They are recognized by their long, furry body and bushy tail. Their head and body is about 6-15” long, and their tail is 4-14” long.
Squirrels belong to a large family of small and medium-sized rodents called the Sciuridae. The family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots (including woodchucks), flying squirrels, and prairie dogs. Squirrels are indigenous to America, Eurasia, Africa, and have been introduced to Australia.
Their fur colours include white to gray, yellow, red, and brown with a pale, dark belly. They are recognized by their long, furry body and bushy tail. Their head and body is about 6-15” long, and their tail is 4-14” long.
They are most active in the morning and late afternoon, and usually bury nuts for winter use. They feed mostly on hickory nuts and acorns, but also eat the fruit of tulip poplar, maple tree seeds, corn bordering woods, berries, bird eggs, and fungi.
Squirrels have two breeding seasons every year. The first litter is normally born in late February and March, and the second litter is born between June and July. The average litter size is around 3 or 4 kits, and their net is normally built in the fork of a tree, 2-15 meters from the ground. It's also common for them to build nests in roof spaces and attics of homes. Their nests are usually built from twigs and leaves, then lined with grass, moss, and animal fur. When nests are built in roof spaces, squirrels will often rip up insulation material to use.
To discourage squirrels from moving into your home with you, there are a couple things you can do. You can seal all possible points of entry around the home, including small openings and cracks around doors and windows. Even the smallest of holes and cracks provide squirrels the potential to get inside. You can also screen vents and openings to chimneys, and store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
There are many ways you can tell if squirrels are living in your house. In the early morning and at night, the sounds of scampering or clawing could be heard in the walls or attic. Squirrels are a lot larger than rats and mice, so they are likely to make a bit more noise. Another sign is being able to smell urine, or a very foul scent indicating that there might be a dead squirrel present somewhere inside the home.
Squirrels are excellent chewers, and can chew holes through shingles, aluminum, and wood siding. Squirrels can also gain access into houses through chimneys, or they may accidentally come inside through open windows or doors.
If a squirrel accidentally got into your home through a window, close off any points where the squirrel could go further into the home. Open the window or any doors that lead outside, before having everyone and all pets leave the room. Let the squirrel find its way out. You could also try a humane bait trap if the squirrel is in your attic or is too scared to come out. Make loud noises in the attic or set up bright lights to scare the squirrel away. Once the squirrel has left, locate and seal off any entry points the squirrel could re-enter your home.
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