Squirrels are a much cuter rodent but still very destructive. Gray, fox, red, and flying squirrels
live in New York. The gray squirrel is a tree squirrel that can be found living well among humans. Squirrel populations are increasing, causing competition for food and shelter, which is one reason you may find a squirrel living in your attic, chimney, gutters, or eaves.
Squirrels may look like they are playing all day, but they are actually collecting and storing food and nesting materials for the winter months. As omnivores, they collect nuts, buds, flowers, grains, fruits, vegetables, bird eggs, insects, mushrooms, smaller rodents, and bark. Burying their collections involves digging holes in your yard, some being decoy holes to trick other squirrels.
Squirrels' teeth grow up to five inches yearly if not kept filed. Squirrels chew on hard materials to prevent their teeth from growing too big and becoming painful. These critters can chew through plastic, vinyl, wood, and metal. They can chew their way from outside your home to inside. Usually, they find existing cracks and holes to gain access to your attic or walls.
Once inside your home, squirrels behave similarly to rats, mice, and raccoons. They build nests inside insulation, pipes, and ducts. They destroy drywall and structural beams. Their behaviors cause structural, fire, water, or health hazards. You may hear them chirping, grunting, running, howling, and playing. You may also smell the foul odor of their feces or notice urine stains on your ceiling or walls.
Squirrels cause outdoor damage by stripping bark from trees, raiding gardens, stealing birdseed, digging holes in the lawn, and scratching and breaking siding and shingles. They even gnaw on power lines, causing outages.
Removing a nuisance squirrel should be done by a professional who understands the New York fur-bearing laws for hunting and trapping and how to obtain the correct permits. Squirrels carry diseases and parasites that can be harmful to humans.