What defines a pest? The majority of homeowners picture them as gruesome-looking and disease-spreading. For farmers, it’s the animals which feed on crops. For electricity technicians, it’s the squirrels.
We will discuss the various aspects of squirrels, and why they can be considered vermin.
Squirrel Species in UK
Gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
It is the other type of squirrel in the UK. It is slightly larger than its ginger relative. The body reaches 23-30cm in length. Like the red squirrel, it has distinctly shaped incisors, curved claws and furry tails. The common pelage coating is grey in colour, yet white and black fur colours are not uncommon, especially in urban areas.
Red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)
It has a slender body which measures 19cm-23cm in length. Despite its name, its fur comes in many different colours—red, dark brown, and black. Coat colour may vary depending on the season and location. It has a long, furry tail. The pelage on the belly is always white. It has sharp, curved claws and rodent teeth pattern.
Both the red and grey squirrels are solitary for the majority of their lives, although they do exhibit some social traits. Communal nesting is popular for both species during winter and spring, and some grey squirrels are known to share nests.
Both species make their homes in sparsely forested regions. You may encounter them in recreational areas and parks. They also nest inside homes and garages. This is one of the main reason they are considered as pests.
Squirrel’s incisors never stop growing. This helps them maintain a diet high on hard nuts and seeds. When faced with hunger, squirrels can eat snakes, eggs and small insects. In the wild, tree squirrels rarely live longer than a year. In captivity, they can reach the age of up to 20 years.
Damages caused by squirrels
Once a squirrel takes a residence in your premises, it can be very hard to get rid of it. Once inside, it considers your property as its own and turns it into a nest. Squirrels are particularly stubborn when it comes to their dwellings. They don’t fear scarecrows, flashing lights and loud noises and are often protective. They can also gnaw cables, insulation, frameworks and other components of your buildings.
Grey squirrels also cause widespread blackouts. As their teeth grow constantly, they need to grind them on hard surfaces. Sometimes they chew on power lines, which can cause a short circuit and knock out power. Sometimes they jump directly on power lines which can as well cause a power shortage. Squirrels can also cause small structural damage to the buildings. Although relatively clean animals (especially when compared to other rodents), they are messy eaters and can scatter food debris around. They also leave teeth and claw marks on walls, furniture and wooden components.
Squirrels as pets
In recent years many people opt for a squirrel pet. They are cute, clean and playful. Still, they are hard to look after. A squirrel needs a large cage with enough space to climb and jump. It also needs at least 2 hours a day outside the cage. The pet owner must provide a healthy varied diet—sunflower seeds, peanuts, acorns, fresh vegetables. Squirrels also need a good source of calcium to gnaw and grind their teeth on. The best solutions are deer antlers or bovine bones.
Unlike other rodent pets, squirrels are extremely clean. They frequently groom themselves and keep their nest clean and tidy. Their droppings are also easy to take care of—they are small, cylindrical and hard, and do not emit any unpleasant odours. Still, squirrels like to make a mess while eating. Feeding outside the cage is not recommended.
It is easy to spot an infestation.
- Squirrels who nest inside buildings are usually noisy and rarely fear humans.
- They also go outside their nest on a frequent basis to feed.
- If you observe a squirrel entering or leaving an opening on your facade, you might want to check for a possible nest in your attic.
- You may also observe gnaw damage.
How to get rid of squirrels
1. Remove food sources – Any birds seeds, food leftovers
2. Remove tree libs within 2,5-3m from the roof - This will prevent squirrels from access to your roof.
3. Block the entrance to habitat – Simply wait for it to go outside for food and block the passageway or the entry point.
4. Live traps – You can locate the path of entry and put a squirrel trap on the way. If you are inexperienced with this method, you can hire professional squirrel trappers.
Keep in mind that we only aim to provide some useful information about squirrels in general. We cannot guarantee that the rodents you're dealing with corresponds to the same description.