City Wildlife
Featured Article
Animal Services - Squirrels

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR HOME

Squirrels love to build nests in attics. They gain access through vents and rotting shingles. Entrance holes can be difficult to detect as they can be as small as a golf ball. They can cause extensive damage to insulation and wiring, also creating a fire hazard. Bathroom, dryer, and stove vents can also provide access points for squirrels to enter the home. To prevent access, vents should be screened, eves should be cleaned, and the roof should be inspected for damage regularly.


REMOVE FOOD ATTRACTIONS

Squirrels will hang around bird feeders looking for seeds that have fallen to the ground and may sometimes climb right into the feeder and chase the birds away! A metal cone can be attached to the pole to prevent this. Place the bird feeder well away from overhanging branches. To prevent squirrels from gnawing on the bark of trees or destroying the fruit, sheet metal can be wrapped around the base of the tree. Flowering bulbs can be saved from squirrels by placing small gauge mesh wire over the flower bed until the shoots sprout. People who feed squirrels intentionally will quickly learn that these intelligent creatures will be back for more and may become very destructive.

 

SQUIRREL EVICTION

Always keep in mind the time of year when attempting to remove squirrels. If there are young babies in the nest, there may be a risk of separating them from the mother or locking the entire family inside. Attempts at eviction can be made once the babies are fully mobile and can be seen foraging for food. Battery-operated lights and radios are useful in encouraging squirrels to move out of their nests. Never use electrical devices as these may cause a fire hazard! Keep up the noise and light annoyance for several days. When you are certain that all animals have left, clean the nest debris away and repair any damage. Entrance holes can be sealed with galvanized steel mesh. Chicken wire is not recommended as it can stretch and be easily manipulated. Over the next few days, monitor for noises of a squirrel that has been locked in. Watch to see if you notice a mother squirrel anxiously flitting around the sealed hole, vocalizing and chewing. This may indicate babies locked inside. If you notice any of these signs, open the hole immediately and try again once the animals have all left.


A SQUIRREL IN THE CHIMNEY
Sometimes squirrels fall down chimneys and cannot climb back out. You may hear scratching or growling noises during the day. If they are not removed they will eventually die. Squirrels can be released from the chimney by opening the damper to allow it to access the fireplace. Then, open the closest door or window to allow the squirrel to escape. You may also try lowering a rough rope from the top of the chimney to allow the squirrel to climb out. Never try to pick up a squirrel----they bite! Never light a fire to smoke a squirrel out. This will kill the animal because they cannot escape and dangerous fumes may seep into your home if there is debris blocking the chimney. Once the squirrel has escaped, cap the chimney with a properly fitted mesh screen.

LIVE TRAPPING
We do not advocate trapping as an effective method of wildlife removal. Trapped animals can suffer severe self-injury in their attempts to escape. Trapping causes much stress to animals. Re-location of trapped squirrels may cause separation of the mother from her young. Furthermore, trapping can facilitate the spread of disease from one area to another. In accordance with Ministry of Natural Resources guidelines, trapped animals must be released within close proximity to their capture point. The animal usually returns to the nest which means the problem does not get solved. Passive methods of wildlife removal are much more effective and humane.






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