local pest control company.

Putting the Pieces Together

It is unlikely you will be able to settle the squirrel poop vs. rat poop debate without knowing more about what is living in your house. You can learn a lot from a general pest identification guide– you have to consider what you are looking at belongs to neither a squirrel nor a rat, and a guide like this will help you determine what you should be hunting for and eventually expelling from your house. Figuring out as much as you can about the poop you discovered is important, however, because it may be the clue that pulls together all the other information you’ve gathered on your pest.

 

Flying Squirrels in the Attic – Signs, Noises & Removal Tips

One of the most common issues that people contact wildlife removal professionals about is having flying squirrels in attic. Although many people see these animals as cute, they can become a problem very quickly if left unchecked in an attic area. some of the most common complaints include:

  • Large colonies in the attic that cause odors because of their droppings
  • Staining walls and ceilings because of their urine
  • Making a lot of noise at night due to their nocturnal nature
  • Destructive behavior like chewing on wires and wood
  • Causing permanent damage to insulation
  • Damaging gardens and raiding bird feeders
  • Digging in lawn areas, often leaving unsightly holes
  • Chewing the bark off trees, resulting in the damage or death of the trees
  • Transmitting diseases like typhus and, less commonly, rabies
  • Infecting people and other animals with parasites

Understanding Flying Squirrel Behavior

Understanding typical flying squirrel behavior is a good way to determine whether you are coping with flying squirrels and what steps you need to take to end the problem. When you understand more about why they behave as they do, you’ll have a better idea of what to watch for.

  • Flying squirrels in particular need good vertical surfaces for climbing, making roofs and attics prime targets
  • They will often live with others that include groups of up to fifteen adults, excluding any litters
  • The squirrels can build nests for babies, solitary nests, and nests for groups
  • There is usually a common bathroom area, which often leads to problems in attics
  • The babies usually remain with their mothers for about three months

How Do You Tell If You Have Flying Squirrels?

You might have difficulty telling the difference between having problems with flying squirrels and other squirrels without actually spotting one of them. Both species engage in many of the same behaviors, and both are destructive, with health risks associated with the large number of droppings they leave behind. Some of the differences between grey squirrels and flying squirrels include:

  • Flying squirrels having a stronger preference for traveling from tree to tree, instead of on the ground as grey squirrels might do
  • Unlike other species, they have extra skin flaps behind their front legs, and also have large eyes
  • Although they don’t actually fly, the skin flaps help them glide between trees
  • Groups of flying squirrels are usually larger than other species
  • Flying squirrels also tend to be smaller than many other species

However, these animals are nocturnal and somewhat skittish around people, so you might not spot one that easily. Because they are not as likely to be seen, you can get a better idea of whether you have an infestation by checking your attic area thoroughly.

Signs of Flying Squirrel Damage

The attic and your yard are both places that you need to check out thoroughly for signs of damage. There is likely to be a strong urine and/or feces odor that may escape the attic area. You might notice visible chewing marks. If there are any holes in the attic that are too small for other squirrels to fit through, but close to trees, there is a good chance flying squirrels are what is visiting your attic. Also, listen for scurrying and scampering noises at night, although other animals may cause these noises.

There are also some possible indicators that you can see out in your yard, including:

  • Tree branches close to your roof, which make it easier for the squirrels to glide to the roof area
  • Fallen nuts and fruit from your trees are a major attractant
  • An unfenced garden will also attract squirrels
  • Food for outside pets left out overnight is also attractive to squirrels
  • If you notice that fallen nuts, fruit, or spilled pet food disappear overnight, squirrels are a likely culprit

Removing the Squirrels

Once you’ve determined that you have flying squirrels in your attic, trapping and removal work very well. Removal works well because, if done right, you can keep the squirrels from coming back without killing them. Use a live trap, and bait it with something the squirrels have been eating to begin with.

After you have them caught, take them to a location far enough away to discourage them from returning. Most experts estimate that 10 to 25 miles away from your home is a distance that will discourage them from coming back. If you have to trap multiple groups, you can release them in the same location, but should check to make sure it is okay to release them into your chosen location.

Keep the Squirrels from Returning

Once the squirrels are gone, you will need to take some steps to secure your home against further squirrel visits and also clean up after them. Decomtaminating is important for health reasons, but should be done after securing your home to keep from having to repeat the process.

  • Clean up any fruit or nuts in your yard, and make sure your trash barrels have secure lids
  • Seal off any holes in your walls, roof or eves that provide attic access for squirrels
  • Make sure your chimney is closed off when not in use

If you follow these steps, you will have a good chance of eliminating your squirrel problem for good.

How to Get Rid of a Squirrel in Fireplaces & Chimneys

Squirrels are one of the most common animals that are found in chimneys. They are great climbers and are capable of getting in and out rather easy. Baby squirrels may have a tougher time of getting in and out of the chimney and could get stuck. This could cause a major problem if they end up falling down into your home or die in the chimney. As most chimneys are made up of brick, stone or mortar it is easy for the squirrels to get in and out. If you have a slippery interior within the chimney then they could accidentally fall in and get trapped. A slick metal flu can also cause a squirrel to get stuck in the bottom of the chimney. There are ways to remove the squirrel from the fireplace plus prevent them from getting inside.

Stuck inside the chimney

Squirrels like getting inside chimneys as it is warm and dry and provides a great escape from the outside weather. However, it can be dangerous for them and a real problem for you. There are ways to give the squirrel a way out such as hanging a rope into the chimney. Ropes will provide a tough and rough surface for the squirrel to climb. They may not leave right away so leave it for several hours and return to check to see if the squirrels left. If not then leave for a while longer or try another method.

Living inside the chimney

Sometimes squirrels are not stuck in your chimney but just choose to live there and raise their young. You may not be using your chimney much so it can be easy for a squirrel to live in there. This may require you to go to other tactics such as trapping. If you are uncertain of what to do you may consider going to the next step. Otherwise place the live traps so you can remove all of the squirrels from your chimney and then take immediate preventive measures to keep them out.

Call an expert

Call upon a wildlife expert who understands how to handle squirrels rather than trying to do it yourself. Some suggestions of letting the animal loose into your to remove it from the chimney is not recommended especially when you don’t know what you’re doing or are afraid to handle the squirrel. The wild animal can be so frightened that it will attack to get out. Avoid letting them into your home on purpose and try other ways to lead them back out the chimney onto the roof.

Prevention

It is always best to take precaution and prevent squirrels and other animals from getting into your chimney by using a chimney cap. This allows the smoke to escape while protecting the chimney from animals that are searching for a great place to hide out of the cold weather. Caps are inexpensive to purchase and easy to install.

Don’t continue to listen to the squirrels rustling around in your chimney and don’t leave them in there for too long as they could die if they are stuck. Make sure to take the next step to get them removed so you can move on with preventing the squirrels from entering your chimney.

  • Look down inside the chimney to see if the squirrel may be stuck in the flu or is living inside the chimney
  • Place a rope down into the chimney tied down to something solid that can hold the rope still
  • Remove the rope once squirrels are out
  • Avoid allowing the squirrel inside your home as it can become a dangerous situation
  • Call upon a professional if you cannot remove them yourself

Squirrel Control, Prevention, and Removal

As squirrels can be cute little furry animals they can also be pests and can do a lot of damage if they make nests in or around your home. They can take shelter in your attic and build nests. They can chew through open wiring as they like to gnaw on things that could cause a shortage and eventually a fire. They will chew on the wood in your attic causing damage to the structure and eventually they can chew into open piping causing water damage in your home. They will enjoy chewing through your insulation and make your energy bills go up as well. There are preventive measures you can take to keep squirrels from getting inside your home and there are ways to get rid of them.

Look around your home and take notice to any opened areas that need repairing. Replace or repair shingles on your roofing and caulk up areas around your windows, doors and areas where siding may meet with wood or framing. Place mesh screens over chimney openings and vents. This can ensure that no squirrel can get in. If they are already in then call on a professional to help remove them. They may use live traps and if there are baby squirrels involved they will need to make sure that all of the squirrels are out before shutting up any possible way in and out of your home.

Look around your home and determine what will need to be done next. Are your tree branches hanging over the house? Do you have a bird feeder that is close to the house? Did you recently plant bulbs or have a vegetable garden? Then it’s time to start working around your home.

Trim the tree branches so they are at least six feet away from the house. Squirrels can jump as long as 10 feet so try to make it difficult for the squirrel to get on top of your roof. Bird feeders will need to be placed in an area that is far from the house and hard for the squirrels to reach. For example, place pvc piping around the pole you have the bird feeder on to make it hard for the squirrel to climb and make sure to clean up any bird seeds that do fall onto the ground. If you have trees with nuts and berries and fruits then make sure to keep them cleaned up once they fall to prevent squirrels from eating them and sticking around. As squirrels can usually cause damage to lawns as they can dig holes to plant their nuts and other types of food you want to make sure to keep everything cleaned up and put little mulching around the base of trees and shrubbery.

Take measures to protect your plants with a two foot wide and six foot tall metal sheeting placed around the base of the trees. As squirrels also enjoy gnawing on the bark of the tree they could cause real damage to a growing and old tree. Put a fence around the vegetable garden with one inch wide mesh wiring and 30 inches high. Dig into the ground at least six inches down and out to help prevent any burrowing they might do to get to their food resources. For newly planted bulbs you will also want to protect them with a one inch mesh wiring over them with a little mulch that is soaked with squirrel repellent.

When all else fails you may want to call upon a professional pest control as they will take various measures to begin to get rid of them, but they may also kill them. Ask them to do it humanely so that they will not take measures that will harm the animals. They can use live traps without having them killed.

Some other basic ways to keep the squirrels from coming around once they are removed is to keep fallen food raked up, remove your trash in secure garbage bins and use squirrel repellents. Granular repellents can be sprinkles around the structure of your home to help keep these animals away and a liquid repellent can be sprayed on surfaces that will also help prevent the squirrels from wanting to come in or go around your home.

One other thing to consider is having a city worker cover up your electrical wires that run over your home with PVC piping. This makes it hard for the squirrel to run across to get to another area of the home or to trees that you may thing they wouldn’t be able to get to. Just the city know you are having problems with squirrels and are trying to make sure they are not getting into your home. They will need to come out and cover any open wiring and connections from one pole to another that run near your home from at least 10 feet away.

Learn How to Get Rid of Ground Squirrels & Prevent Them From Returning

Ground squirrels are gnawing mammals such as the classic tree squirrels, pocket gophers, voles, muskrats, mice, chipmunks and rats. These rodents get the name from spending 90 percent of their lifetime below ground and hibernating up to 250 days per year. Many build burrows under the ground or inside hallow trees while others build water dams and dens to live in during the colder winter months, but it all depends on the species.

Some unlucky homeowners get the horrible pleasure of having ground squirrels as unwanted house guest. This is why so many people are trying to learn new ways to rid these creatures from their home and prevent them from coming back. If you are one of those unlucky people, trying to get rid of these rodents some of the methods you will learn here are worth trying.  After all, some of these ground squirrels can carry diseases that are harmful to human health and can wreak havoc in homes to the potent a construction work will need to be hired to make house repairs.

Where do ground squirrels prefer to live?

Ground squirrels mostly love living in woodland areas deep within the forest or within wetlands and fields. If your home is in a forest like areas or close to wetland areas or tall fields this could be the reason why you are dealing with ground squirrel issues to begin with. Thankfully, there are methods you can take to keep them out of your home and even away from your yard, but first you need to know what they mainly feast on to fill their little bellies.

What do ground squirrels eat?

Bountiful amounts of seeds, nuts from nut trees, bushes loaded with berries and areas where the grass is tall and attracts insects and other creatures is where you will find ground squirrels eating. Squirrels love snacking on nuts, seeds, berries and insects. Ground squirrels also love dinning in vegetable and fruit gardens too where produce is plentiful because it is much easier for them to get their little tiny paws on and eat up quickly. If there is a source of food, water and shelter around your yard, you can almost bet they will make their home in your home. The only way to keep them away for sure is to remove the food sources, keep yards well mowed and raked up, bushes well-trimmed and dead trees removed from your property.

What are prevention methods to keep ground squirrels away? 

  • Placing Trash Bags in Sealed Up Trash Containers or Bins with Locks
  • Spraying Ground Squirrel Repellent Along Your Property Line
  • Get a Few Farm Cats
  • Spray Bobcat or Coyote Urine Around Your Yard
  • Keep Dining Areas Outside Clean
  • Use Ground Squirrel Traps to Physically Capture the Rodents from Your Property so You Can Relocate them Elsewhere
  • Install Ultrasonic Rodent Devices within Your Home and Outside in Your Yard
  • Place Tall Fencing or Netting around Gardens or Bushes You Don’t want them Eating
  • Use Motion Sensor Water Sprinklers to Scare them Away with Water
  • Use Poison Rodent Bait to Kill them Off
  • Seal up Cracks and Holes around Your Home along Windows, Doors, Crawl Spaces, Garages and Attics
  • Plant Mint Plants around Your Home to Repel the Ground Squirrels Away
  • Add Ground Cayenne Peppers to Bird Feeders to Prevent Ground Squirrels from Eating the Bird Seed
  • Place Ground Squirrel Feeders along Your Property Line to Keep them from Your Home, but Feasting at a Distance
  • Spray a Cayenne Pepper Solution Around the Foundation of Your Home to Keep the Squirrels Away
  • Install a Sprinkler System Outside with Motion Sensors to Deter the Rodents
  • Stalk Wood inside Woodsheds or Garages as Soon as it is Delivered to Prevent the Rodents from Building Homes within It

What can I do if ground squirrels are building in my home?

The best thing you can do when ground squirrels are building their home inside your home is call the exterminator or a professional who is skilled at removing squirrels properly. Trying to do this job yourself can be daunting and even get you sick since some of these rodents carry harmful bacteria and diseases in their droppings that can cause you to become seriously ill.

However, once the nest is gone it is important to go to that area wearing a mask and some gloves and clean it up properly using bleach and removing any urine or fecal soaked materials left behind. If these creatures have built homes within the walls, you may need to call in some contractors to help you take down the drywall, remove old insulation and make any repairs to wooden structures that might need repairing due to the rodents chewing away.

You may even discover electrical work needs to be done too since rodents love chewing wiring also, which by the way when left within the walls chewed could potentially start a house fire. There is nothing worse than having a house fire all because rodents chewed electrical work and sparked a flame. This is why it is also important to deal with a ground squirrel situation that is infesting your home as soon as you notice it. Some of the signs you can look for are chewing or rodents running around within your walls, which you will definitely be able to hear if you do have them invading your space.

Some Things to Keep in Mind with Riding Ground Squirrels 

When it comes to ground squirrels, they are typically happy wooden forest creatures that are non-aggressive unless they feel threatened in some way. Typically, ground squirrels will stay away when yards are kept clean, there are no bird feeders are around and homes are well sealed up with no holes, cracks or entrance points to get in through to get into the house.

In fact, it is more common to see ground squirrels getting into old farm homes and building their homes inside of those since farmhouses and even barns are much easier to get into. Making sure crawl spaces are blocked off near their entrance points goes along ways from preventing rodent invasions within your homes too. After all, your home is your home and it needs to be kept safe and rodent free for your health and the tiny ground like creatures.

Now that you know how to get rid of ground squirrels, let us know how what your experience is with the strategies and tips above in the comments below.