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SQUIRRELS

SquirrelsIdentification & Biology of Squirrels:

 

  • Adult grey squirrel weighs 500gm
  • Roughly 25cm long with tail of a similar length
  • Winter coat is yellowish grey in colour with a white underside
  • Summer coat is brownish grey in colour & much shorter

 

Squirrel can have 1-2 litters per year often December - January and then May - June time. Litter size of up to 5, females can live for 6 years and males 2 to 3 years. In other words one female squirrel could potentially breed up to 60 young in a life time. Physically they have short front legs & very strong hind limbs allowing them to leap to heights of 6 metres or more. They have very good eye sight & are very sensitive to movement. They have a profound sense of smell which they use to find buried food. The grey squirrel is a member of the rodent family & in liking to other rodents has teeth that will grow continuously throughout its life cycle, explaining why gnawing is so important to them!

Where squirrels live & how they affect you:

The grey squirrel is incredibly common across England & is a real nuisance once established inside your home, largely found in lofts, wall cavities or between false walls, due to their tendency to gnaw. They build their dray (nest) using insulation materials & sometimes with twigs & leaves. They cause much damage to property by gnawing woodwork, plastic piping & electrical wiring, which could potentially lead to floods or fires. Furthermore they can contaminate water tanks with their urine & droppings. You will be alerted to their presence by hearing loud scratching noises in the ceiling. They are more active at first light & at the end of the day.

Outside squirrels can create further damage to your garden. They damage trees by chewing off the bark which can potentially kill young trees by removing the nutrients it needs. They also dig holes in lawns & dig up newly planted bulbs & have also been known to invade the nests of small birds to steal the eggs or young. Further upset for bird lovers is their ability to steal food from bird tables & seeds from tube feeders, causing damage to them if it cannot access the food.

Control measures for squirrels:

If squirrels are residing in your loft, it is necessary to locate where their point of entry is. Entry points need blocking off (proofing) when the squirrels are out of the nests which are generally in the mornings. Loose or damages soffits need replacing & gaps need plugging with tightly wired mesh. Trapping is the best method of controlling squirrels, although legislation is very specific regarding this to stop any unnecessary suffering to the rodent.

Squirrels - Helpful Tips:

  • Remove food sources
  • Fit squirrel proof bird tables & bird feeders
  • Do not feed the squirrels