The United States hosts at least 12 species of tree squirrels, 23 species of ground squirrels, and 2 types of flying squirrels. They are found throughout the country and are classified as game animals in some states. Mostly, though, squirrels are unprotected and considered little more than nuisances.
Tree squirrels generally grow between 1 and 2 feet long including their large, bushy tails. Their coarse, grizzled coats are often shades of gray, brown, or black, and they have lightly colored underbellies. Ground squirrels have shorter tails, short fur, and are generally smaller. They range in appearance from reddish-gray to smoky brown and may have black spots or stripes. Flying squirrels are the smallest of all three types and have webs of skin between their fore and hind limbs used for gliding. Typically light brown or gray, flying squirrels are primarily nocturnal and have large eyes to help them see at night.
Species of tree squirrels prefer to live among hardwood or coniferous forests where ground cover is plentiful. Their nests are usually made of twigs and leaves. Ground squirrels thrive in open grasslands where they dig deep, extensive burrows with multiple exits. Flying squirrels make their homes in the crevices of trees or abandoned bird's nests. The small, nocturnal creatures prefer to live in wooded areas where they can glide from treetop to treetop without having to descend to the ground.
Are squirrels known to enter homes or yards?
Squirrels are common sights in backyards and public parks. As opportunistic omnivores, they feed off human food and garbage whenever possible. Tree squirrels and flying squirrels have been known to enter unsecured attic spaces to nest, and ground squirrels often burrow into yards or farmers' fields in search of food.
Do squirrels harm people or property?
Taking advantage of any available food sources, squirrels damage yards and fields by digging for nuts and insects. When ground squirrels burrow near manmade embankments or dams, they weaken the structural integrity and cause collapses. Flying squirrels and tree squirrels damage homes by gnawing or tearing at insulation and electrical wires on roofs and in attics. They can also cause outages when they run across power lines.
Control and Safety
Keeping ground squirrels off personal property is challenging since the rodents can simply burrow underneath or climb over most fences, though electrified fencing can be effective. Tree squirrels and flying squirrels can be kept from entering attics by sealing all possible external entrances and pruning tree limbs that hang over roofs.
Trapping and Removal
If serious squirrel problems arise, contact Critter Control wildlife experts to handle the furry little rodents. Our technicians have the training and tools necessary to trap and remove squirrels from private properties. We only employ humane methods of eradication and our process is safe for all humans and animals involved.
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