We have all seen the reports of the positive effects COVID-19 has had on wildlife. Animals wander freely onto golf courses, into parks and sometimes right in the middle of town. Taking humans out of the picture gives bears, foxes, wild cats and other elusive creatures the opportunity to roam freely without fear of interference from people, but what about more common critters like squirrels and chipmunks?
Though these two animals skitter away from humans who come too close, they aren’t exactly elusive. We see plenty of them every day of the year. This year, though, you might have noticed that there seem to be more of them than usual in your yard and throughout Madison. You are probably right, but it isn’t because of the pandemic that you’re seeing them!
A Year of Bounty
One of the reasons you are noticing an abundance of squirrels and chipmunks is because they may be experiencing a bit of a population explosion. This occurs when food and weather conditions are primed for survival and breeding. Last year, these little animals had more food than they could eat during the winter months because oak trees produced a lot of acorns. This meant that not only did they have plenty of sustenance heading into winter, but they also had enough coming out of the cold months.
These small rodents got another boost from the weather as well. Last winter Madison saw lower snowfall amounts than the previous year. Temperatures were generally above average and included several rather balmy days for this part of the country. The combination gave squirrels and chipmunks an easier time of it over the winter. This means that more of them likely survived into the spring and summer.
A Natural Cycle
It is difficult to know for sure whether we truly are seeing higher numbers of the little critters because there is no good data collected on squirrel and chipmunk numbers. However, for these types of animals, relatively large fluctuations in the population are normal. Both species tend to have babies twice a year, giving birth to anywhere from one to nine little ones each time.
When the weather cooperates and food sources are good, then there is a higher survival rate for the females, allowing them to reproduce successfully. It also means that more offspring are likely to survive. Such a population boom is when you’ll see more squirrels and chipmunks scampering up your trees and potentially finding their way into your home. If they do make their way into your attic, contacting professional humane squirrel removal in Madison will ensure to remove them quickly and efficiently. This ensures your houseguests are taken safely from your home while keeping mothers and babies together.
The top side of this cycle doesn’t last forever for any animal. Their numbers hit a peak and then more competition, increases in predator populations, changes in the weather and a reduction in food supply drive them back down again.
A COVID Effect
There is one potential connection between the number of squirrels and chipmunks we are seeing and COVID-19. With more people working and staying at home, it is likely that they are simply around more to notice when Scamper the Squirrel and his pals are running about the yard, chasing one another up and down the tree or scurrying across the attic floor. Anyone filling their bird feeders with regularity right now is likely to see far more squirrels and chipmunks keeping company with the birds — or chasing them off from — the buffet.
A Helping Hand
Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control is in the business of understanding our urban wildlife habits and lifecycles. Our aim is to preserve the health and safety of the animals we remove and then to safeguard your home against further intrusion. To get more information on humane squirrel removal in Madison or to schedule an appointment, fill out our online form or give us a call.