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Why Do Squirrels Live in Attics

Squirrels are a very common sight in most cities and towns. While population densities can vary widely from one neighbourhood to another, it is not uncommon for 50-60 squirrels to live within a square kilometre. Traditionally, squirrels preferred to live in densely forested areas with high amounts of acorn and nut producing trees like walnuts, pines and oaks. A think and continuous canopy of mature, mixed forest allows squirrels to travel, nest and forage above ground where they are protected from predators.

Squirrels, like any successful urban wildlife species, are incredibly adaptive. As human development has expanded, squirrels have altered their behaviour to thrive in new habitats. Squirrels use telephone and power lines as well as roof tops to travel above ground. While squirrels would traditionally build nests in the forks of trees or cavities they now often make their home inside attics.

Squirrels chewed clear through this attic 2 x 4
Squirrels chewed clear through this attic 2 x 4”

Attics and soffit areas make ideal nesting location for squirrels. Their height provides protection from predators and humans and allows squirrels to remain warm and dry through inclement cold weather. Using their incredibly powerful teeth, squirrels are easily capable of chewing through plastic, aluminum and wood to create holes that allow not only themselves, but also rain and snow, to enter your home. Squirrels are able to gain entry into the attic though any hole larger than two inches. Once inside, their nesting habits and fondness for gnawing down their incisors can cause thousands of dollars in building damage.

One of the primary reasons female squirrels build nests is to raise their young. Squirrels breed twice per year and babies are born after a 44 day gestation period. In general, the first litters of babies are born between late March and early May with the second litters are born in July and August. The average litter contains between two and six babies.

Newborn squirrels inside a nest
Newborn squirrels inside a nest

Baby squirrels are born hairless and with their eyes shut. They are immobile for the first six weeks of their lives and will not venture outside the den site for at least eight weeks. In that time, they are capable of creating quite the mess inside your attic.

Homeowners living with a squirrel intrusion will report hearing noises primarily during the day when they are at their most active. The peak period for noise and activity is first thing in the morning as the sun rises. Common noises include chewing, scratching and scampering inside the attic. These noises will amplify as babies mature.

Our process begins with a 35-50 point inspection of your property to determine how the squirrels getting in. We then provide you with a no obligation written quote that details our findings and explains exactly what is required to humanely get rid of the squirrels in your attic. If you suspect your home or attic is playing host to furry houseguests, give Skedaddle a call at 1.888.592.0387.