Squirrel Facts

Squirrels have major and minor food preferences. Favorite foods include fruits, nuts and seeds. Peanuts and peanut butter are superior baits. Walnuts and apples are good baits since they may naturally occur in the squirrel's diet.

Tree squirrel diets vary by species and are determined by their habitat and season of the year.

Tree squirrels do not hibernate, but tend to store great quantities of food, often in excess of that needed.

Fewer than half the species of ground squirrels are considered pests. Most ground squirrels are found west of the Mississippi River. Ground squirrels hibernate during the winter months.

In areas where the squirrels are known to be possible disease carriers, particularly in the West, live or dead animals should never be handled without wearing protective gloves.

Utility companies report that tree squirrels often cause loss of electrical and telephone service by gnawing into cables and stripping insulation.

The largest animals in the squirrel family are the woodchucks (also called ground hogs or marmots) and have been know to dig beneath houses and other buildings. They also burrow into levees and dikes, causing damaging washouts. As housing developments have popped up in former farm land, woodchuck problems have become more common for home owners.

Signs

If squirrels are in the attic or garage, the occupant will likely hear them moving about, even if he/she has not seen them; however, their noise and physical evidence can sometimes be confused with that of chipmunks, wood rats or roof rats.

The most common points of entry for a squirrel in a building are roof vents including power fans, gable louver vents, soffit vents, deteriorated facia boards behind the rain gutters and construction gaps at inside or outside corners.

If a squirrel has appeared in the basement, it has most likely come down the chimney and out the furnace damper opening. Whenever a chimney flue is the likely point of entry be sure to check for obstructions caused by accumulated nest material.

 

Squirrel Tracks

Pest Tips

Before undertaking reduction control of ground squirrels, it is important to check with the local wildlife or conservation agency because some species are threatened or endangered or protected in some states.

Wire screen cage-style box traps such as the Kage-All are the most appropriate live capture and release trap for squirrels. Wire-screen cage-style traps are more durable than those made of sheet metal.

For best results, traps should be pre-baited for several days with the doors secured in an open position; when the bait is readily taken, the traps can be reset and baited.

Lethal traps for squirrels include the body-gripping trap, the locking steel cable snare and the traditional snap-type rodent trap. In some instances, glue boards may be appropriate.

Both live and lethal traps, which are too large, may attract and catch non-target animals or may not adequately hold or quickly kill squirrels.

Baited sets are the most widely acceptable and sure-fire of trap sets for catching nuisance squirrels.

Blind sets are most successful in the taking of squirrels. For example, if the squirrel is inside the building and is using only one or two small entry holes, a live trap can be fixed across the openings, leaving the squirrel no option except to enter the trap.

Open trail sets are generally ineffective due to the cautious nature of squirrels. When faced with a trap in its path, the agile squirrel will usually find a way to avoid the trap.

Be certain all the target squirrels are removed prior to the repair of the entry hole(s). A squirrel can do extensive and unnecessary damage in its efforts to escape or return through a premature repair job.

Available from Kness

Kage All® Small Animal Trap Products Kage All® Small Animal Trap

Kage-All® Small Animal Traps are custom designed to trap live animals such as chipmunks, rats, weasels, squirrels, skunks, muskrats, rabbits, cats, raccoons opossums, porcupines, woodchucks, armadillos, foxes and groundhogs.

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