why do squirrels break into attic

Why Do Squirrels Break Into Attics?

Squirrels are common residents of attics in Toronto and are noisy and destructive. These rodents also carry diseases including Lyme disease, Rabies, and Leptospirosis.  This still doesn’t explain why they break into attics in the first place.

For one, squirrels are a highly adaptive species. Human settlements have expanded exponentially over the years to the point of encroaching into wildlife territory. Squirrels have simply adapted to the urban landscape to ensure the survival of the species.

Attics also offer a safe haven away from predators and humans. Squirrels can get away from common predators such as raptors, owls, and even cats and dogs. The attic offers a great nesting place for a squirrel to breed uninterrupted. These enclosures are safe, warm, dry and most importantly, the squirrel is safe from the elements.

Lastly, squirrels are naturally arboreal animals (animals that live in/on trees) and the attic looks much like the inside of a hollow tree trunk to a squirrel.

The squirrel’s physical makeup also makes the attic an easily accessible location for nesting. These animals are highly skilled climbers and are able to scurry up power lines, telephone poles and rooftops to find an ideal nesting place. The rodents also have incredibly powerful teeth allowing them to chew through aluminum, wood and plastic to gain entry into the attic.

One of the major problems for homeowners is the squirrels incessant chewing through the structure and causing untold damage. The squirrel doesn’t only chew through a structure to gain access to a nesting place. As their teeth grow, the squirrels need to grind them down to a more manageable size and will chew through all sorts of surfaces including plumbing stacks, lead piping, wires, vents, and wood to achieve this.

There are all kinds of suggestions for DIY squirrel removal including strobe lights, ammonia, sound machines, coyote urine and mothballs among others.  These methods are highly ineffective and considered old wives’ take by the experts.

Trapping may be a viable solution but remember that it is illegal to transport wildlife (which includes squirrels) for more than a kilometre without a permit. You also risk injuring the animal which is also illegal. Trapping also doesn’t resolve the issue of why the squirrels entered the attic in the first place nor does it prevent others from occupying the empty nest.

Exclusion is the most humane and effective squirrel control method. It involves sealing all entry points into the attic and installing a one-way door to allow the squirrels to leave but blocking their re-entry.

Hiring a professional wildlife removal expert is the best solution for getting rid of squirrels in the attic in Toronto. A wildlife removal service is different from a pest control service so it is necessary to make this distinction. Wildlife removal experts require special permits that pest control experts don’t have. Wildlife removal is also an entirely different (and often more complicated) process than pest control.

The scope of the job may help you to appreciate why it is necessary to hire an expert as opposed to taking the DIY approach. The process may involve removing the animals humanely, cleaning the biohazard left behind, identifying all possible entry points and sealing them, ensuring the attic is inhabitable for other rodents and pests, finding and repairing chewed wires and much more. It is highly unlikely that you can do all this effectively on your own. Hire a squirrel removal expert who provides a warranty for the job preferably of at least one year.

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