Many types of wild animals seek shelter inside human habitations during winter. Of these animals, squirrels can be the most destructive, which may leave you wondering how to get rid of squirrels. While a wild animal in the house is always a concern, a squirrel in the winter can be more of a nuisance because of its habits.
How To Get Rid of Squirrels
It is not a good idea to try to get rid of squirrels yourself. Squirrels typically prefer to run away from humans, but if cornered, they may become aggressive, biting and scratching in self-defence. While squirrels are unlikely to carry rabies, they could spread other diseases through their bites. DIY squirrel removal could also harm the animals themselves. In the interest of keeping both you and the animals safe, you should only have professionals remove squirrels from your home.
Whether a Winter Squirrel Hibernates
If you are concerned about a squirrel in your home this winter, you may wonder whether it hibernates. Squirrels remain active during the winter, but at a lower level than during warmer seasons. Many squirrels enter into a torpid state many times throughout the day rather than total hibernation. Essentially, wildlife will enter into a torpid state by lowering their body temperature and rate of bodily functions to save energy. Animals do this to save energy for activities like foraging, searching for shelter, or mating during unfavourable conditions, like winter. Daily torpor is different from deep torpor or hibernation. While hibernation is a physiological state that allows wildlife to remain asleep for months at a time, daily torpor occurs over smaller bouts of time, wherein wildlife conserves energy during extreme temperatures or food scarcity. Because squirrels reduce activity in winter rather than becoming completely inactive, they still need to forage for food and find shelter to avoid becoming easy prey.
How Long a Squirrel Lives
If you see squirrels around your yard or are unlucky enough to find them in your home, you may wonder, how long does a squirrel live? Most squirrels do not live beyond their first year of life, falling prey to predators. However, those that do survive can live five to 10 years on average in the wild, much longer than most rodents. However, this depends partly on the species. Red squirrels live closer to five years in the wild, though there is a record of a wild red squirrel living to be 10 years old. Eastern grey squirrels live an average of 12 years in the wild, and fox squirrels can live up to 18 years in the wild. Female squirrels usually live longer than male squirrels, though the opposite is true for red squirrels.
Where Squirrels in Winter Live
Most squirrels have already secured ideal lodging before winter rounds the corner. However, things can change in an instant, and nature has a certain hierarchy. There are many reasons why a squirrel may have to relocate during winter.
If something damages the nest so that it becomes uninhabitable, a squirrel has no choice but to look for a new nest site. Damage to the nest can occur due to weather conditions such as strong winds, heavy snow, or hail. A squirrel that makes its nest in a tree may have to relocate if the tree itself sustains damage and the nest is no longer habitable as a result.
Forced Removal by a Larger Animal
A larger animal may decide that the squirrel’s nest would make a cozy home and force the squirrel out of it. Squirrels can be aggressive in self-defence, but they are still small animals that may not be a match for the larger animals’ claws and teeth. Even if the larger animal does not try to take the squirrel’s nest, it may take up residence in the same tree, which may not be big enough for two animals. Examples of larger animals that nest in trees include the raccoon and the eastern spotted skunk.
If predators get too close to a squirrel’s nest, it may have to relocate for its own safety. The following are examples of predators that feed on squirrels:
Housecats kept as pets may also hunt squirrels if they are allowed to go outside. Feral cats rely on hunting small prey animals such as squirrels for food.
Proximity to Food Sources
Squirrels eat more during the late summer and early fall to build up fat layers to help sustain them during cold weather. They also gather food and hide it so they can draw from their stores through the winter. However, if their stores become depleted, they may have to forage for food, and if there aren’t plentiful food sources nearby, they have to find a new nest site.
What Squirrels Look For in a Winter Nest
When searching for a new place to spend the least comfortable months of the year, your home or business can look like a wonderland. Not only do places of residence often attract squirrels with food scents and heat sources, but the onset of winter coincides with the arrival of holiday lights, which can be extremely interesting and attractive to squirrels. Many holiday lights also have a soy coating which entices squirrels to nibble wires, causing additional damage.
Infrequently visited or unchecked areas of a building are often prime locations for squirrels looking for a safe place to spend the winter. Attics, insulation, and air ducts make excellent places for winter squirrels to live. Squirrels will often make their way in through loose flashing or aluminum venting in search of warmth. When they find a place far enough from the elements and warm enough to feel comfortable, they will gather some nesting materials and build their new home.
Skedaddle Knows How To Get Rid of Squirrels
If you suspect the presence of squirrels in your home or place of business, call the professionals who know how to get rid of squirrels to assess the situation. Following the assessment, our technicians safely startle the mother squirrel out of the attic so we can search for babies. If we find any, we remove them by hand and place them in a heated box for the mother to find and move to a new nest. We clean where the squirrels have been and seal off entry points so they can’t get back in. Contact Skedaddle today for efficient and effective squirrel removal services.