Why Do Squirrels Chew on Siding?Squirrels are rodents, so you might assume that squirrels are chewing on your siding in an attempt to file down their front teeth, which never stop growing. You may also think that there is something on or in your siding that is attracting them. While both of these scenarios are possible, the more likely explanation is that squirrels are chewing on your siding in an attempt to get into your house. Human habitations offer warmth and comfort to squirrels. This is especially important to a female squirrel looking for a place to raise its babies. While squirrels are afraid of humans, they look for remote places in the home where the occupants rarely go. In many houses, the attic fits these criteria and provides an easy way for squirrels to get in and out while foraging for food.
How Can You Prevent Squirrels From Chewing on Siding?If you can stop the squirrels from chewing on your siding, you may be able to prevent them from getting inside and causing even more damage. Here are some things you can try to prevent damage to your siding by squirrels and intrusion into the home's interior.
- Eliminate Food Sources From Your Yard: Wild animals prefer to put as little effort as necessary into finding food. When they find a source of food that is readily available, they try to make homes nearby. If you can eliminate food sources on your property, you give squirrels less reason to stay. Squirrels feed primarily on nuts and fruit. If you have any trees on your property that drop fruit or nuts, you should clean them up as soon as possible. Squirrels may also eat out of the garbage, so you should choose wildlife-proof trash cans with sealable lids and make sure they are closed tight.
- Cut Tree Limbs: Squirrels are aerial acrobats, and if tree limbs are growing close to the house, it is a simple matter for them to jump from the tree to the roof and start chewing on the siding. While squirrels can clear great distances by jumping, you can deter them by making sure that tree limbs are pruned back so that they are approximately six to eight feet from the house.
- Use Repellents on Siding: If you can apply something on the side of the house that tastes bad to squirrels but does not hurt them, it may deter them from chewing on the siding. Capsaicin, the chemical that gives chili peppers their spicy heat, is available in a spray form to apply to the siding. Squirrels and other animals tend to avoid it.
- Screen Chimneys and Attic Vents: These openings are necessary for proper home ventilation, but they can also allow squirrels access into your home. Cover them with a screen made of a tough metal mesh that allows air to escape without letting squirrels in.