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Squirrels Facts & Information

Protect your home or business from squirrels by learning techniques for identification and control.

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Sciuridae

Squirrel Treatment

How do I get rid of squirrels?

How to Keep Squirrels Out of Garden

Remove items that attract squirrels such as fallen fruit, nuts, and seeds. Rake your yard regularly to remove these items from under bird feeders and trees. Use garbage cans with tight-fitting lids to keep squirrels out of your trash.

What Orkin does?

Contact an Orkin Pro for wildlife management services to safely remove, repel, and exclude squirrels from your home. To learn how to control a squirrel infestation, contact your local Orkin branch.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Understanding Squirrels

What do squirrels look like?

Squirrels are generally small, 4-legged rodents with bushy tails and large eyes. In general, their fur is short, soft, and silky, and ranges in thickness from species to species. The color of their fur is highly variable and can be whitish, gray, yellow, red, brown, or even black, depending on the species.

What are the different types of squirrels?

  • Tree Squirrels

  • Ground Squirrels

  • Flying Squirrels

Common Squirrels Found in the U.S.

  • Eastern Gray Squirrels

  • American Red Squirrels

  • Fox Squirrels

  • Abert’s Squirrels

  • Western Gray Squirrels

  • Northern Flying Squirrels

  • Southern Flying Squirrels

  • Humboldt’s Flying Squirrels

  • Black squirrels

Where do squirrels live?

Tree squirrels: These rodents live in hardwood and coniferous forests. Mature, hardwood, and mixed pine-hardwood forests offer ideal habitats. Squirrels build nests from leaves and twigs about 25 feet or more from the ground. They also live in hollow trees and tree cavities.

Ground squirrels: They tend to live in underground dens located in grasslands meadows or pastures. Ground squirrels may choose to locate their dens in ground locations under houses or other buildings.

Flying squirrels: These animals show a preference for nesting in old-growth forests where snags (standing dead trees) and large trees with hollow cavities are plentiful. However, it is not uncommon for flying squirrels to use alternative sites, such as home attics. Flying squirrels can enter a building or home through a crack as narrow as their skull as small as 0.9 inches wide and 0.7 inches tall. Usually, they will enter the structure near the roof line. Since flying squirrels are social animals, several or more families may be denning together. Only sealing, screening, or otherwise covering those holes with galvanized metal is enough to prevent squirrels or other unwanted guests from gaining entrance.

What do squirrels eat?

Squirrels are omnivores and will eat seeds, nuts, fruits, veggies, twigs, mushrooms, eggs, bugs, snakes, and lizards.

Squirrel Life Cycle

How long do squirrels live?

The life expectancy for a gray squirrel at birth is 1-2 years; the average life span of an adult is closer to 6 years. Records for maximum life span are 12 years in the wild and 20 years in captivity. Eastern gray squirrels can live up to 12 years in the wild.

Squirrel Babies

The female cares for her young until they are weaned at about 10 weeks old. After 44 days, the female gives birth to 2 to 3 blind, naked young squirrels. The female cares for her young until they are weaned at about 10 weeks old.

Squirrel Maturity

Males reach sexual maturity at 11 months old, while females mature at about 15 months old.

What do squirrel nests look like?

A squirrel nest looks like an oversized clump of twigs and leaves. The interior is hollow and measures about eight inches in diameter on average. Nests are typically lined with leaves, grass, moss, and shreds of bark. The exterior shell of the nest is woven together with sticks and leaves for insulation.

Do squirrels hibernate?

Squirrels are homeotherms, so unlike other mammals, their body temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the year, and they don't hibernate. In the winter, squirrels spend less time foraging outside their dens, and it's more common for several squirrels to share a den.

More Squirrel Facts

Squirrels on Roofs

To prevent squirrels from running on roofs, trim tree branches away from the house, ensure there are no accessible entry points into your home, and eliminate possible food sources.

Wildlife Management

Orkin provides Wildlife Management services for squirrels, raccoons, and more in some parts of the country.

Can Mothballs Be Used to Repel Squirrels?

While mothballs can repel squirrels, they are unsafe for pest control due to potential water and soil contamination.

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