Squirrels are small, furry mammals in the rodent family known for their big, bushy tails and propensity to store nuts for winter. There are three major varieties of the pests, tree, ground, and flying squirrels, though common species differ regionally. In general, these pests range from 12 to 25 inches in length and have short fur in a variety of colors such as black, brown, gray, and red. Some have stripes, light-colored fur on their bellies, or even change their coats depending on the season.
Identifying squirrels is easy with a little knowledge about their habits and habitats. Tree-dwelling species build their nests in elevated areas like tree hollows, attics, and wall voids. Black, gray, red, and fox squirrels are all common in the United States. On the other hand, marmots, chipmunks, prairie dogs, and other ground squirrels burrow beneath yards. Some lack a large, fluffy tail, making them look a little like gophers, moles, or voles. However, ground squirrels spend more time aboveground than other tunneling pests. Finally, flying squirrels use their parachute-like extra skin to glide from tree to tree.
As members of the rodent family, squirrels have ever-growing teeth that need to be worn down through constant gnawing. Tree squirrels are notorious for chewing objects like power lines, fascia boards, and trash cans, especially when trying to get indoors or reach food. Flying squirrels terrorize more desirable wildlife when they monopolize feeders and nest in birdhouses. In addition, ground squirrel tunnels that collapse may trip homeowners or damage lawn equipment. As these pests also carry diseases transmissible to humans, homeowners should call Critter Control for safe removal.