There are many ways a squirrel will get into your attic, but the question really is why?
The answer is probably pretty obvious, they will want to get into your attic or roof as it is a warm haven to construct their nests and keep warm during the cold winter months.
You will be able to hear them at night rustling and scurrying around the roof or attic, busy making their nests and hoarding their food in preparation for the winter.
Once they have established themselves in your home, you may then startto notice a foul odor. This is because they are urinating and defecating on theattic floors or even worse, in your insulation.
The squirrel is predominantly herbivorous and uses its sharp strong teeth to chew through the hard grains and nuts that constitutes their diet. Their teeth are constantly growing, and because of this they need to gnaw and chew to keep their teeth worn down.
Unfortunately if your house has been inhabited with a family of squirrels, it could be parts of your house they are chewing. They have a preference for rotting or unpainted wood but have been known to chew on the wiring inside your attic.
This can instigate serious problems like power outages or in the worst case scenario, a house fire.
Places where they can get into your home
The squirrel only needs to chew a small hole into hidden spots to get in and out of your home.
Because of this it can sometimes be very difficult to find where they are getting in. Here are some of the places to check.
Drain pipes and gutters
Gutters can become clogged with leaves, branches and other foliage blocking the gutter and lifting your shingles.
This along with the effect of snow and rain can soften shingles and loosen tiles, making it the perfect place for a squirrel to chew their way in to your attic and make themselves at home.
Wall Vents & roof vents
Vents which are used for kitchens, bathrooms or laundries are generallyon the exterior walls of your house and are another way a squirrel may chewtheir way into your attic. The warm air escaping through these vents willattract the squirrel, enticing them into your home.
The mats around the round vents which are attached to your plumbingsystem to expel odors are another way they can get in. The holes are biggerthan the pipe, hence the need for the mats, so this gives the squirrel the opportunityto chew through them easily enough, and off they go, straight into your roof.
They can also find ways in through the roof gables. The joins or cornerjoints may not be flush leaving a small gap where the squirrel can chew theirway in. Or even knots in wooden beams have been known to be targets for thepesky squirrel.
Squirrels can chew through the aluminum plates which seal the hole on the roof from the chimney, this gives them easy access to the attic.
Squirrels have even been known to climb into the uncapped chimney lined with smooth steel or clay then fall in and die.
This unfortunate act will leave an offensive odor throughout your home as the body of the unlucky rodent decomposes.
This could even lead to the spread disease. If they do survive their chimney antics and are able to get in and out of the chimney, they will nest on top of the fireplace.
Wall cavities can be a huge problem because the squirrel can either nest in the cavities or, just like the chimney fall, get themselves trapped and die.
Again, this will leave a foul odor whilst they are decomposing. If you find yourself in either situation, there are commercial odor removers available.
Facts about squirrels
There are over 200 different species of squirrels throughout the world.
Squirrels can have up to 2 litters a year. Each litter may have up to 6babies. A baby squirrel is called a kitten.
Squirrels are very vocal, they will bark or chatter, scream or purr toeach to communicate.
They use their tails for balance and a form of parachute when jumping fromheights to prevent injury. Incredibly, a squirrel can fall from heights of upto 100 feet without hurting themselves.
Squirrels sometimes forget where they have buried their nuts, consequentlythese will then germinate and grow.
They mislead other animals that steal their food by going back to thesame spot digging hole but only burying leaves.
How to get Squirrels out of the Attic or roof?
If you do have a squirrel problem in your home, here are a couple ofways to get the pesky little creatures out of your attic.
Use Bright lights
Leave bright lights on in the attic, the squirrel does not like brightlights as it makes them feel exposed and vulnerable, creating anxiety resultingin them vacating the area.
Soak a rag in ammonia or any other foul smelling chemical and place it near the nest.
This will result in them being extremely uncomfortable and get them to move on. Make sure that whatever chemical you choose is safe for you and your family.
Commercial squirrel repellants are available with the choice of eitherchemical or natural ingredients. Simply spray the repellant near holes andanywhere that you find tracks, or evidence of squirrel activity.
Leave a radio as close to the nest as possible with a talk show or something with human voices, but not loud enough to disturb you downstairs.
As it turns out, the squirrel is not a talk-back radio fan, so this should convince the unwelcome rodent that your home is not a suitable nesting site.
Place a trap near where the squirrel frequents either in a corner or near a wall, they tend not go in to traps in open spaces.
There are two types of trap available, traps that just catch them or traps designed to kill them. In some places squirrels are protected, so make sure that you use the trap that complies with the regulations in your area. Bait the trap with peanut butter or nuts.
Once you have caught the squirrel (alive) you can then release it, making sure that you do so at least 10km from your home to stop it finding you again.
The main problem with traps is that if the squirrel has had a litter in an inaccessible area the babies are sadly going to die as they are helpless in the first 6 weeks of their lives.
The better option is if you can wait until you can hear them all moving about and then trap and transport the babies as well.
Seek Professional removal
If you decide to seek professional help, an inspection will take place in your attic or roof to determine just how your unwanted house guest is getting in and out.
Then they will install a one-way door to allow the squirrel to leave the attic, preventing it from re-entering.
Once extraction has been achieved they will then put in preventative measures to ensure that any visiting squirrels will not be able to enter your home again.
How to Prevention Squirrels Entering Your Attic
Once the squirrel has vacated or been trapped, make sure you block and fix the damage they have done.
Be sure to repair all damage with steel, this will prevent further squirrels occupying your attic or roof.
If you have any trees around your house, it is recommended that you prune the branches that are close to the house.
You can also purchase steel baffles that fit on the tree trunks to stop the squirrels climbing the trees around the home. Here is a link for Squirrel Baffles.