Tag Archives: squirrel damage

Neighbor Vs. Neighbor in Squirrel Issue

Squirrel (9)Recently, neighbors in a Lincoln County, Maine area are suing a woman for feeding wildlife.  They have been trying to get her to stop feeding squirrels and chipmunks, because they say the wild animals she attracts to her home are getting into their homes and yards and causing costly damage.  One neighbor is quoted as saying, “The chipmunks and the red squirrels are getting into my house and destroying my furniture every winter.”  Others claim mice, rats and skunks are also attracted to the area, because of her efforts to feed wildlife.

It’s easy to see both sides of this legal issue.  Feeding birds, squirrels and chipmunks seems a perfectly normal and humane thing to do!  It’s fun to watch squirrels chomping on seeds and nuts, or chipmunks stuffing their cheeks full of food.  People like to watch these animals and don’t see the harm in helping them get through the winter.

On the other hand, deliberately attracting wildlife to your yard affects everyone around you.  It can range from simple annoyance at cleaning up dropped seeds or nut shells to having squirrels nesting in your chimney, wall or attic because your neighbor likes to feed the squirrels.  Squirrels can cause a great deal of costly damage to a home, chewing on electrical wiring, soiling and destroying insulation, infesting the area with mites or other bugs, and attracting further wildlife, like mice, rats, raccoons, skunks or snakes.

Most wildlife protection agencies agree that feeding wild animals can actually end up harming them, by making them less capable or willing to seek out their natural food sources. Their diets change, making them weaker or sick.  And, they become less afraid of humans, which endangers both them and people.

Squirrel on the Roof

Squirrel (5)           My father, dressed in his suit, stood on the desk in his home office, barking at the ceiling in the hopes of scaring away a squirrel on the roof.  My father is a tall, stately man, well-traveled, speaks several languages, and easily converses with industry leaders and heads of state.  So, it was surreal to watch this calm, thoughtful, knowledgeable man lose his cool completely and bark at the ceiling.

The squirrel on the roof had become increasingly bold over the previous weeks.  In the beginning, my nature-loving family enjoyed watching the antics of this squirrel jumping onto the roof from the nearby trees, sweetly gnawing on the seed and nuts we left out for it, and grinning up at the ceiling when we’d hear the little pitter patter of its tiny feet.

In the end, that squirrel on the roof drove us all mad.  Around five in the morning, I could hear it running around above my bedroom.  My mother would find squirrel droppings and shell hulls scattered around the front porch, dropped from the roof.  And, my father, who did so much of his work from his office at home, was constantly interrupted by the sound of the squirrel chewing whatever it was chewing in the attic space right over the office.

We finally stopped feeding it, and tried chasing it away when we saw it in the trees or running around the yard.  My parents had me clean out the rain gutters while they searched for holes in the roof or attic.  We would think it was gone, and then it would come back within a day or two, finding some new way into the house.  Mom was afraid it was a female squirrel building a nest for squirrel babies.

We tried everything we could think of, but that squirrel kept coming back.  The squirrel would run around on the roof, the squirrel would chew things in the attic, and we could not get rid of that stupid squirrel!

Which is why, one day when my father was preparing for a very important meeting, he finally snapped when a tiny little squirrel foot broke right through the dry wall on the ceiling.  Little bits of ceiling rained down on his laptop.  And, my stoic father jumped up on his desk and barked at the ceiling.

Mom made a phone call for help.  Not for Dad’s mental state, but help to remove the squirrel from the roof and seal up the attic.  Dad has never barked at the ceiling again.

Squirrel Infestation

get rid of squirrels

One or two squirrels in the attic or chimney?  Sure, that’s a problem.  People try to catch them or chase them out on their own, and end up screeching and running with their arms doing the windmill thing when the squirrel understandably freaks out and tries to get away from these huge screaming humans.  Even worse are the times people don’t even know there’s a squirrel or two in their house or building until it’s too late.  The squirrel’s already nested in amongst their holiday decorations, or chewed through the cardboard box that held little Jimmy’s baby clothes, or gnawed through the wiring and almost caused a fire.

Yeah, one or two squirrels are bad enough.

Try forty or fifty.  That’s a downright squirrel infestation.  Can you imagine what kind of damage that many squirrels will do to your property?  Usually, the ground-dwelling squirrels live in colonies that large.  The tree-dwelling squirrels are a little more solitary.  But, the ground-dwelling ones cause just as much damage.  They’ll burrow throughout the lawn, chew on anything they can find (try garden hoses, sprinkler systems, planters, etc.), and eat their way through gardens and flower beds.  They’ll get into the house or other outbuildings and keep their teeth the right size by gnawing through walls, wiring, boxes and belongings.  Imagine nests of blind baby squirrels wriggling around in the walls, crawlspace or basement.  Imagine pulling out a box of old family pictures and dumping out mounds of rotting nuts.  Imagine the stench of several squirrels, dead in the wall behind your bedroom, kitchen or living room.

Many people don’t have to imagine it.  They’re living with the frustration right now.  Squirrels can infest apartments, condos, mobile homes, golf courses, houses owned by multi-millionaires, businesses, warehouses, barns.  They’re adorable and fun to watch, no doubt.  Watching them play outside in their natural habitat is one thing.  Dealing with the stench, the noise, the damage, the nuisance . . . well, that’s something else.

Now, a lot of people figure they can handle a squirrel infestation themselves.  They go on-line and study up and think they’re experts.  We get a lot of calls from people who have learned the hard way that they just don’t understand how to get rid of squirrels for good.  They either don’t get them all, or end up sealing some inside to die in the walls or chimney or attic, or they just get overwhelmed with frustration.  We understand.  That’s why we’re here.  We’re equipped with experience and knowledge to seek them out and seal them out of your property, we can clean and repair the messes and damage, and we have the equipment and expertise to take care of your squirrel infestation once and for all.  It’s what we do, and we’re good at it.  Call Allstate Animal Control today.

Squirrel Removal From Chimney

get rid of squirrels

Don’t ever take advice from your friends on squirrel removal from your chimney, unless the advice is to call a wildlife trapper.  Getting a squirrel removed out of a chimney is not as easy as my best friend said it would be, and I swear the guy just wanted to see if I’d actually listen to him.  All I learned is NEVER to listen to him.

Squirrel waiting to get inside your chimney.
(Artwork by Sharon Davis. Contact us for her contact info.)

I had an awesome little condo that’s close to my work, and since it was nicer than any of my friends’ places, they would all come and hang out here.  In fact, I didn’t even know I had a squirrel in the chimney until my best friend woke up on my couch facing the fireplace and saw the squirrel just staring at him.  The squirrel took off back up the chimney.  That’s the morning he gave me the terrible advice.

He told me to make sure the glass doors in front of the fireplace were shut tight so the squirrel couldn’t get out.  Then, for two or three days, put out some salty snacks where he could reach them.  Salted peanuts, chips, pretzels, that sort of thing.  After a couple of days, the squirrel will get really thirsty, so that’s when you give it a water dish with 50% water and 50% vodka.  Get it nice and drunk, and then you can grab it and toss it outside.

I was kind of an idiot back then, so I took him seriously.  He was kind of an idiot, too, so he might have actually been serious when he gave me the advice on removing a squirrel from the chimney.  For three days, I’d open the glass fireplace doors just enough to shove in another salty snack, and then shut it up tight.  The snacks would disappear by the end of the day.  I only saw the squirrel once.  It was sitting next to the food dish gobbling up some peanuts.  As soon as it saw me, it ran back up the chimney.

On day four, I poured water and vodka into a small bowl and put it in the fireplace.  My friend came over to watch to see if it would work. For hours, we hung out in the front room, gaming and waiting to see if the squirrel would come down for a drink.  It never did.  It finally occurred to me that the squirrel hadn’t gotten in my chimney through the glass doors.  It had to have crawled down inside from the roof, and I hadn’t even thought of closing the flue.  That means, for days, it’s been going back outside after eating salty snacks and drinking wherever squirrels drink.  I hadn’t made it thirsty enough to get drunk on the vodka mixture I’d provided.  I’d only made sure the squirrel knew it could return to my house day after day for food.  As I said, I was an idiot back then.

Despite my friend’s pleading, I wasn’t about to repeat the experiment with the flue closed.  I didn’t want to get a squirrel bite as I reached up the chimney to close the flue, so I finally made a good decision and called a professional for squirrel removal from my chimney.  They came, removed the squirrel from the chimney, and my life went back to normal.  Well, as normal as life can be when you’re an idiot with an idiot friend.

Squirrel Control

get rid of squirrels

I watched, horrified, as the guy who was the squirrel control expert, pulled the cover off of our ceiling fan.

Over the last few weeks, I’d noticed an odd smell in the house, and I just couldn’t locate the source no matter how often I went through the house sniffing and seeking.  The fan was behind a vent-like cover that pulled warm air up and out of the ceiling and out of the house.  Then, the fleas came.

Now, I keep a very clean home.  As my children grew up, they always complained about my strict rules, making them clean up their rooms, pick up toys, and help me keep the house nice and tidy.  I wasn’t over the top about it, but it was important to me, and it kept my children as healthy as children can be.  Sure, they complained about it while growing up, but I have noticed that each and every one of them, with the exception of my youngest, keeps a neat and orderly home.  My youngest rebelled a bit, and doesn’t care as much about clutter in her home, but she’s a happy and successful woman, so I try not to worry too much about it when I go to visit.

So, you can imagine how horrified I was to have first a mysterious smell, and then fleas.  Fleas!  In my home!  That just wouldn’t do at all.  First, I had an insect control company come out to fumigate, but the gentleman who came suggested that I might look for the root of the problem first, before they got rid of the fleas.  So, I called the animal control company he suggested, and my squirrel control expert arrived.  He had listened to my explanations over the phone, and was certain that there was some wild animal in my ceiling, and I would most likely need squirrel control services, given the time of year and the location of my home.

I honestly didn’t care about the time of year or the number of trees surrounding my home.  I just wanted whatever it was gone.  Out of my house.  Then, I could get rid of the fleas and go back to having a beautifully clean home.

So, when he pulled back the vent covering the ceiling fan, I could not believe the amount of nesting materials that fell down around his ears.  I was horrified and fascinated all at the same time.  He had been right.  Squirrel control was needed, because it was a nest of baby squirrels.  Mama squirrel was running around up there somewhere still, probably mad as heck.  He got rid of the squirrel nest, being careful with the babies, and used his squirrel control expertise to trap mama squirrel.  Once that was done, I got the fumigators out to my house, got rid of the fleas, and then went in and sterilized my entire home, hoping I’d never have to deal with squirrel control again.