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Squirrels

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Squirrel Species In Florida & How They Affect Your Property 

Image of a squirrel on the roof of a home

Squirrel Species Found In Florida 

Nimble, bushy-tailed rodents found all over the Florida are squirrels. They belong to the family of Sciuridae, which includes dogs from the prairie, chipmunks and marmots. In the United States, there are more than 200 species of squirrels. Since there are so many kinds of squirrels, they differ considerably in size.

Florida is home to 3 species: the eastern gray squirrel, the fox squirrel, and the southern flying squirrel. They are a particularly frustrating pest to humans because of their tendency to chew on anything and their determination in getting to locations not meant for their habitation.

By continuously gnawing, squirrels keep their teeth sharp and, since squirrels’ teeth grow continuously, it likewise prevents excessive growth of their teeth.

In addition to sound, smells, and spreading illness, squirrels have been understood to munch on and chew through live power cables, causing electrical shorts on a small or frequently a large scale, and fires from electrical scarcities near trees, dry wood, or other combustible product.1Trusted Source Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission Go To Source

What Do Squirrels Look Like?

Photo of a squirrel in a back yard

Generally speaking, squirrels are tiny rodents with slender bodies, bushy tails and wide eyes. Their fur, in general, is short, fluffy and silky, varying in thickness from species to species. They can be white , gray, yellow , red, brown, or even black, and the color of their fur is also highly variable.

Eastern Gray Squirrels can appear black in the exact same litter with gray ones; they might be totally glossy black or show various gradations between black and gray. Albino squirrels happen sometimes; in some instances where this attribute prevails in the heredity of a regional population, little colonies of albinos might be formed.2Trusted Source Missouri Department of Conservation Go To Source

Fox squirrels have gray and black fur on their backs and orange-colored fur on their stubborn belly. The tail color is cinnamon combined with black. The feet are cinnamon. Fox squirrels got their name from their gray and red fur coat that resemble that of a gray fox.3Trusted Source Missouri Department of Conservation Go To Source

Southern flying squirrels are a grayish brown in color with a white stubborn belly and have a black ring around their big eyes. A furry fold of skin stretches from the wrist of each front leg to the ankle of each rear leg. This fold of skin is likewise known as a patagium and enables the squirrels to fly from tree to tree. 4Trusted Source Texas Parks And Wildlife Go To Source

How Large Are Florida’s Squirrels? 

The eastern gray squirrel is one of the most common squirrels in North America. Gray squirrels are normally 16-20 inches in length, and they can weigh approximately 1.5 pounds. 5Trusted Source Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission Go To Source

The fox squirrel weighs from one to 3 pounds, and exhibit color variations which vary from an darker brown color to gray, and in some instances black. The skull of the fox squirrel has 20 teeth: gray squirrels have 22 teeth. The fox squirrel was called after the fox because of its comparatively plus size and the method it runs.6Trusted Source Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission Go To Source

Southern flying squirrels are smaller sized than the northern flying squirrel with a total length of 198-255 mm and a weight of 46.5-85 grams. 7Trusted Source Virginia DWR Go To Source

What Areas Are Squirrels Attracted To?

Picture of squirrels in their habitat

Squirrels prefer mature hardwood or mixed continuous-area deciduous forests, while suburban and urban areas can also be readily inhabited. In large forested areas, squirrels prefer the most dense populations of trees that provide them with plenty of diverse and available nut trees, such as oak, hickory and walnut.

These squirrels can most often be found near permanent sources of open freshwater in tree-filled areas. Squirrels do need trees with nesting cavities for reproduction and protection, but they adapt easily to various habitats, so they are not found in open grasslands or deserts.

Diseases Carried By Squirrels

Photograph of a squirrel carrying Lyme disease

You run the risk of being bitten or scratched if you deal with a wild squirrel. You do not think that these physical wounds from the troublesome rodents are severe enough to need to go to the hospital; but a squirrel confrontation may require a trip to the clinic,  because there may be underlying risks. These are diseases that can be transferred from squirrels to humans:

  • Leptospirosis– a blood infection caused by the bacteria Leptospira 8Trusted Source Center For Disease Control Go To Source
  • Lyme Disease-is an infection you get from tick bites and is caused by bacteria 9Trusted Source Center For Disease Control Go To Source
  • Rabies– virus that attacks the central nervous system in mammals 10Trusted Source Center For Disease Control Go To Source
  • Tularemia– rare infectious disease that typically attacks the skin, eyes, lymph nodes and lungs 11Trusted Source Center For Disease Control Go To Source

How Can Squirrels Enter The Home?

Image of a squirrel attempting to enter the attic In suburban areas, squirrels are very common and are often found in the yards and homes of humans. Squirrels often find their way into the attics of homes as overwintering rodents, where they build nests and enjoy protection from cold weather. For squirrels, who see trees as both a source of food and shelter, yards with plenty of foliage are attractive.

Squirrels can squeeze through the smallest of holes in the roof, siding, or foundation of your home. If shingles are damaged, the squirrels can rip them apart to create and entry point into your attic. 

Squirrels will readily take up residence in a structure if access to sheltered locations such as eaves and attic crawl spaces is readily available. Gnawing, scratching, and pattering sounds, in early morning or daylight hours, generally indicate their presence.

Covering openings in the roof or easement of the home will make it much more difficult for squirrels to find a way in. 12Trusted Trusted Source Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Go To Source 

Damage Caused By Squirrels

Image of damage to a roof done by a squirrel infestation

Squirrels are thought about as pests when they get in houses and structures to nest; when they rob birdfeeders; when they feed on gardens, trees and landscape plantings; and when they dig holes in gardens and yards to bury and obtain food.

By chewing on everything from roof shingles and attic vents to wood shutters and siding, squirrels enjoy jumping on houses and can cause harm to the exterior of your home. Squirrels can do extensive damage to your house, including chewing into wiring and ripping up insulation for nests, if they succeed in getting inside your walls or attic.

Once on the inside of an attic, squirrels will chew on wiring and even leave feces/urine behind. The exposed wiring can cause a fire in the home and the feces/urine will damage the structure of the home by absorbing into the building materials.13Trusted Source Maine Go To Source

The Trapping & Removal Of Squirrels In The Home

Since squirrels are considered game in many states, it may entail obtaining a special permit to capture the pests.

In addition, while squirrels are not known to be especially aggressive, they might attack if they feel threatened. Contacting a qualified professional is often better than attempting to manage wild animals without the proper expertise or support.

The wildlife experts at Affordable Wildlife Removal are trained to properly and humanely identify the various species of squirrels and manage squirrel removal. Our task is to protect humans, property and wildlife and we do not exterminate squirrels, but we exclude or remove them from your property humanely.

Summary: Squirrels are nimble, bushy-tailed rodents found all over homes and yards in Florida. Squirrels are small rodents covered in fur (typically with tails) that seek wooded areas with food water sources to build a nest. Florida is home to three popular types of squirrels and each have different coloring and habits. They’re dangerous to have in the home because they can damage the property and carry infectious diseases. 

They enter homes in seek of shelter to raise their young and can cause damage by chewing and defecating in the attic. Once in the attic, they will tear up insulation and leave feces all over the place.  Removing squirrels can be a tricky task because of how nimble they are, hiring a professional removal service will ensure the elimination of squirrels in the attic.