Cute creatures with delightful faces, squirrels are not normally seen as a hazard or a nuisance; the subject of many stories, overall the squirrel, especially red ones, enjoy a wholesome and positive reputation.
Grey squirrels were introduced to Britain in the late 1800s and are now a common site across woodland and urban areas up and down the country.
In most cases squirrels – both grey ones and their red cousins – cause us humans very little disturbance in our daily lives. Preferring a woodland habitat, squirrels are gnawing animals, hence a lot of the items they normally eat are seeds, nuts, plan bulbs etc. along with soft fruits and plant shoots; they are also well-known for foraging and storing food for the leaner winter months ahead.
Their nests are made from twigs and leaves, where the adult squirrels will have their young. With two breeding seasons in each year – one in late winter or early spring and the other in the summer – a nest can have young in it any time of the year, but especially October to January. Their litters tend to be smaller than other rodents, and an adult squirrel can live until the age of 5 or 6 years.
The difference between red and grey squirrels
It is often thought that the grey squirrel was responsible for the decline of their red cousins but this is not the case; the grey squirrel has adapted easier to the vagaries of modern life and happily live in urbanised areas. The red squirrel did not fare so well but, with protected woodlands and other areas, the decline in red squirrels seems to have been stopped. Red squirrels are protected and so if you have issues with them, you must call a professional pest controller!
And the problem is…?
Squirrels are fairly innocuous; they rarely encroached in to our homes but there are occasions when they do. Like other animals, they are looking for nesting sites that are warm and cosy, with a plentiful food supply nearby, as well as safe from predators and possible disturbance by humans.
But, the smallest hole can lead to a property’s cavernous loft spaces and they take up residence. Not only are squirrels in your loft a nuisance, they can also be incredibly noisy, scrabbling about the space. And, as gnawing rodents, they will also gnaw anything in sight from wooden beams to electrical cables – which is dangerous in itself. The cost of repairing the damage can also leave you with a hefty and unwanted bill.
Dealing with squirrels
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM YOURSELF! Squirrels must be dealt with by a professional pest controller, who is licenced to do so.
Prevention is better that cure – squirrels will squeeze in to a space through the smallest of holes (it has been noted that the hole, in some cases, was around 2.5 cm…) and so the best way to keep squirrels out, is to make sure the loft is effectively sealed. There are several methods and materials that can be used to do this but seek professional advice or you may be wasting your money as squirrels can remove or gnaw at many different types of materials.
Squirrels in the loft? Call the experts
Trapping or sealing the loft with squirrels and their young in it, is not only cruel and inhumane but illegal (this would be seen as causing distress to a captive animal). Likewise, decomposing bodies of squirrels in their nests will lead to an insect infestation, as well as a very unpleasant smell emanating through the property.
Squirrels can also attack when frightened or, in the case of the mother, when protecting her nest and young.
Calling in professional such as Devon Pest Control will mean that the issue is dealt with quickly and humanely. The damage can then be repaired to your loft and any holes secured – but if you do not act to seal the loft immediately, you will simply end up with another squirrel family moving in!