Why Do Squirrels Move and Behave That Way?There are several reasons why squirrels act the way they do. One is their emotional state. Squirrels are capable of feeling emotions such as anxiety just as people do. Squirrels have more reason to feel anxious than most human beings do. They are very small prey animals that have many different predators, including snakes, hawks, and even house cats. Their senses are highly attuned to detect any movement that could presage a predator attack and react to it quickly to protect themselves from attack. If you approach a squirrel, you may find that it darts quickly forward, then stops, then runs off in another direction. This is an instinctual diversionary tactic intended to confuse large predators and allow the squirrel to escape. It is a trait that squirrels developed because it gave them an evolutionary advantage. Unfortunately, it has also increased the chances of a squirrel getting hit by a car. The squirrel perceives a motor vehicle as a potential predator and goes into its diversionary maneuvers, but the car isn't trying to catch the squirrel, so the tactic doesn't work.
What Are Some Signs of a Squirrel Infestation?Squirrels sometimes make their way into human homes, usually from the attic. They jump from nearby branches onto the roof, and if there is a hole they can crawl through, they may make their way into the attic. Because the attic provides things the squirrels need, such as shelter from predators, warmth, and storage space for food, they may decide to stay. It can be difficult to know if you have squirrels in your attic, especially if it is an unused space in your home. However, the following signs are clues signaling their presence:
- Water Damage: There are two situations in which a rodent infestation may cause water damage. Either the squirrel has created or enlargened a hole in your home's exterior that is allowing rainwater to enter, or the fluid that is causing the damage isn't water at all but squirrel urine.
- Footprints: Squirrels may make wet footprints on your driveway or deck after they have run through water or mud. If there is snow on the ground, it may reveal their tracks. In either case, you can recognize squirrel tracks because they are very small, with five toe-marks on the back feet and four on the front feet.
- Damage Around Your Home: Look for holes in your home's exterior, especially around the roofline and vents. These may be points where squirrels are getting in and out of your attic. Also look for signs of damage around your home, such as chewed-up outdoor furniture, ripped garbage bags, or damaged garden plants. Also look for damage inside your homes, such as electrical wires that have been chewed or wooden objects that show teeth marks. Squirrels may cause damage to your home by looking for food and nesting material, but they also have to gnaw on things to file down their front teeth, which never stop growing.
- Strange Sounds: Squirrels are diurnal and spend their days foraging for food. You may hear them scampering around in the morning when they are getting ready to start their day, then hear similar scurrying sounds in the evening when they return home to sleep. You may also hear the sounds of them scratching and chewing on things.