No one is keeping track of the number of squirrels in Ontario, but it's a lot and increasing every year. As these numbers continue to grow in urban areas, so do our opportunities to interact with them. For the most part interactions with squirrels do not go beyond watching them dance across wires and chase each other around our neighborhoods. Occasionally, they will break into homes and this is not a problem to be taken lightly.
Take a look at the video below, squirrels can be rather industrious once they target your house:
One of the only factors you can control when dealing with wildlife breaking into your home is how quickly you respond. There is no rhyme or reason to why they choose the houses they do, but once squirrels have chosen your house, the single most important thing you can do is react quickly.
Below we will go through the top ten signs you are in fact dealing with squirrels, as well as go over some helpful hints to help resolve the issue safely.
1. Hearing Strange Noises In Your Home
Let's begin with the most obvious indication. Strange sounds coming from our walls or attic. Most of us (especially in winter months) do not spend a lot of time examining the corners and hidden areas along our roof lines or spend much time looking underneath our decks for evidence wildlife has gotten in.
It is highly unlikely we will notice a small chew out along our roof boards or a broken roof vent. There is a much greater chance we will hear the squirrel before we see visual evidence.
The two most common sounds you’ll hear are either a bunch of scampering and scurrying sounds in your attic or the sound of persistent scratching and chewing. Because squirrels teeth never stop growing, they are constantly filling them don on any and everything they can find. So you will here them scurry around, then scratch and chew at an area for a while. As they forage around for materials to build their nests, they will often chew on wires and support beams in your attics. This can prove both costly and dangerous.
What do you do if you hear strange noises? Be careful, but if you can, inspect your attic, your roof, and the perimeter of your home for intrusion points and compare with the other signs below. And of course, call a professional wildlife removal expert if you suspect you have animals living in your home.
2. You See Squirrel Droppings
Squirrel droppings are the next best indicator that you need squirrel removal services. It can be difficult to identify squirrel droppings as they are similar to bat's as well as other critters excrement. Your best to have a wildlife professional come by and assess the situation as you can be certain you have something living in your house at this point.
The most common places you will find droppings are by their main entry point, in your garage or up in your attic. Keep in mind there is the chance of contracting salmonella as well as other diseases from the bacteria found in wildlife urine and feces. Please practice proper hygiene and cleanliness after coming into contact with it.
3. Obviously Used 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 (as seen in the video above).
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.
It won't be as obvious as the damage done by larger animals, but with a careful inspection of obvious trouble areas. These include areas around the fascia boards, shingle damage, damage to eavestroughs and outer panels as well as all kinds of damage usually found along the roof line.
What do you do if you see signs of damaged entry points? If you see these signs, you need to call the experts because there are a set of strategies that need to be implemented in order to repair the entry point, remove the squirrel humanely and prevent future damage.
You could try to apply prevention methods yourself but because of our experience with customers who have tried this themselves, we suggest you call the professionals so the job is done right, and with a guarantee.
4. Damage Inside Your Home
Even less obvious than the evidence found on the exterior of your home, is the wear and tare found inside. If you suspect you have a squirrel problem, another way to confirm this is to inspect a few key areas inside your home.
Most of the interior damage you’re going to see from squirrels will be in your attic which means you need to inspect it yourself from time to time. Other times they’ll be stuck in walls or chimney sweeps. If there are squirrels living in your attic you’ll find damage in the form of chewed wires, wood chips all over the place from chewing through the attic structure, air vent damage or damage to virtually anything in your attic. We’ve never seen a customers home catch fire because of electrical damage caused by a squirrel but it’s been known to happen for obvious reasons.
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.
What do you do if you see damage inside your home or attic? Call the experts because it’s a clear sign your squirrel problem needs to be controlled immediately. Depending on the severity of the damage, you may also need to pay for repairs so if you see any of these signs, arrange for the removal as soon as possible.
5. The Food In Your Garden Is Being Eaten
Squirrels like fruits and vegetables like the rest of us. Some of their favourite treats are corn, strawberries, flower buds, pears and apples to name a few. They’ll also dig up areas of your garden where they’ve previously stored the foods they’ve helped themselves to and leave traces of their work in the form of lumps in the soil and half eaten fruit and vegetables. Of course traces of wildlife nibbling from your garden on its own is not an indication you have squirrels. But if you are seeing signs on the exterior of the building or hearing strange noises, this coupled with the evidence in your garden can be a good indicator.
When a squirrel has chosen your garden for its daily meals, there is a 50/50 chances it's living in your attic or home. They tend to gather their supplies from their immediate surroundings whenever possible. If your garden is being damaged and you see other signs mentioned above, you can assume your wildlife problem is squirrels and react accordingly.
What do you do if your garden is damaged? The only way to determine if garden damage was done by a squirrel is to either see him in action or combine this with a few other signs that he’s in your home. If you see a connection, you know it’s time to make the call.
6. Increased Activity In Neighbourhood
It’s safe to assume that if you are noticing a drastic increase in squirrels on your property, that there is a corresponding increase in the possibility they are somehow entering your home. This is especially true if you are seeing them on your roof or fence in particular. Squirrels keep similar hours to humans, therefore, you will often notice them in the mornings and evenings. We are much likelier to see squirrels as we go about our days than other common urban critters.
If you have noticed an uptick in these pests on your property, take a good look around your property and exterior of your home for any further evidence they may be accessing your attic, garage or shed.
It's best to call a wildlife professional if you suspect you have a problem, squirrel removal is best left to the experts. trapped animals will damage more areas trying to escape or worse, get trapped in your home and perish. Leave it to the pros.
7. 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.
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.
What should you do if you see squirrel footprints? If you see footprints combined with a number of the other signs in this list it’s time to take action to protect yourself.
8. Your Outdoor Furniture Is Damaged
Unlike raccoons, squirrels will chew through and gnaw different outdoor furniture like wooden lawn furniture, pool sidings and, deck railings. Because a squirrels teeth never stop growing they are constantly chewing. This helps strengthen their teeth as well as file them down. This is not only annoying and inconvenient but most likely a sign that they are living somewhere on your property, most likely your attic.
Damage to your outdoor furniture on its own is not evidence of squirrels living in or near your home. However, if you are seeing other signs or hearing noises around your home, inspect your outdoor belongings for signs of chewing, feces or other obvious indicators.
What should you do if your outdoor furniture is damaged? If you encounter a squirrel while doing your rounds back off and give the experts a call.
9. You Smell A Strange Odour
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.
What should you do if you smell a dead squirrel? If you can find out where the smell is coming from, protect yourself appropriately with gloves and a mask and safely dispose of it yourself. If you can’t find it you’ll need to have experts inspect and trace its tracks from the entry point to its resting place in order to find and remove it.
10. You See “Water Damage” On Your Walls And Ceilings
The longer squirrels live in your attic or walls, the longer they're 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 homeowner 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.
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. No one ever wants to see this happen to anyone but it occasionally does.
That’s our top ten list, thanks for having a read. Remember, while it's tempting to try and save a few dollars initially and attempt to remedy the problem yourself. It has been our experience that more often than not, this results in further damage and increased expenses to the homeowner. When dealing with live animals, it's best to leave it to the pros. If you require squirrel removal services give us a call and let us humanely and permanently deal with the issue.