Are squirrels protected in Ontario

Are squirrels protected in Ontario?

Squirrels are rodents. Most people are unaware of this fact but the reality is that squirrels are rodents with all of the customary qualities that go with it. Rodent teeth are very unusual in that they continue to grow throughout the rodent’s life, this is the case for squirrels in that they must continuously chew on whatever hard material they can find to grind their teeth down to prevent them from tearing through their mouth.

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If this happens the squirrel will be unable to eat and will die of starvation. This is why squirrels are so fond of human structures. They are very strong often being made of concrete, aluminum and hardwood. Squirrels love these materials because it makes it very easy for them to grind down their teeth. Squirrels can also use this skill to gain entrance through your roof and into your attic. This is not the only place squirrels like to nest, they love nesting behind air conditioners, in sheds or basement and garages. They will enter any area that seems safe to make a nest, especially if they are a female in heat. 

Female squirrels in heat are desperate to find a safe place to raise her young. For three weeks after birth squirrel babies are blind and immobile. They can not defend themselves in any way and the squirrel mother needs to leave the nest to find food regularly but has no male to help her protect her babies. When she makes her nest and is in heat she will find a male to mate with but then chase him out aggressively, often biting and scratching him. This is because male squirrels are aggressive and may eat or kill babies. The female will not, she will protect them. So she needs to find a place that other animals cannot get into. This usually means your attic. Once they are in and have given birth removing them is very hard, its easiest when they are not pregnant and still, in heat, they will be more than willing to find a different nest but once the babies come there is nothing you can do to get them out. 

Now unlike rodents squirrels cannot be killed, you can use dangerous traps to catch them and you cannot use poison to kill them. They are not like mice and rats and you can not set out snap traps for them. If you are caught intentionally killing a squirrel which is a member of the protected wildlife of Ontario you will suffer a hefty fine and possibly time in jail depending on the level of harm caused to the animal. 

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