Squirrels

Squirrels belong to a family of rodents. Squirrels are generally small animals, have slender bodies with bushy tails and large eyes. The colour of squirrels is generally either red or grey.

Squirrels can cause damage to houses by knawing at facia boards, joists, electrical wiring and belongings, which increases the risk of fire hazards and is costly to repair. They usually make their nests in loft spaces where they make their nests (dreys) out of the insulation and near food sources i.e. bird tables, other birds’ nests (and eggs).

Signs of squirrels

Damaged bird feeders, gnawing of wooden joists and electrical wiring, small raisin shaped droppings, noises in your loft space and insulation dragged into piles. This is not necessarily a sign of squirrels, it could also mean you may have mice or rats present in your loft.

Prevention

  • Use squirrel proof bird feeders – mesh feeders or suspended tables
  • Do not put food directly onto the ground or onto open bird tables
  • Clean up any fallen fruit or spilt pet food which may attract them
  • Cut back tree branches so they don’t overhang your house and also cut back climbing plants so they don’t reach your roof space, aiding squirrels
  • Repair any holes in roofs or facia boards as soon as possible to stop pests getting in
  • Put mesh over unused chimneys

If you are attached to other properties, encourage your neighbours to follow these steps.

Control measures

Cage traps can be bought from garden centres, although they must be sited away from other animals, pets and children. You must read the product information before use. You must remember that if any squirrels are trapped, you have a duty to dispose of them in a humane manner, or you may be prosecuted.

Note grey squirrels are a recognised foreign pest species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This legislation requires that trapped live squirrels are killed and not released. Therefore, we recommend that squirrel infestations are dealt with by a qualified pest contractor.