You had one of two thoughts when you read the title of this blog. Either you thought, “but squirrels are just cute little critters who live outside. How could they bother anyone?” or you thought, “Ugh, don’t remind me…”. People who had the first thought have never had a squirrel try to make a nest in their home.
All the traits that make squirrels delightful to watch when they’re outside–their pep, their industriousness, their relentlessness–make them a nightmare when they’re inside. Here are problems squirrels can cause when they’re allowed to get inside your home, and how to prevent them. Reading this probably won’t make you stop loving the little scamps… but you might look at them a little differently.
As you’ve no doubt observed countless times, squirrels are expert acrobats. Climbing sheer surfaces, shimmying across beams and cables, even leaping long distances fearlessly— they do it all. Unfortunately, these gymnastic inclinations serve them all too well when they’re BREAKING AND ENTERING. Squirrels seeking food, water, shelter, or warmth often see houses as a golden opportunity. If they can find the smallest opening up high, they’ll use their unmatched dexterity to reach it.
Usually, a squirrel enter your home through damaged vent screens, uncapped chimneys, or peeling shingles and siding. They can also leap from nearby power lines, tree branches, or high plant life. If the opening they find isn’t big enough, they’ll simply make it big enough–damaging your home in the process. The hole your robber-squirrel makes getting in could even become a passage for all kinds of other pests, too. In fact, if the squirrel has pests like fleas, other pests might follow it in fast. Then, the squirrel will have made their problem YOUR problem–which just isn’t fair.
Ok, so you can see why squirrels might be annoying while they’re trying to get into your home. But are they really that big a deal once they get inside? This is the part where people who have had squirrel problems before stare into the distance and shake their heads solemnly. When many pests get inside your home, they’re too small to do a lot of damage fast. Not squirrels.
When squirrels build winter nests, they’re relentless. They’ll grab chunks of whatever they can grab, smashing, munching, and crashing through everything else in the process. Squirrels often slash up insulation, paper products, linens, fabrics, and even structures to scavenge nest materials. Their nests grow while the rest of your attic gets ripped to shreds. The damage squirrels inflict on attics can lead to all kinds of other problems too. Damaged insulation can lead to drafts, other pest problems, and even safety concerns. They’re basically turning your nest into their nest!
Squirrels are rodents, and just like many other rodents, their teeth never stop growing. In other words, squirrels never stop teething as long as they live. To keep their growing teeth healthy and sharp, they’re gnawing on something all day, every day. The problem is, if they get into your home they may end up gnawing on something they really shouldn’t bite. Like wires or cables. Yikes.
Soft, plastic-wrapped electrical wires are an ideal squirrel teething target. They’re brightly colored, nice and soft, and easily accessible. If squirrels chew on electrical wires enough, however, they–and you–are in for a nasty surprise. Squirrels can easily chew on wires until they break through the wrapping and expose the wiring. Depending on where the wire is, it could spark and start highly dangerous and damaging electrical fires. Even if the wire doesn’t spark, squirrels could cause other disruptive or annoying electrical damage. And all because they can’t stop munching.
You may have noticed a similarity between each of these issues: squirrels are kind of party animals. They scratch up wooden surfaces, dig through insulation, pull wiring out of walls, break things, and defecate everywhere. It’s like having a very small, very furry punk band in your attic. The damage they can inflict on property isn’t purely cosmetic, either.
If you store anything in your attic–boxes of old photos, scrapbooks, etc.–it could end up nesting material for your unwelcome boarder. Forget about old clothes or other fabric products–there’s no way soft targets like those could escape the ceaseless munching. Drafts and holes in insulation created by burrowing squirrels could drive up your heating bill or lead to pest infestation. In rare circumstances, these pests could even damage the structural integrity of part of the building itself! If they don’t, you know, start a fire first.
Everybody likes squirrels. They’re cute, they’re funny, and they’re always up to something rascally. When that “something rascally” has to do with inconveniencing you in your own home, however, they’ve gotta go.
Anytime you need some help with a rowdy rodential resident in your home, give us a call. We can safely and effectively remove your squirrel and make sure they can’t get in again. Don’t worry–something tells us they’ll bounce back. It’s what squirrels do, after all.BACK TO BLOG