Found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica, squirrels tend to be seen as a friendlier type of rodent, and are often found playing in yards and trees in many locales.
Seeing squirrels outside your window can be an adorable sight because of their nut hiding and finding, their pudgy cheeks, and the way they scamper around the yard.
Squirrels in your walls and ceilings, however, are an entirely different story. Their presence can lead you to extensive damage to your home, sleepless nights, and the need to get rid of them fast.
If you have the unfortunate luck to have squirrels enter your home, there are many methods you can use to get rid of them without losing your sanity.
Understanding how the squirrels got inside your home in the first place is one key to a successful eviction. And knowing what signs to look for and the tricks to get rid of the squirrels will set you up for a successful squirrel removal.
- Common Traits of Squirrels
- Signs of Squirrels in Your Home
- The Damage Squirrels Can Do to Your Home
- The Problem of Baby Squirrels
- How Squirrels Get inside, to Begin With
- Best Methods to Get Rid of Squirrels in Walls & Ceilings
- How to Get Squirrels Out of Your Attic
- When in Doubt, Call a Professional
- Avoiding the Same Mistake in the Future
Common Traits of Squirrels
There are over 200 types of squirrels in the world, and they are classified into three types: ground squirrels, tree squirrels, and flying squirrels.
Flying squirrels would most typically be the type to find their way into your home, often through a hole in the roof or an opening near your attic. Squirrels are part of the Sciuridae family of rodents.
Squirrels come in a variety of colors and sizes, from 3 inches tall to 3 feet tall! Although most people think squirrels only eat nuts, they are omnivores and will eat tiny insects, seeds, and other little snacks along the way.
With their bushy tails and eyes high on their heads, they have a very distinctive look as they scamper through your yard.
Signs of Squirrels in Your Home
Just as the squirrels in your yard are playful, animated, and chatty, if they get in your house, they will act the same way. There are several signs that show you that you might have a squirrel infestation.
- Unexplained noises in ceilings or walls
- Scratching sounds
- The sound of scampering feet
- Teeth marks in walls
- Faulty wiring that has been chewed through
- Tiny wood chips everywhere
- Signs of nests
If squirrels have taken up residence in your home, it will probably not take you long to discover this fact as squirrels are not very stealthy.
The Damage Squirrels Can Do to Your Home
Though on the outside of your house they look sweet and innocent, squirrels can cause real damage if they are given access to your home. They can short circuit your electricity by chewing through wiring, cause water damage (and possibly future mold) with their urine, ruin ceilings, walls, and drywall by chewing holes in it.
One of the most horrific problems of all is that squirrels can also die inside your walls, causing a terrible stench and making it necessary for you to create a hole in the wall or ceiling in order to get the decaying carcass out.
The Problem of Baby Squirrels
Baby squirrels come with their own set of problems. A female squirrel can begin having babies at about one year of age. She is usually pregnant for about 40 days, and after the first year of giving birth, will usually give birth twice a year.
Typically a squirrel has 3-4 babies at a time, and the mother will care for them in the nest for about 7-8 weeks before they can find for themselves.
If a female squirrel has her babies inside your walls or ceiling, this will make it harder to eradicate the squirrel because she will want to stay with her babies.
And squirrel babies are as mischievous as human toddlers. They will chomp wires, chew holes in your ceiling, and cause chaos around the nest. If the nest is in your attic, you will need to solve the problem fast,
How Squirrels Get inside, to Begin With
Squirrels will use a variety of methods to enter your house. They love to play in the branches of trees, and some species of squirrels can jump up to 20 feet, so they could conceivably jump from a nearby tree to your roof.
If they land on your roof, they can flatten themselves and fit into tiny holes, imperfections, or cracks in your roof or walls in order to gain entrance to your house. Once inside, the squirrels can really begin to wreak havoc.
Best Methods to Get Rid of Squirrels in Walls & Ceilings
Squirrels and humans make terrible partners, so you will want to remove the squirrels as soon as possible. Luckily, there are many ways to do this humanely, and often the response of the squirrels and the eviction is fairly fast.
Let the Squirrel Get Out on Its Own
If there is a squirrel inside your walls, it can be impossible for you to gain access to it, so you will want to make the situation uncomfortable for the squirrel so it wants to leave on its own.
If you can shine a light into the opening, this will annoy the squirrels and they might leave the same way they came in. Putting a pungent-smelling substance to squirrels, such as cider vinegar, might also entice them to leave.
Trap the Squirrels
If they don’t leave from the annoyances, one proven way to get rid of squirrels from your walls is to trap them. In order to do this humanely, you can use a Havahart Trap like this one. Put a little peanut butter inside it to lure the squirrel, and in no time you should have the squirrel inside.
The animal control team in your town will generally come to get rid of the trapped squirrel for you, but if you do it yourself, make sure to relocate the squirrel at least 3-4 miles away.
How to Get Squirrels Out of Your Attic
The same tips to get squirrels out of your walls will help you remove them from the attic. Keep in mind that if there is a nest of baby squirrels in your attic, you may need to wait until the babies are mobile to remove them.
Squirrels want the place to themselves, so if you make a bunch of noise and shine lights in the attic, they might just leave the same way they came in.
If that method does not work in a timely manner, use a trap to humanely remove them from your home. In addition to peanut butter, you could try moistened cat food, or other types of seeds or nut butter to lure the squirrels.
When in Doubt, Call a Professional
When dealing with squirrels in your home, there are a few things that can go wrong. If you seal up the ports of entry before you remove all of the squirrels, for instance, the squirrels will become trapped and die in your walls.
If this happens, about 2 weeks later you will smell a terrible odor and be forced to tear open a wall.
Some people will also simply not want to deal with the problem themselves. Trusting the eradication of the squirrels to the experts will save you the time and hassle of doing it yourself.
A quality rodent company knows all of the tips and tricks to get rid of the squirrels in a quick and safe way.
Avoiding the Same Mistake in the Future
No matter who gets rid of the squirrels, once they are gone you will need to prevent their return. There are several important ways to do this and prevent future infestations.
Cover Opening So That Squirrels Can No Longer Get In
This step will involve a tall ladder and a little bravery on your part. Examine the roofline, and especially the areas around the chimney, in order to look for any places that might help the squirrels to enter. These should be sealed with mortar so they do not have a chance to get in again.
Cut Tree Branches Near the Home
Since squirrels can jump up to 20 feet, any trees that are close to your house should be trimmed. The tree trunk itself might not be that close to the house, but the branches might be closer than you realize at first glance.
Remove Firewood and Bird Feeders from Near Your Home
Sometimes things placed outside near your home can cause the squirrels to get closer and eventually get inside. For example, do not place a pile of firewood near your home, as this will draw squirrels toward it.
Likewise, if you have bird feeders near your home, squirrels are attracted to these seeds and will then be closer to your home and a possible entrance.
If you hear unexplained noises and see a whole lot of teeth marks around, you might have a squirrel infestation. If your efforts to make the squirrels uncomfortable with loud sounds and bright lights do not work, use a live trap to get rid of them. The faster you can get rid of the squirrels, the faster you can return to your quiet happy home.