We’re quite familiar with the signs of fall arriving. The nights get shorter and pumpkins seem to appear everywhere. Leaves change color and we need to wear an extra layer of clothing. Everybody settles in for the cold winter ahead. Turns out, squirrels do too – they always have. However, rather than enjoying pumpkin spiced lattes and changing their clocks, squirrels are hard at work. It’s their busiest time of year and one of the most important ones. But why do they grow so much in size? How come squirrels bulk up more noticeably than other animals? Keep reading to find out more, and why it could mean that you need squirrel control in your Milwaukee home this fall.
Why Are Squirrels Bulking Up?
It’s not just you, is it? Surely everybody else is seeing squirrels noticeably gain weight? Well, you’re right. In fact, last year it was something of a viral sensation. Everybody was fascinated with the sudden size of squirrels they found in local parks.
The truth is that squirrels can increase their body weight by up to 50%. Fall, coming before the harsh winter season, is the best time to do just that. Contrary to popular belief, squirrels don’t hibernate during winter. They systematically hide their food stashes near their home for the winter. That way, when supplies are running low, they can burrow through the snow and have easy access to precious food they’ve hidden earlier that year.
Before that, they gain as much weight as possible. Berries, nuts, and vegetables are all consumed at an incredible rate. This provides them with a much-needed layer of fat. More fat means more warmth when the temperatures plummet. It also means that if it’s too cold to do anything, they can stay put. They have enough reserves to last for a few days without food while the temperatures are too cold to brave. Typically, squirrels will sleep through the worst weather, then scavenge for their hidden supplies when they need to.
Most mammals will do this before the freezing winter temperatures arrive – even those that do hibernate. They want to give themselves the best possible chance of surviving winter. And, when the spring sunshine begins to arrive, they’ll emerge from their homes having shed most of their fat.
Should You Help Squirrels Bulk Up?
It’s tempting to try and feed squirrels when you find them nearby. They’re not going to turn down the tasty snacks in your hand, right? And think of the cute picture opportunity.
Let’s be crystal clear about this: do not feed squirrels. Squirrels are resourceful animals and will successfully find food to eat when they need to. If we interfere with this behavior by providing them food, they will be less inclined to find it themselves.
Squirrels adapt and survive without any extra help. Besides, the processed foods that you’re trying to offer them? They’re probably not very squirrel friendly.
Be Careful What You Wish For
So now you know that squirrels hide food supplies for the winter. Usually, they’re underground and very well hidden – they don’t want birds and other mammals sharing their stash.
That being the case, do you know where the squirrels in your yard have hidden their stash? Make sure they haven’t stored anything in your home. Some squirrels will attempt to hide food in your attic and underneath stairs. If you suspect there’s a food stash indoors, contact our humane squirrel control team in Milwaukee. Our technicians know their habits inside out and can remove squirrels from your property safely.