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  • USA Wildlife Removal Education Guide - How to Keep Squirrels out of your House

How to Keep Squirrels out of your House

Squirrels don’t need an invitation; they’ll gladly come into your house without one. Like other animals, they seek shelter for a variety of reasons: living space, protection and for the females, a place to nest and to birth and nurture their young. It’s not cruel to keep them out. They were here and living off the land for eons prior to human occupation. But they are clever and opportunistic, and when humans unintentionally offer a place to nest they are quick to take advantage of it.

Squirrels are natural tree-dwellers and they are fantastic acrobats, able to leap up to 10 feet in travelling from branch to branch … or branch to roof. They are excellent climbers, able to ascend downspouts and to scamper across utility wires. They can squeeze through relatively small openings that they then enlarge by chewing once they gain access. (Like other rodents, they’ve got to chew continuously to grind down their continuously growing teeth.) So the most fundamental consideration in keeping them out of your house is to keep them at a distance and/or deny them access.

Where trees and bushes are growing close to the house, experts recommend trimming limbs back at least six- to eight feet from the house and if they’re suspended the eaves, at least four feet from the top line. If there are utility poles close to the house, you can put off squirrels from hiking them by girdling the poles with a metal collar a few feet above the ground.

If there are openings in the structure that might provide access to squirrel-habitable areas – attic, basement, crawl-space, fascia – they should be closed, optimally with heavy wire mesh. Be sure that the mesh overlaps the opening by at least a couple of inches so the animals aren’t induced to chew around its edges. Bathroom and dryer vents should be similarly covered, using galvanized hardware cloth.

Repellents can also be effective in getting the animals to keep their distance but remember, these substances can also be offensive to you and yours. And if you want to dissuade the animals from climbing a certain tree or pole, you can coat the surface with a substance like syrup or honey: squirrels don’t like getting their hair sticky.

And if there’s the food outside – kitchen scraps or bird feeders, for example – keep it as far away from the house as you can. As one expert says: “The key to keeping unwanted visitors out is never to invite them in.”

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