Squirrels chewing wires is among the most common and the most dangerous damage that rodents can do if they get inside your home. Why do squirrels do this, what makes it so dangerous, and how can you prevent it?
Why Do Squirrels Chew on Wires?
Squirrels are rodents, and the characteristic that makes rodents different from all other mammals is that their front teeth never stop growing from the time they are born until they die. They need to find hard things to gnaw on to wear their teeth down. Otherwise, the teeth would grow to an unmanageable size, and the squirrels wouldn’t be able to open their mouths to eat or drink and would eventually die.
While squirrels can eat many types of food, their favourite food is nuts. Some nuts come in hard shells, and sharp teeth help the squirrel to be able to crack the shells open to get to the good stuff inside. Chewing on things such as electrical wires also helps to keep the squirrels’ teeth hard and sharp so they can use them to crack nut shells and feed themselves.
At this point, you may be saying, “But there are many hard materials in my attic that the squirrels could chew on; why do they gravitate specifically toward electrical wires?” You are right that there are many hard surfaces in your attic, and sometimes the squirrels do chew on things such as ceiling beams or roof joists. However, there is a reason why squirrels seem drawn to electrical wires.
Modern electrical wiring is often surrounded by insulation made of plant-based materials. Since a squirrel’s diet consists primarily of plant matter, it may be drawn to the insulation as a potential food and start stripping it off the wires with its teeth. Having discovered in the process that the wire is hard and good to gnaw on, it may keep chewing until it has removed all the insulation from the wire.
What Are the Dangers of Squirrels Chewing on Wires?
The material used to insulate electrical wires is non-conductive. It prevents a wire from coming into contact with a conductive material and causing a short circuit. If a squirrel strips all the insulation from an electrical wire, it could produce a spark that could ignite dry, flammable materials in your attic. An estimated 30,000 house fires a year are believed to be caused by squirrels.
How Can You Protect Your Wires From Squirrels?
The best way to protect your wires from squirrels is to prevent squirrels from getting into your home in the first place. Keep your yard clean and well-maintained, and don’t leave anything outside that could attract squirrels, such as pet food. Don’t have bird or squirrel feeders, or at least keep them as far away from the house as possible. Keep tree branches trimmed back from the house. Clean up any nuts or fruit that fall from your trees.
Squirrels are able to squeeze through very small openings. Inspect your home’s exterior for any openings that could allow entry, especially on or near the roof. Look specifically for signs that squirrels have gnawed a hole through roofing materials to get into your attic. A squirrel’s teeth are the best tools that it has, and gnawing a hole in the roof also helps to file the teeth down.
If you cannot prevent the squirrels from getting into your home, the next step is professional squirrel removal.
Why Should You Call Skedaddle for Squirrel Chewing Wires?
If you suspect that squirrels have gotten into your home, Skedaddle technicians can confirm their presence. Our technicians can also identify any damage that the squirrels have done, such as chewed wires. Learn more about all the wildlife control services in Okanagan we offer.