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Signs You Have Squirrels in Your House

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Year after year home owners from all over Canada discover they have squirrels and other wildlife in their home and that these animals have lived in their home for quite some time. If that’s the case you’re looking at quite a bit of damage to deal with.

Once inside your home or business, they will shred insulation and gnaw on most anything including electrical wiring, causing significant damage to property and a hazard to people.

That’s why knowing the signs you need squirrel removal is actually quite important.

Sign #1: You hear strange noises in your home

The two most common sounds you’ll hear are either a bunch of scampering and jumping sounds in your attic, or the sound of persistent scratching if one of them have become stuck in your wall cavities or down chimney your sweep. The majority of our squirrel calls come from home owners who hear scratching but for the most part if they aren’t stuck anywhere they can go undetected for a long time.

Sign #2: You see squirrel droppings here and there

squirrel droppingsSquirrel droppings are quite similar to and can be mistaken for bat droppings. If you see piles of droppings you may be able to determine if they’re from squirrels or not but we will be able to tell with 100% accuracy.

If you see droppings in your attic or anywhere inside your home including your garage, you’re going to need removal and control services. Remember, like most wild animal feces, there is the chance of contracting salmonella if you’re not careful or if you don’t practice proper hygiene and cleanliness after handling it.

Sign #3: Damaged entry points

Most people don’t know that squirrels, like raccoons and mice can almost chew through any material – at least the material that a home is built with including metal.

Their teeth and chewing capabilities are quite strong but their entry points have different characteristics over the other animals.

Mice will sneak in through small holes, raccoons will create larger holes, but squirrels can get through smaller holes which at first glance don’t even seem to be there until an actual inspection is done.

You’ll see damage around the fascia boards, shingle damage, damage to eaves troughs and outer panels with all kinds of damage along the roof line.

Sign #4: You see interior damage

The most common squirrel infestation is in your attic. Squirrels find this area of your home to be particularly welcoming when your attic insulation is readily available. Squirrels will tear up this insulation, shredding it to pieces and making it less effective. Shredded duct work is also a likely outcome. With time, your attic will begin to emanate the foul odor of squirrel urine. Their burrows will also create an easy avenue for bats, insects, and other pests to enter your home or simply create a leaky roof. If the squirrel ends up dying in your attic, you’ll forget about the odor of urine, as the smell of dead squirrel causes headaches and nausea. The greatest danger, however, is the fire hazard they create. Squirrels will gnaw on anything and everything. If it finds wall space where your electrical wiring is hiding, the damaged wiring can set your house ablaze.

If squirrels decide they want to enter other parts of your home, you can expect a lot of damage being done to the wall-boards leading into your home or ceiling. The longer a family of squirrels is living in your attic, the higher the chance they’ll cause substantial damage and the need for an attic cleanup and repair will be in order.

5:  Your shingles are chewed and ripped up

Ripped ShinglesWhen we say squirrels are determined animals, we mean it. In an hour or less they can chew through a layer of shingles and gain entry into your attic to start nesting. If you apply weak steel barriers or screening to prevent them, they’ll chew right through it again. As mentioned above, squirrels can chew through steal and will if they’re determined to get in, or back into their nest.

Squirrels will chew through the shingles around roof vents, ridge vents, and around chimney and plumbing vents. Wherever they feel they can get in through your roof they will and the shingle damage will be obvious.

If you see shingle damage done by squirrels you’re going to have to do two things, one is the process of humanely removing the squirrel and securing the entry point and, two, you’ll need attic repair.

Most of the time severe shingle damage is done after squirrel has been locked out of its nest and its babies which clearly points to the fact that careful and professional squirrel removal is necessary.

6: You see squirrel footprints

It’s pretty easy to determine if the footprints you’re seeing are from squirrels or not. The front paws have four fingers and are slightly shorter than the hind paws which have five fingers.

squirrel tracks You’ll see tracks in the snow, on your deck, in your garage, in your attic and even in your garden. You won’t always see squirrel footprints but if you do, just be aware that there’s a potential problem.

 7: You smell a strange odor in your home

Sadly sometimes squirrels fall into gaps behind the walls and in the attic. If they’re not heard scratching for a way out, they eventually die. That’s when you’ll start smelling a pungent odour coming from somewhere in your home. Another way squirrels die in a home is by being accidentally locked in by a home owner or a roofing company that’s done repairs. If the squirrel is young and isn’t able to fend for itself there’s a chance it will die there too.

8: You see “water damage” on your walls and ceilings

The longer squirrels live in your attic or walls, the longer their going to leave behind their trails of feces and urine. In larger homes and mansions, a family of squirrels can go unnoticed and unheard of for years and when the damage is finally realized could cost the home owner a lot of money.

This waste buildup by squirrels and other wildlife will eventually have to go somewhere and it’s going to be in the home. When it does, the insulation and wood needs to be replaced and the entire area that’s affected needs to be cleaned and decontaminated.

The cleanup is a big process and quite expensive but if you let squirrels live in your attic without removing them, you can basically expect this to happen.

9: What should you do if you start seeing damage to your ceiling or walls?

At this point the problem is urgent and you need to call the experts. You’re going to need to do a lot of repairs and also find out how the squirrels are getting into your home

When wildlife gets into homes, it can be a very stressful experience. That’s why our technicians always react swiftly and effectively to rectify the problem. We make sure our experts have the training and equipment to get the job done!

Less common, although still a real possibility, squirrel infestation poses a serious health risk to humans. Squirrels are primary carriers of tick fever, encephalitis, and rabies; insects also commonly live on squirrels who can import all sorts of nasty micro-organisms and disease. This is one of the reasons homeowners should never attempt their own squirrel control solutions. While squirrels have become accustomed to humans, ones that appear particularly fearless around you may be rabid and should definitely be avoided. Among the many pests squirrels bring into your home, ticks and fleas are almost surely present, leading to pet infections as well.

What to do if you have squirrels:

Squirrel control is a job for professionals. You should never take a squirrel problem on by yourself. While you might be able to trap and/or kill one squirrel, more effective and humane -+treatments will prevent problems such as dead offspring rotting in your attic or crawlspace. The health risk and the common pitfalls that arise from taking the matter into your own hands simply aren’t worth it.

Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control’s wildlife specialists are specifically trained to handle squirrel infestations, utilizing humane methods to evict the squirrels, and then use top of the line prevention methods to further exclude the squirrels and keep your home wildlife free. Our specialists are also trained, and have the proper equipment to clean up damaged and contaminated insulation and replace the damaged insulation with environmentally conscious cellulose insulation to replace what has been removed.


If you suspect your home or attic is playing host to furry house-guests, give Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control  a call at 1.888.592.0387.

We remove squirrels in from homes and business in: Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, London, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax. Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton, Sudbury, St. Catharines, Brampton and Niagara.


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About the author:Founder of Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control in 1989. Canada's largest urban wildlife removal and exclusion company. Industry leader and pioneer. Split, Scram, Scoot! However you want to say it, Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control has helped over 200,000 home owners and businesses safely and effectively resolve their wildlife issues. Happy to discuss business and franchising opportunities

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