Squirrels can be a problem all year long but slow down in the winter. In colder climates, that may mean spending more time huddled in their nests and relying on food that they’ve hidden away. It may also mean that squirrels attempt to find ways into your home or property as a means of staying warm.
Squirrels can wriggle their way into your home through the chimney, holes in siding or foundations, utility line connections and other weak areas in the perimeter of your home. Even if they slow down, these invasive pests are a loud and destructive problem for homeowners. Squirrels, like all rodents, are vectors for disease and can quickly turn an environment unhealthy.
What do squirrels look like?
Most squirrels have rounded ears, slender bodies, and big, bushy tails. Common colors include brown, gray and reddish brown, but there are some with the genetic mutation of albinism which causes their fur to be completely white.
There are over 200 species of squirrels in the world, so colors and hues vary. The eastern gray squirrel, southern fox squirrel and the American red squirrel or the most popular varieties you’re likely to encounter.
What do squirrels eat?
Squirrels are rodents which means their front teeth never stop growing. They must continually gnaw on things to keep their teeth filed down and are known to nibble on tree bark, twigs, and branches. Squirrels particularly love hickory and oak trees.
Foods they eat include fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. These animals also love flower bulbs, and they will root around on the ground looking for them. These rodents will dig holes looking for these food items, but they also dig holes for other reasons. Sometimes, when people see squirrels digging in their yard they will wonder: “Do squirrels eat grass?” The answer is that they might but usually do not eat grass.
Why do squirrels dig holes?
Do squirrels burrow for the winter? No, they prefer the safety of tree top nests. As mentioned above, squirrels dig in the ground to look for food such as roots and flower bulbs. They also cache winter reserves in some of the quarter-sized holes they dig, but other squirrel holes are decoys to trick other animals. Regardless of their purpose, a squirrel digging holes all over your yard can be a true nuisance.
5 Ways to Keep Squirrels out of Your home and Yard
Although these mammals can be entertaining to watch, most homeowners don’t want squirrels digging in the yard tearing up their lawn or eating from their gardens. Here are a few tips to keep squirrels and other wildlife out of your home and yard:
- Seal entry points: Inspect your home for holes along the foundation and damaged shingles or siding. Squirrels can wriggle their way into your home through these openings and make nests inside.
- Keep branches cut back from your home: These rodents will use overhanging tendrils and branches as a way to get onto your roof to access possible entry points.
- Defend your garden: If you’ve had a problem with these animals eating your produce, it might be a good idea to build a fence around your garden. Use a wire mesh with no more than a ½ inch square mesh so they are unable to squeeze through. It may also help to build a top to go over your garden so they can’t climb over the fence.
- Remove food sources: Seal garbage cans, move bird feeders, feed pets indoors and cover compost. If you’re planting trees, don’t plant nut or acorn producers. Don’t attract squirrels unnecessarily.
- Repel them: There are numerous squirrel repellents you can buy. Dogs and cats are also great at keeping squirrels out of your yard.
Gregory is on call, winter and every season
No matter what season it is, you don’t want squirrels or other pests in your home or business. If you are having trouble with squirrels on your property and can’t seem to shake them, it may be time to contact a professional. Gregory specializes in effective removal and prevention of squirrels from your home, business, or property. Let the pros take care of dangerous wildlife when it gets too close!