Squirrels…who could possibly hate squirrels? They are clever, cute and cuddly looking. But that’s only if you look at them from a wildlife lover‘s point of view. From the point of view of a homeowner and someone who spends a lot of money and time in their garden, squirrels can be a menace. The interesting thing is that, while rats have a bad reputation – and are very much frowned upon -the damage squirrels can do is often far greater.
Part of the problem with squirrels, is that they have a steely determination. And once they make your garden or property their home, they are hard to get rid of. To understand why they are such a formidable pest, we will look at examples of the damage squirrels can do…
The Damage Squirrels Can Do in the House
Squirrels like to make their nests inside secure and warm spaces, so your chimney or loft is ideal. Their dreys or nests are normally made from grass, dry leaves and twigs. But if they make a home in your loft space, they will often use anything available up there!
Squirrels reach maturity within 10 to 12 months, and can have three to four litters every year. Considering their litters normally consist of three kittens, and the fact that they live for up to two years, it’s not hard to see why they are so hard to deal with.
Causing Fire and Flood Hazards
One of the worst things about a squirrel problem in your home, is the fact that they have incredibly tough teeth. Not only that, but their incisors never stop growing and therefore need to be constantly used to reduce their teeth size. Therefore, some of the worst damage squirrels can do involves biting and chewing into just about anything. And when we say anything, we really mean anything.
Nothing is safe from squirrels. They have been known to chew through electric cables, water pipes and, of course, the timber in your building. Squirrels and their chewing habits are the cause of many house and property fires. Not to mention the possibility of flooding or water damage.
They will also bite and chew through tiles, shingles and the siding of your house. They are more like little monsters when it comes to their behaviour. That cute and cuddly outside appearance masks the true vandals they really are.
Raiding Your Kitchen Cupboards
When they are not causing problems for the structural integrity of your property, they are on the search for food. The damage squirrels can do extends to midnight raids your kitchen cupboards. They can get into small cracks and holes and are very adept climbers.
It’s not strange for them to leave a trail of half eaten food, especially fruit, veg and nuts. In a home where there’s a squirrel infestation problem, you will likely see this kind of evidence.
Food prices nowadays can be expensive enough – without having to feed unwanted guests too.
Gnawing at Furniture
As we’ve noted, squirrels love to chew. They need to chew. Therefore, if you have a squirrel problem, and have some nice wooden and upholstered furniture, they may well decide to take a bite or two out of them. Tell-tale signs of squirrel attacks include tiny rips and holes in the fabric, chips missing from the wood, or teeth and claw marks.
Although not their preferred surface to work with, items made with non-wood materials are not off the menu either. A squirrel’s need to chew and bite could still prevail, even if you have plastic or metallic furniture.
The Damage Squirrels Can Do in the Garden
It’s not just the inside of your property that squirrels can cause a lot of damage to. They can also cause chaos in your garden.
Spoiling Your Planters
Another feature that is never safe from squirrels are planters, flowerbeds and window boxes. Especially if they contain bulbs. Squirrels will completely ruin your lovely flower displays in search of the bulbs. They are also prone to hiding nuts in these very same planters. Then spoiling the arrangement by digging them up again later.
Nesting in and Chewing at Trees
If you’re fortunate enough not to have any squirrels staying in your loft or chimney, they could still make their dreys somewhere else – somewhere in your garden.
Squirrels like to build nests in trees. But it doesn’t stop there. If you have any saplings in your garden, they are at risk from the damage squirrels can do. When they’re not setting up home, they are simply working those sharp front teeth again.
Digging in the Earth
As well as looking for nesting materials in your garden, squirrels are constantly on the lookout for food. And, just like rats, mice and other rodents, they are looking for vegetables and fruit. So, if you have a thriving kitchen garden, it could be easy pickings for squirrels. They will dig at all that tasty produce, leaving behind half-eaten scraps and a whole lot of holes.
Before reading this post, you may not have realised just how much damage squirrels can do if they enter your home or garden. Hopefully, you are a lot more aware of how much of a nuisance they are. If you have a problem with these sneaky little animals, you need to solve it as soon as possible.