Gray Squirrels may look cute and fluffy, but that doesn’t mean you want them living in your home. If you are facing a gray squirrel epidemic, contact Environmental Pest Management today. Get your free quote and let us get rid of your pests.
You may be wondering what type of squirrel you have as unintentional houseguests. One of the culprits is the gray squirrel. Squirrels in your home are no fun, we know. Check out what to do if they’re driving you nuts!
Grey Squirrel 101
The gray squirrel, often known as the Eastern gray squirrel, is typically found in, you guessed it, the Eastern half of the United States. They are mammals, and they generally range in size from 5 to 26 inches, including their tails. You will find gray squirrels anywhere from .5 ounces to up to 4 pounds fully grown.
The gray squirrels survive on a varied diet as they are omnivores. Their primary diet, though, consists of nuts, seeds, buds, and flowers of trees, which they forage.
Eastern gray squirrels are tree squirrels, meaning they spend much of their time in the leaves and branches of trees. They are essential to seed dispersal in their region. In the months leading up to winter, they hide or bury their food in several varied locations.
In their preparedness, they gather and store more food than they will ever be able to recover and eat. They are capable, and even known to build several thousand separate hiding places per season! Naturally, they will never be able to eat all that food, and much is left untouched.
Those untouched hidden caches of buried or stored nuts will eventually sprout. In the spring months, many new plants will grow, all thanks to the gray squirrel and its thriftiness.
Eastern gray squirrels rely on their excellent sense of smell to help them find the hiding spots for the nuts and seeds. They can also communicate with their fellow grey squirrels with particular scents.
Beyond those scents, gray squirrels communicate with each other through sounds and body movements. One prominent example of this movement-based communication is a good tail flicking.
They are also known to warn other squirrels of nearby predators, such as red foxes or red-tailed hawks. They will sound out warning calls to signal the incoming danger.
Reproduction and the Gray Squirrel
Female gray squirrels may become pregnant as early as five and a half months old. They can birth liters two times a year. A typical litter consists of two to four babies.
These expectant mothers generally build their nests high in the branches of trees to avoid predators. They create these nests out of twigs and leaves. Occasionally, they will find a secure enough den in a particularly well-protected tree root cavity.
When they are first born, gray squirrels do not have fur or the ability to use their eyesight. They typically weigh around 14 grams or half an ounce. They don’t begin to leave the nest until about ten or eleven weeks, and they don’t reach full maturity until around nine months.
Gray Squirrel Distinguishing Characteristics
Gray squirrels are generally, surprise, surprise, gray. They are small rodents with expressive, bushy tails.
As previously stated, gray squirrels are omnivores. So, in addition to their primary diet of nuts and seeds, gray squirrels are scavengers and will eat pretty much whatever is available to them. This includes insects, frogs, and even the occasional small nesting bird.
Gray squirrels are most active during the late hours of the day or the early hours of the morning. Gray squirrels are often considered an invasive species because of their tendency to overpopulate a given area.
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Because of this overpopulation, gray squirrels have been known to invade human habitats, especially during the coldest of the winter months. They can most commonly be found nesting in attics, exterior walls, cellars, or basements. Their favorite indoor nesting material is, unfortunately, for the homeowner, all that essential and expensive insulation.
Signs of a Squirrel Infestation
One of the first, and most annoying, clues that you have a gray squirrel infestation is the scurrying noises they make. Unfortunately, because they are early risers, these scurrying noises will likely wake you up.
Additionally, gray squirrels have perpetually growing teeth. They are forced to continually grind them down to avoid endangering themselves. Therefore, you may notice tiny teeth marks on the wood, sheetrock, ceilings, exterior walls, or attic support structures.
Are Gray Squirrels Dangerous or Threatening?
While they are not generally dangerous to humans, gray squirrels are capable of doing considerable damage to your home. They can leave holes in your exterior trim as they create new or widen existing entry points.
They have been known to chew on and damage electrical wiring. If they are allowed to do this, you may be dealing with a short or even a fire.
Additionally, gray squirrels may even be carriers of fleas, harmful bacteria, or viruses. It goes without saying that your family’s health can be at risk if your home is infested with unwanted critters.
How Do I Prevent Gray Squirrels From Entering My Home in the First Place?
First things first, check with your local game warden. Gray squirrels are protected in specific areas; you should know if you live in one of them.
Thankfully, as a homeowner, you have several preventative measures at your disposal. One of the easiest ways to prevent gray squirrels from entering your home is metal flashing or mesh. Use this versatile material to cover any potential entry points.
Your unwanted squatters will be unable to gain entry and will likely move on.
You can also make a quick and easy DIY squirrel repellant. You can buy squirrel repellant from your local garden or hardware store, but it is easy and often cheaper to make it yourself. Use this easy recipe for foolproof results.
Use this repellant to squirrel-proof your fence, garden, the base of your house, or even your bird feeders.
You can also seal your outdoor trash can and sweep up and remove any nuts or berries from directly around your home. Removing their food source will go a long way to preventing those pesky critters from invading your home.
Also, it is a good idea to keep the branches of the trees closest to your home trimmed back. Prevent gray squirrels from jumping on your roof by removing their access.
If you are still experiencing squirrel problems, contact Environmental Pest Management. Our humane animal removal methods will leave you pest free.