Flying squirrels are small, nocturnal tree squirrels that possess the ability to glide from perch to perch using webbed flaps of skin, which extend along the sides of their bellies between their hands and feet. The omnivorous rodents live in trees and sometimes eat bird eggs and small bugs like moths and beetles in addition to their regular diet of nuts, berries, and fruit.
Flying squirrels are like most wildlife. They spend most of their time searching for food, water, and shelter. Their top priority is food, so if you see flying squirrels in your trees, lawn, attic, or roof, you likely have a good food source nearby. Examples include birdseed in birdfeeders, nuts, grains, berries, mushrooms, flower buds, bugs, and fruit.
While you may only see them on rare occasions, you will likely see signs of their activity. Also, flying squirrels prefer to colonize. Where you find one, there are likely twenty or more nearby.
Signs of Flying Squirrels
When Critter Control experts inspect properties for signs of flying squirrels, they look for the following:
- Chew marks on the roof’s edges, shingles, eaves, soffits, etc.
- Scratch marks on walls, trees, siding, etc.
- Damage to garden crops or flowers
- Sight and smell of droppings
- Noises like chirping and chattering
Flying squirrels will build a nest in your attic if they can. However, they prefer living in holes in trees or birdhouses. They like dense vegetation that allows them to glide from place to place. Flying squirrels are known to live in colonies. Therefore, if you see one, there are probably more. Some groups of squirrels create latrines, meaning they choose one area they will use as a bathroom. The amount of feces and urine in one spot leads to foul odors much quicker than if one squirrel is living there. In addition, squirrel feces can be a host for salmonellosis.
Flying Squirrel Control Methods
Controlling flying squirrels on residential properties is much different than on commercial properties. For example, a squirrel in a chimney is much easier to remove than a squirrel living in a nest inside a gutter outside the 20th floor of an office building. When a squirrel chews through an electrical wire at your residence, your home is affected. When they chew the electrical wires of a business, the consequences can affect every office in the building and possibly on the street.
Flying squirrel control is best done by wildlife experts who understand their habits and any laws that apply to removal. Flying squirrels are generally skittish and want to avoid conflict. Deterrents can be effective. In the case of flying squirrels, motion-detecting sprinkling systems are a great deterrent. If squirrels inhabit your attic or shed, place a radio inside and let it play all day and night. The noise might scare the squirrels, and they will move on.
Most flying squirrels are not protected and can be trapped, but you must use the correct bait and trapping system. Trapping flying squirrels can take weeks or months, depending on how many colonize your property. Trapping is followed by releasing the squirrel on your property and reuniting them with their young if any were found in a nest. In most states, transporting and relocating a squirrel is illegal due to the potential spread of disease. For this reason, exclusion methods are a must for controlling activity.
An exclusion means preventing an animal from entering your home and making your property unattractive. Examples include removing birdfeeders filled with seeds, You can add a squirrel barrier to your bird feeder to keep them out, but you will still need to keep the ground below the feeder clean. Another exclusion technique is to install roof and tree barriers to prevent climbing and maintaining your lawn. In addition, seal all holes and cracks big enough for flying squirrels to enter your home, repair broken windows and doors, and secure chimney and vent openings with wire mesh or a cap.
Keep tree branches pruned so they do not make it easy for squirrels to jump onto your roof. Another trick is to place PVC pipe over outdoor electrical wires. When a squirrel tries to run across, it will spin and the squirrel will fall off. This must be done by a professional, either from the electrical company or a wildlife pro, to ensure safety for everyone.
Flying squirrel removal can be dangerous. Squirrels are known to carry lice, fleas, and ticks that carry bacterial infections they can give to you. For example, deer ticks carry the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria that lead to Lyme disease. Also, squirrels may bite or scratch if they feel threatened, especially if they have recently given birth.
It is always best to call a wildlife control professional who can complete the job quickly and ensure safety for you and the flying squirrel.
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