Squirrel Biology & Behavior
Average Eastern gray squirrel has a body length of 23 to 30cm, and weights between 400-600 grams. Both males and females are the same size and have black & gray fur. The fur color may change depending on the season. They are native to the eastern and mid-western parts of America, and to the south of the eastern parts of Canada.
Eastern gray squirrels are aggressive and alert. They hoard huge quantities of food, typically nuts. They don’t always remember where they have hidden the loot. Squirrels are mainly active during the day and unlike what people think, they don’t hibernate.
Squirrels breed twice per year. Once in December-February and again in May-June. Gestation period is about 40 days and a female can have a litter of 1 to 9. Squirrel males and females may share the same nest during the breeding season. Females nest alone during pregnancy, and lactating females are particularly aggressive and left alone by other squirrels. The young are weaned around 10 weeks and begin to leave the nest after 12 weeks.
Baby squirrels stay in the nest for the first 10 to 12 weeks of their lives
Squirrels like to nest in dry, warm and dark areas. Typically they built the nest in the forks of trees. In urban areas, it can be anywhere such as attics, dryer vents and chimneys. Their teeth constantly grows and to control it, squirrels need to chew. They have been known to chew wiring and structural wood beams in the attic which is huge safety hazard.
Squirrels can physically damage properties by chewing shingles, soffits, vents, etc. They remove and disturb the insulation in the attic and much more. There are also secondary damages such as animal waste, water leakage and mold.
Areas to check:
- Roof Vents
- Roof Pipes
Squirrels are known to carry numerous diseases. Some of the more common include tularemia, typhus, plague and ringworm. They can be transmitted through bites or other forms of contact.
In urban areas squirrels like to nest in attics, chimneys and dryer vents.
Start looking for evidence of entry/damage. Common areas are: shingles, roof vents, plumbing pipes, roofline, soffits, inside chimney and dryer vents.
Find the entry point(s)
During baby season, search the den site for possible babies. Inspect the immediate area for other damages such as chewed wiring, displaced insulation, waste contamination, etc.
Squirrel Removal Methods
There are few different removal methods available but not all are suitable in every situation. NOTE: During baby season (spring & again in summer), do not separate squirrel litter from the mother. Before removal either wait for the litter to become mobile (able to leave the den) or If you can access the litter, remove them physically and place in an insulated box right by the entry hole to be reunited with their mother. This will send a message that this den site is not safe anymore and will persuade the mother squirrel to relocate the babies to a secondary den within her territory. This will give them a chance to survive. If the litter is blocked and not removed, they can die within 3 to 5 days and there is a chance the mother will destroy another area to try and get back to her litter, causing more damage. Removing the litter and placing them in an insulated box doesn’t guarantee their safety either. They can die from exposure to cold/heat, being attacked by other predators or becoming abandoned totally.
Makeshift incubator made from a plastic container
Squirrel baby relocation
One Way Door System
Perhaps the best squirrel removal method for situations where squirrels have nested inside a structure such as an attic, chimney or dryer vent. Totally humane and contactless removal method is preferred by pest control professionals. DO NOT INSTALL DURING BABY SEASON (unless babies don’t exist or have been removed physically). Removal via S33 one way door is quick. Typically squirrels are evicted within 24 to 48 hrs.
Watch S33 In Action
Trapping and relocation can be illegal in some states/territories. This method can be effective in situations where a one way door cannot be utilized. Trapping can work great if you have squirrels damaging your garden or accidently left your garage door opened and few squirrels entered. Unfortunately it could take a long time to capture the squirrel(s) and difficult to target certain species.
In rare cases, physical removal using a net might be the best and fastest option. You can use this method if you have a squirrel that accidently got inside your home or business. You need to find the animal and get it outside asap. A net can be used to achieve this goal.
Squirrels are opportunistic animals. They will try to get in from any area that provides an easy access point. It’s a good idea to protect these vulnerable areas to stop squirrels from getting back in. 16 gauge, 1”x1” steel mesh is the best material to use for this purpose. It’s easy to bend and cut and impossible for squirrels to chew or damage it if installed properly.
Areas to protect:
- Roof Vents
- Roof Pipes
- Roofline Gaps
- Dryer Vents
Rhino Excluders® S33 – ONE WAY DOOR FOR REMOVAL OF SQUIRRELS, CHIPMUNKS, RATS
RHINO EXCLUDERS™ S33 ONE WAY DOOR FOR SQUIRRELS, CHIPMUNKS, RATS
14 Gauge | 8” x 3” x 3”
S33 model helps humanely evict squirrels, chipmunks, rats and similar size rodents. Place it over the entry hole and watch as the animals leave with ease but can not get back in.