Eastern Gray Squirrels and American Red Squirrels are one of the most commonly observed wildlife in Mississauga. They play an important role in shaping and helping the forest ecosystem thrive by taking seeds and burying them.

What a squirrel looks like

The Eastern Grey Squirrel is the largest tree squirrel found in eastern Canada, ranging up to 36 inches in height and can have either a grey or black coat.

The Red Squirrel is small, ranging up to 12 inches in height and have a red-orange coat with a white under belly.

When you encounter a squirrel

Squirrels rarely engage with people, but may not flee at the sight of people as they have adapted to urban living. Learn what to do when you encounter squirrels of different life stages in public spaces or on your private property.

Baby squirrels are born between March and April and July and August. They’re weaned when they’re about eight weeks old and disperse from the nest.

If you see a young squirrel, keep your distance as they may approach and attempt to climb up your or your pet’s legs during this time.

Although baby and young squirrels are generally docile, don’t attempt to touch them as they will bite.

If you suspect a baby squirrel has been orphaned or observe minor injuries, contact a licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator.

Squirrels have adapted to urban living and are active during the day and asleep at night. If you encounter an adult squirrel, avoid feeding them as it can lead them to make a nest in your home or chew on your window frames and car engine parts. Information about why it’s important not to feed squirrels and how doing so can cause problems is available online.

Don’t set up rodent traps

To avoid unintentionally injuring or trapping a squirrel, we recommend you not to set up rodent traps outside your home or property.

If you find a trapped squirrel, avoid approaching it. Instead, you can contact Animal Services for support at 905-896-5858.

Female squirrels can have two litters per year (spring and summer), each consisting of three to six kits (baby squirrels).

In the spring (March and April) and summer (July and August), you may notice squirrels with bald patches. These may be female squirrels who have pulled hair from their shoulders to line the nest of their young.

Due to their protective nature, parent squirrels may act aggressively when they feel their nest is threatened. In this case, they may vocalize or aggressively approach predators to defend their nest. You can diffuse the situation by leaving the area.

Protect your property

Squirrels like to make nests in people’s homes, such as attics, chimneys, roofs, sheds, balconies and trees on private property.

Animal Services will not respond to resident calls to trap and relocate healthy squirrels from their home territory, as doing so is illegal in Ontario.

If you find squirrels living in your home or private property and causing a nuisance, consider taking the following actions for three days and nights in a row to encourage them to leave:

  • Place a non-heat-emitting bright light near the area the den is located.
  • Leave your deck lights on.
  • Place a radio or speakers loudly playing music.
  • Soak rags or old towels in apple cider vinegar and place it near the area the den is located.

If the squirrels don’t leave your property, you may contact a wildlife removal company of your choice as a last resort. Animal Services doesn’t trap or relocate healthy squirrels from their home territory.

Squirrels have been observed hiding in car engines during the colder months to stay warm. They have also been observed chewing on car components because some parts are manufactured with vegetable-based plastic.

To prevent squirrels from taking shelter in or around your car, consider taking the following actions:

  • Spray a mix of water, cayenne pepper and garlic around your car
  • Place a motion-sensing or bluetooth speaker or radio playing below the engine of your car
  • Install a motion-sensing light under the engine on your driveway
  • Leave the hood of your car open for a couple of days to let light and noise into the engine area, making it unfavourable for squirrels to stay inside
  • Place rags soaked in apple cider vinegar around the engine of your car, and remember to remove them before driving your car
  • Install tree wrap around the trees on your property to help deter squirrels from making homes near your car
  • Remove any sources of food from or around your car

If you find a squirrel inside your engine after you drove it from a parked location, you must return the squirrel to the location your car was parked. This is to comply with the Ministry of Natural Resources’ prohibition of relocating animals further than one kilometre from where they are found.

Report an ill or injured squirrel

Squirrels aren’t known carriers of rabies. However, they may be susceptible to mange, fleas, lice and ticks.

A squirrel may be ill or injured if you notice:

  • External tumours on their body
  • Obvious physical injuries, lethargy or paralysis
  • That they’re on the ground with their eyes closed
  • The litters have their tails stuck together
  • Bald patches all over their bodies

If you suspect a squirrel is sick, injured or orphaned, contact Animal Services at 905-896-5858.