Squirrels can be a serious nuisance whether they are uprooting flowers and plants and digging up holes in your yard or ripping insulation and chewing electrical wires and wooden support beams in your attic. These rodents can be dangerous since squirrel poop can carry a variety of parasites and diseases so you want to get rid of them as soon as possible.
If you are still not convinced why you need to be humane about removing squirrels from your property, keep in mind that squirrel is protected wildlife in Toronto and it is illegal to kill, harm, or otherwise injure wildlife even by accident. It is also illegal to transport wildlife for more than a kilometre without a permit.
Traditionally, squirrels preferred densely forested areas with nut and acorn producing trees like oaks, pines and walnuts. However, like any successful urban wildlife, they are incredibly adaptive and thrive in new habitats. They now often make their homes inside attics and soffit areas. Homeowners living with squirrels have been complaining that they eat birdseed, ruin growing vegetables and at times, they get trapped inside their houses. In this page, we outline safe, natural and humane methods that you can use to get rid of squirrels from your home.
Will Squirrels Leave Attic on Their Own?
Well, the truth is when squirrels find a comfortable place to stay, they no longer have an incentive to leave. This is particularly so in the case of female squirrels who have just given birth to a litter. The female squirrel may leave a few times to scavenge for food for the little ones, but they will always end up coming back.
However, this does not mean, there isn’t a thing you can do to bring back this incentive. Use any of the following methods below:
Spray Ammonia Around Their Nesting Spot
You know the squirrels are in the attic, but, you need to locate their nesting spot. Once you do that, get ammonia into a spray bottle, and release it around the nesting spot.
If you can’t get a spray bottle, soak a rag in ammonia and lay it close to the squirrel nesting spot as well. Squirrels have sensitive nostrils; therefore, the smell of ammonia should irritate them thereby leading to their departure from your attic.
Make Use of Human Noise and Bright Lights
The reason why squirrels prefer attics to nest in is because of the warmness and quiet. When you take that away for them, it no longer remains their haven. Therefore, a recommended tip to get squirrels to lave on their own is by installing bright overhead lights and making use of radios.
The intensity of the light should affect their eyes while the use of a radio close to their nest should make them think humans are close by.
Removing Squirrels Humanely
There are a number of humane removal methods that experts use to get rid of squirrels. You may have to use more than one method depending on the kind of invasion.
Help Them Out
Sometimes you are lucky and the squirrels have accidentally found their way into the house. In these cases, the rodents will be desperate to get back out and typically don’t want to build a nest in your house. If a squirrel is trapped in your house, close all the doors leading to other areas of the home and leave only the exterior door or window leading outside open. Leave the room and check-in periodically. The squirrel should figure out the exit and leave with no trouble.
For squirrels that have fallen into your chimney, make noises in your fireplace to scare the squirrel up and out of the chimney. If the squirrel cannot scamper up due to a sleek chimney flue, drop a thick rope down the chimney. This should offer enough leverage for the squirrel to climb up. Seal the chimney vent with a wildlife-proof chimney cap to avoid this problem in the future.
Lastly, if the squirrel is cornered and doesn’t seem to want to leave, you may have to physically handle the animal to remove it. Wear heavy-duty gloves and held out a thick blanket in front of you. Cover the squirrel with the blanket, roll lightly so as not to injure the animal and carry the squirrel outside. Remember to release it with the animal facing away from you.
This is also a good strategy if the squirrels aren’t actually nesting in your property and simply come by to forage. Squirrel repellent such as prey urine, motion-activated sprinklers, ultrasonic sounds, cayenne pepper and so on don’t work. Squirrels are very intelligent and are soon able to figure out that these measures aren’t actually dangerous.
The best way to repel squirrels and keep them out of your property is to remove what is attracting them there in the first place. These measures include;
- Keep your garbage inside until collection day or securing the cover with zip-ties
- Trim low hanging branches and those at least 8 feet near the house or fence. Squirrels can easily jump 8 feet.
- Remove bird feeders or change to squirrel-proof feeders. Squirrels love bird food as much as the birds do.
- Get rid of stagnant water or dripping water
- Remove wood piles from your yard or at least those close to the house or fence
- Lay hardware cloth just under the topsoil of plants and bulbs that the squirrels are fond of digging up. The hardware cloth irritates the squirrels underfoot when they attempt to dig.
- Fence off individual plants or plant beds that seem to attract the squirrel. Dig the fence at least 2 feet into the ground so squirrels don’t burrow through.
What Is the Best Way to Repel Squirrels?
If you live in an area populated with squirrels, you need to put in place preventive measures to guard against them invading your property. The same also applies to those who through the methods above managed to get rid of the squirrels on their property. You don’t want a repeat case of squirrels affecting your peace.
Therefore, the following methods below should come in handy to repel them:
Squirrels aren’t exactly a fan of spicy foods. A whiff or a taste of spiciness could have them going “nuts”!
All you must do is get a few black pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, then sprinkle around your property. The result should be quite satisfying, and the good part is, you don’t spend a lot of money.
Set Up a Boundary
When talking about boundary setup, you need to get the right one to ward off squirrels. To be more specific, you need to put up a tall fence around your property. It is already a known fact that squirrels are high-fliers, and can pretty, much find their way around objects. So, you need to make it harder for them to gain access to your property.
Another safe way to go about repelling squirrels is to buy and installing sprinklers on your property. It would be best if the sprinklers are motion activated as well. If possible, the sprinklers should be paired with the tall fence. So, if a squirrel makes it past the fence, the sprinkler can act as a second-level line of defence to startle it away.
Cap your Chimney
One way a squirrel can gain access to your home is through your chimney. Remember that these little rodents are acrobatic, therefore, you need to ensure the route is not accessible to them. You can do so by investing in a chimney cap.
Many people advocate for live trapping as a humane squirrel removal method but the truth is it depends on who is doing the trapping. Most experts trap only as a last resort because of the inherent dangers in this kind of wildlife control. Squirrels can exhaust themselves or injure themselves while attempting to escape the trap. The trap can also catch other non-target animals such as neighbourhood pets and birds.
Leaving the trap unattended exposes the animal to the elements and harassment from neighbourhood pets and prey. If trapping is the only way to get rid of the squirrel, this is best done by a professional wildlife removal expert Toronto.
Also, be careful when handling the trap with a live squirrel in it. Squirrel urine and feces is toxic and spreads a variety of diseases including leptospirosis and tularemia. Parasites present in the squirrel fur such fleas and ticks can also transmit Lyme disease and plague and the animal will certainly scratch or bite through the cage given the opportunity.
By far the most recommended method for getting rid of squirrels humanely is an eviction. This involves sealing all possible entrances to the nest and installing a one-way door on the main entrance. True to its name, this door opens one-way towards the outside but blocks the animal returning into the nest.
Again, this is a method best left to the professionals. The first major consideration is whether you are trapping a litter inside the nest. You need to be sure that there are no baby squirrels before evicting the mother otherwise they’ll die of starvation and dehydration. There is also the question of whether you can remove the litter safely both for yourself and the animals.
Method 1: Squirrel-Poof Bird Feeders
Get a special bird feeder that can spin or tilt when a squirrel sits on it or attach squirrel guard to your bird feeder to prevent them from eating the birdseed. Note that you should avoid placing your feeders too close to your home/ trees since squirrels will have the opportunity to bypass the guard by simply leaping from your home’s eaves or from the branches right to the bird feeder.
Keep the area under your bird feeder clean to keep squirrels away from the feeder. Just ensure that you pick up all the stray seeds dropped by the birds
Feed the birds with a type of food that squirrels don’t like. It’s said that safflower seeds taste bitter to squirrels. Therefore, you can fill your birdfeeder safflower seeds.
Method 2: Feed the Squirrels
To keep the squirrels away from the bird feeder or your garden, you can consider feeding them. Just buy a feeder or simply scatter squirrel feed around your yard. You should ensure that you are feeding them away from your garden/ bird feeder.
Method 3: Use Squirrel Repellant
Visit your local hardware or home & garden store and ask for the most effective repellant. These products are made from natural ingredients such as cayenne, black pepper, urine of squirrel predators etc. Some of these repellants are added to the bird feeder while others are sprayed around the gardens to help keep squirrels away.
Method 4: Protect Your Garden
Squirrels tear-off vegetables and dig up bulbs. Prevent them from getting into your garden using a wire fence. Just make sure that the fence is buried about 1foot into the ground so that they can’t dig under it.
Method 5: Use a Live Trap
Live traps enable you to catch squirrels safely in a cage without harming them. You can then take the squirrels somewhere and release them. Based on how quickly you would like to get rid of squirrels, you can place the live trap out in the yard or set it up in your attic and prop the door open so that it can’t shut or trap the squirrel. The squirrel will then get used to the cage, and you’ll have it trapped within a short period of time. Live traps can be bought from local hardware or Home & garden stores.
· Clean your attic and make sure that it doesn’t have food in it.
· Place a squirrel guard over your chimney.
· Trim branches that may be hanging close to your chimney and roof.
· Hang a rope through your attic or chimney to provide the squirrels with an escape route in case they get trapped.
· Contact squirrel removal company to come to your home and trap the squirrels.
Are Squirrels in The Attic Dangerous?
Yes! Squirrels living in your attic can be dangerous. You might think these rodents are just looking for shelter or a conducive environment, but they pose a threat to your wellbeing and property.
These are the damage they can cause:
Chew Your Wires
In most environs, power lines are usually passed through the attic to an outlet. Squirrels like most other rodents have front teeth which they love to use to chew away at things. With the wires present at the attic, the squirrels might just decide that they are there to be chewed on.
If or when the squirrels chew on the wires, this can lead to a fire hazard waiting to happen.
Cause Damage to Your Walls and Floorboards
Another reason why squirrels are a source of worry is their need to build a nesting area. Naturally, they need to gather materials for this. In that case, for them, your floorboards or walls might either be useful for the creation of those nests or in the way.
They can gnaw on the siding or chew holes around the attic. The longer the squirrel stays within your attic, the higher the number of holes you are likely to find. This will leave your home exposed to water leaks and flooding during the rainy season.
Destroy your Insulation
The insulation in your attic is important to regulate the temperature of your home. During the winter, it helps hold the heat while in the summer, it blocks the heat from your home. The constant regulation by the insulator saves you money on energy bills.
But, when squirrels are present in your attic, there is an increased likelihood of them defecating and urinating on the insulation. This, in turn, ruins it and requires you to spend more money to replace it.
How Long Can Squirrels Live in Attic?
Once a squirrel has created a nest for itself in your attic, it can be concluded that it deems your attic as a conducive environment. Squirrels are also omnivores meaning they eat anything from meat (small snakes, insects, eggs) to vegetables (seeds, fungi, nuts, fruits) they can get their paws on. Also, statistics show that squirrels are more likely to die through road accidents or wild animal attacks than heart disease.
Therefore, if good food and a warm environment are available to them in your attic, they can reside there for the foreseeable future. That foreseeable future can be the totality of its lifespan which on the average for the squirrel who has no threat to its life is 8 years.
But, if you make use of any of the methods discussed above to drive them away, then you can reduce that likelihood of having squirrel roommates for 8 years.
How Much Does It Cost to Get Squirrels Out of The Attic?
The cost to remove a squirrel from the attic is not standardized. Various factors affect the actual cost which can be paid for a squirrel removal job. They include:
The size of your attic also affects the cost estimate for squirrel removal. The contractor will have to examine every aspect of the attic including the roof and vents to determine how the squirrels gained access to your home. Also, the contractor must determine if you are dealing with a large size squirrel infestation or just a runaway squirrel.
An attic inspection also requires identifying damage and fecal deposits by the squirrel. This is done to identify the right type of decontamination treatment to be used for your home after squirrel removal.
Based on the size of squirrels present in your home, the contractor then must determine a suitable removal method. Some of the methods include the use of a repeater trap or an exclusion door among others.
Block Entry Points
After the removal, the contractor has to cut off the future possibilities of the squirrels returning to your attic. This will require sealing all holes and repairing damages.
Clean the Attic
Decontamination is important to prevent contracting diseases from the waste left behind by pets. Therefore, all these things combined or chosen separately will determine the cost of getting squirrels out of your attic. But, on average, the cost of squirrel removal can start from $325.
How to Get Rid of Squirrels in The Garden
Squirrels may be considered as pests, but the fact remains that they are wild animals, therefore they are likely to roam and find themselves in your garden. The wildness of squirrels makes it difficult to get rid of them completely. However, you can put in place measures to deter them.
These measures include:
Plant Bulbs That Squirrels Can’t Eat
The taste of allium, daffodils, snowdrops and hyacinth is unpleasant to squirrels. Therefore, you can consider planting them in your garden to improve their chances of survival.
Sprinkle Pepper Around the Plants
Chances are you might not like the smell or look of allium or daffodils (plants that are unpleasant tasting to squirrels), so, what do you do? In such a scenario, you can choose to sprinkle chilli or pepper flakes around your plants. Just like the taste of snowdrops and daffodils, squirrels can’t stand the taste or smell of pepper.
You may also choose to plant peppermints with your other favourite plants in the garden. This also works as a deterrent.
Install Tree Protectors
Since squirrels are high flyers, you can prevent them from scratching the bark of trees in your garden by using tree protectors.
Is Squirrel Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
Due to the number of damage squirrels can cause, it is only practical to wonder if your homeowner’s insurance has you covered. But, this is not the case.
Most homeowner insurance policies have a clause stating that gradual damage caused by rodents is not covered. However, the insurance policy will cover sudden or unexpected damages caused by rodents to your property so far as it is a result of a loss that has been insured. From the policy, it is clear to see that the burden of early spotting of squirrel damage is on you.
To further illustrate the meaning of the policy, look at this example:
If squirrels get into your attic and nibble on the pipes thereby causing a leakage, then the homeowner’s insurance policy will pay for it. But, if it takes you 3 months after the incident to notice the damage, then the insurance company will not pay. So, this is why it is very important to remove squirrels as soon as possible, feel free to call our professional squirrel removal services in Toronto.
Hire a Professional to Remove Squirrels Humanely
The specific method to use when attempting to remove wildlife depends on the particular situation. The process can be risky both for you and for the animal which is why it is best to leave the job to a professional squirrel removal company Toronto.
Squirrel waste and the squirrel nest are also toxic and home to various bacteria, viruses and parasites. You need extra care while cleaning to avoid infection or spreading disease-causing organisms. You also need to disinfect and eliminate the pheromones left behind otherwise other wildlife for up to a kilometre may be attracted to the empty nest.
Only a professional can guarantee that the entire process is handled effectively, permanently and safely. Make sure that you get a warranty for the service before work can begin.
Article Updated: January 16, 2020