It’s a nightmarish situation that every homeowner dreads. You’re sitting at home, enjoying a relaxing evening with your family, when you hear a faint scratching noise above your head. The noise is coming from your attic, and there is no mistaking the source. There’s a squirrel running loose in your attic. The steps you take to rid yourself of this pesky intruder mean all the difference between spending days trying to get rid of it, and getting back to enjoying your squirrel-free home.
The first step in removing the squirrel from your attic is to determine whether the sound you’re hearing is actually a squirrel and not another pest, such as a raccoon, skunk or rat. Possums, raccoons, rats, skunks and bats are nocturnal, so if you’re hearing nighttime noises, it’s probably not a squirrel. Squirrels are most active during the day, and you will most likely hear scampering and scratching during daylight hours. Squirrels will make a lot of noise as they build nests (yes, they may be planning to expand their family in your attic), hide nuts and leave and return to bring food.
Many people wonder why a squirrel would choose their home as their new abode. Squirrels produce a litter twice yearly, usually in February and August. Female squirrels seek high places that are safe from predators that may harm their young. For this reason, they may chew a hole through the exterior of your home to gain entry to your attic. It is important to catch the single squirrel before she gives birth to her litter, as you may have a much larger problem on your hands.
Squirrels are excellent climbers, and have strong teeth that can easily chew through wood and siding. If there are large trees directly across from your attic, this makes it easier for the squirrels to gain access to your home. Cracks in the foundation of your home and roof also make an inviting entryway for these pests.
Now that we’ve determined that your unwelcome guest is indeed a squirrel, the next step is to find a humane method of getting rid of your burdensome beast. It is important to rid your home of this unwelcome guest as soon as possible. Squirrels have been known to chew through wires, destroy insulation and bring outside debris and insects into your home.
These small electronic devices deliver a high-decibel, piercing sound that only small rodents can hear. It is extremely annoying, and makes the squirrel’s new habitat unbearable. Squirrels will usually leave on their own to escape the noise, but can become acclimated to it after constant exposure. It’s important to use multiple devices, as attics are usually large and the sound might not be overwhelming enough to deter the critters from their new home.
If you’re brave enough to venture a trip into your newly-invested attic, placing a series of strobe lights may be a good tactic to scare the squirrels away. The pulsating, flashing light will startle the animal, leading it to flee your residence. This is a low-tech, inexpensive way to send those critters packing and reclaim your attic.
The majority of people who want to get rid of squirrels in the attic use live traps to catch and release the animals. Live traps bait the squirrel into them with a strong scent of food, and once inside, the squirrel is caught and the trap snaps shut. You will have to check often to see if your animal has been trapped. At that point, you can remove the squirrel and release it into its natural habitat, far away from your home. There is one major drawback to live trapping, however. The majority of intruder squirrels are female squirrels looking to give birth. If you do happen to trap the mother squirrel, you may leave behind several baby squirrels behind. Without their mother, they may starve to death within days, and you will be left with a decaying odor of squirrel bodies. This is also an inhumane way of getting rid of squirrels in your attic.
Whatever method you choose to get rid of squirrels in your attic, the most important thing is to prevent them from entering in the first place. By securing holes in your roof and trimming nearby trees, you can reduce the chances of having to deal with this pesky problem. There are many ways to get rid of a squirrel in your attic and get back to enjoying your rodent-free home.