Tree Squirrels

There are several species of squirrels, but here we are covering the tree squirrels that inhabit the attics causing damage and noise. Squirrels are abundant in the wild because their natural predators are less abundant. Because of this population increase and a decreasing natural habitat due to construction, we start to see them in our attics. They seek warm, safe shelter during the fall and winter months in particular.

Flying Squirrels

Flying Squirrel
Photo courtesy of © Grolier Encyclopedia

Normal habitat is inside tree cavities in hardwoods.

Smaller than the grey squirrel,entering the smallest of cracks and holes. They are about 9 inches long, which includes a 3-4 inch tail, weighing about 3 ounces as an adult. Dense soft brown fur, white belly.

Can enter the attics through the eaves and soffits.

Don't really fly..but glides into attics from trees. They do this by means of a thin skin that extends out from the sides of the body and connects the front and hind legs as shown in the above picture. In "flying," the squirrels leap spread-eagled and use their outstretched gliding membranes for gliding and their bushy tails for guidance. Glides of 60 metres (almost 200 feet) or more have been recorded.

Nocturnal-major activity at night.

Normally have 2 litters a year, 2-4 young per litter.

Diet: Seeds,nuts, insects,bird eggs,fruits

When trapping for these squirrels: place the traps in the attic...where they are commonly found.

Chews on ornamental and potted plants. Damages screens. May gnaw on wood, electrical wiring and insulation causing fires.

Can by commonly heard,making a great deal of noise at night between sunset and sunrise. May be heard landing on the roof or the sides of the house.

Will seek shelter and a hiding place,likes to hide in the insulation.

Gray Squirrels

Photo courtesy of © Grolier Encyclopedia

Gray squirrels are about 18 inches long, including their 9 inch tails.. larger than the flying squirrels. They weigh about 1-1.5 lbs. as an adult. Their coloration is usually gray, salt and pepper, but can have tan hairs in the fur as well, white belley.

The winter coat is grey above with a white underside; the summer coat is shorter, sleeker and brownish grey above. Red squirrels have red/brown upper parts in summer but may show some grey on the back in winter, leading to some confusion. Reds are smaller, lighter, have ear tufts, prominent in the winter coat and brown on the legs and tail. Natural habitats are wooded areas in tree cavities, can be found near hardwoods like oaks and hickory trees. Will construct feeding shelters out of leafs.

Generally have 2 litters a year,2-4 youg per litter. They normally breed in midwinter and late spring. Gestation is about 44 days.

Diet consists of bird eggs, insects, berries, fruit, vegetables, nuts and nestling birds. They like to hoard their food.

Gray squirrels are active during the day, expecting to hear them during the daytime.

Can inhabit the attic areas as well as crawl spaces. They like to enter the attic areas from your gutters and nearby trees and bushes. Installing gutter guards, or down spouts with screen may prevent them from climbing up to the roof through a down spout.

Trapping Recommendations

Safeguard Trap Model # 50450 Squirrel Trap

-The Safeguard Trap Model # 50450 is a perfect medium humane box live trap for squirrels, rats, muskrats. It has a front release door to set the critter free to it's natural environment.Safeguard Traps are made with a heavy-duty reinforced spring-loaded door, to provide maximum performance and superior animal retention

-The preferred trap among trappers.

Havahart #1077 Squirrel Cage

- for all squirrel types. The 1 inch grid would make this trap less preferable for trapping rats.

-Squirrel Trap Single Door Spring Loaded 17" x 7" x 7" has a 1" grid

-And always use work gloves when handling the traps with a squirrel inside.


How to bait

Some trappers like to use a technique called "pre-baiting"....leaving the trap out, and wired open(so it won't shut) with the bait so that they can get used to the object in their environment,gaining confidence. Most of the time, this technique is not needed.

Place traps where you hear or see the activity. Using a Rat/Squirrel lure (walnut oil based) on a cracker or piece of fruit behind the trip pan is very helpful as a lure. You may also try peanut butter. Next use sunflower seeds on top of that and trail a line of sunflower seeds out the front door of the trap so that there are "free" seeds a couple of feet in front of the trap. This will help overcome any anxiety the squirrels may have about entering the trap.

For trapping gray squirrels you will want to place their traps along their pathways or points of entry...such as along the roof, at the base of a tree, or base of the building they are entering.

Flying squirrels would need to be trapped inside the attic areas, in that they glide into the attics. Look for their areas of activity..such as droppings, when placing the traps. The insulated areas, with their tunnels and nests that look like piles is another place to set up the traps. After trapping and relocating the squirrels you can seal the openings with 1/4" mesh hardware cloth or metal flashing. Look for all possible entry points. If you are not handy with tools, many nuisance wildlife control companies will seal entry points with a year's guarantee for a fee.


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