Why do squirrels chew the siding and fascia of your home? During the breeding season, pregnant females are searching for a cozy place inside your attic to raise their babies. To get in, they only need a space about two inches wide. However, there are other reasons for squirrel chewing behaviour that are unrelated to nesting. Skedaddle explains the special allure that siding holds for rodents and why squirrels feel the urge to chew in the first place.
Why Do Squirrels Chew Siding or Fascia?
Squirrels have two breeding seasons each year, one in spring and another in late summer. During these times, females search for a warm and dry nesting spot that is safe from predators. In natural areas, a hole in a tree would best fit this description. In towns, however, the attic of a human home seems like the perfect place to raise a family. Once squirrels realize it is available, they will use their sharp teeth to gain access to this prime location.
Squirrels and other rodents have a pair of upper and lower incisors that grow continuously. If the squirrels do not gnaw on hard objects to wear them down, the teeth will become misaligned, and the squirrel will not be able to eat. Eventually, the lower teeth could even grow up through the skull.
Squirrels gain nutrition through their incessant gnawing. Besides cracking into nutritious nuts, they also supplement their diets with minerals from bones, rocks, and even tree bark. For example, it is common to find old deer bones in the woods with rodent teeth marks on them. Researchers have also documented rodents chewing on certain rocks that contain calcium, magnesium, and other minerals the animals need.
A final reason that squirrels chew on the siding, fascia or roof of houses is that they simply cannot help themselves. The urge to chew is instinctual and is one way they deal with stress. When caretakers deprive captive rodents of chewing materials, they suffer from stress-related illnesses including ulcers, bone loss, and cognitive dysfunction. Like dogs, rodents lead happier, healthier lives when they have something to gnaw on. Unfortunately, they are using your house as a chew toy.
Whatever the motivation for an individual squirrel to start chewing on the outside of your house, it is unlikely to stop the behaviour once it has begun. A squirrel’s teeth are extremely strong, so materials such as plastic, aluminum, and copper are no match for them. They may also attempt to chew on concrete or glass but can do little damage to these harder materials.
How Do Squirrels Get On the Roof?
Leaves and Debris
Clogged gutters can make the edge of your roof vulnerable to squirrel entry, so you should clean them regularly. When you allow eavestroughs to fill with water, they tend to sag under the weight and create openings. Excess water in the eaves can keep wooden roof components wet and promote rotten areas that are easier for a squirrel to bite into.
Under-insulated attics are prone to ice dams and large icicle formations at the roof edge. These situations occur when warm air from inside the house rises through the attic and melts the snow on top of the roof. As melted snow flows downward, it contacts lower temperatures and refreezes under shingles and the fascia at the roof edge. The added weight of all that ice puts stress on the eaves, causing them to peel away from the house.
It is unfortunate that the fascia and eaves troughs of many homes are poorly constructed. This area of the roof is critical because it is where all the water that hits the roof eventually ends up. These structures fail most often when they lack a proper drip edge to deflect water away from the fascia and into the eaves troughs. The result is wet wood that quickly deteriorates.
Be sure to inspect your roof frequently for damage. Any gaps or openings at the roof edge, no matter how small, are an open invitation for opportunistic squirrels. With Ontario’s harsh winters, it is important to make sure to clean your gutters and eavestroughs regularly, fully insulate your attic, and conduct any necessary roof repairs. If animals have damaged your insulation, Skedaddle can remove and replace it after disinfecting the area.
How Can You Tell Whether a Squirrel Has Been Chewing?
Determining whether squirrels are the culprits behind your damaged fascia or siding requires a bit of detective work. Rodent teeth will leave lots of little parallel marks. When they are chewing to gain entry, they often make a semicircular hole 4 to 8 cm in diameter. If you are not comfortable climbing a ladder to inspect the area yourself, Skedaddle technicians are happy to perform this service for you when they assess your home.
It is easier to figure out whether squirrels are living inside your house than it is to identify teeth marks. Here are some clues to look for:
- Strange sounds – You may hear tiny feet running, squirrels scuffling, or acorns rolling across the floor.
- Brown stains on the ceiling – Squirrels, like other furry creatures, urinate multiple times per day. Liquid coming from an entire family of them initially soaks into nesting material, but it can eventually seep into the ceiling below.
- Nuts and acorns – Squirrels eat and store a huge quantity of food. Finding whole nuts or shells around the roof or in the attic is a sign they may be living there.
How Skedaddle Helps With Squirrel Removal
Skedaddle is not like other squirrel removal services that simply trap and relocate wildlife. Instead, Skedaddle technicians first evaluate your home to determine where squirrels are getting in. They will find and remove any animals, allowing the mother to take her babies to a more appropriate den.
Once the squirrels are gone, Skedaddle will seal every point of entry so that the situation does not occur again. Keeping them out is important because squirrels pose a safety risk. As they construct nests, squirrels will shred insulation and wiring, which could cause an electrical short that ultimately results in a fire.
Why do squirrels chew fascia? You may never know for sure. But if squirrels are chewing on your house or have already gotten inside, then you should contact Skedaddle immediately for help with squirrel control.