Winters in Milwaukee are harsh and frigid. People have a hard enough time dealing with snow, ice, and wind chills, but what about the poor animals? Some wildlife have mechanisms for dealing with temperature changes or seasonal shifts, like hibernation. In fact, many people assume that when they do not see an animal, like a squirrel, it is hibernating, but wildlife control in Milwaukee will quickly tell you that is not true, especially in the case of squirrels.
Squirrels can appear scarce in the winter, but that is not because of hibernation. These animals are diligent and well-prepared for the cold months, and it is their preparation that enables them to survive the cold Milwaukee winter.
Establishing or Building Nests or Dens
One of the primary reasons a squirrel can survive winter is its ingenuity. The animal spends a significant amount of time building and establishing its shelter, and every squirrel typically has more than one nest or cavity den.
During the warmer seasons, a squirrel will gather twigs, mud, moss, leaves, and other debris to build nests high in the trees, away from dangerous predators.
A cavity den is an existing hole in a tree, typically hardwood. The spot was usually leftover from a woodpecker or other animal dweller, and the squirrel will use similar nesting materials to insulate its new den for staying warm in the winter.
However, if accessible, a squirrel will build a preferrable nest in your home’s attic because of the warmth and shelter it provides. Sealing your property is paramount to preventing such circumstances.
Collecting Food and Hoarding
Squirrels eat nuts, seeds, berries, vegetables, insects, and bones, but they are not picky and often search through trash and debris to find things like bread, crackers, and bagels. The animal spends the majority of the warmer months foraging and storing food for the winter.
Tree squirrels spread their stash out around their nests. The practice of scatter-hoarding is an excellent survival trick because it ensures that the squirrel always has food even if a competitor finds part of their hoard.
The animal also buries and pretends to bury food in a process known as spatial chunking around their nests or dens. Squirrels have impeccable memories for food storage, and the chunking of like food in similar locations helps avoid confusion. It is not uncommon to see a squirrel pretending to bury food. They do this to trick other squirrels and prevent theft.
Putting on Weight
Fat storage is vital for a squirrel’s survival in the winter. Not only does the extra fat allow for reserved energy storage to make it through those harsh winter days and nights, but it also provides a natural layer of insulation for the animal, allowing it to manage its body temperature.
You will notice that squirrels get noticeably fatter as the colder weather approaches, but how do they know when to put on weight. While animals do not have calendars, they do track seasonal changes with the photo-neuroendocrine system. This system of glands, hormones, and neurons helps to adjust the squirrel’s internal chemistry as the length of days change, creating the instinct to store fat and nest.
Squirrels do not get enough credit for their perseverance and ingenuity. However, while the animal deserves high praise for its ability to survive even the Milwaukee winter, it is vital to prevent habitation of your space as a homeowner. It can be challenging to secure your house from wildlife, which is why hiring a knowledgeable technician and company for a property assessment is crucial, especially so close to winter. If you are interested in a property inspection for wildlife control in Milwaukee or believe that you have a squirrel in your house, contact Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control.