Squirrels in your Living Quarters
Squirrels are natural explorers, constantly on a quest for comfortable quarters and sources of food. So if you’ve left an unscreened window open or a back door ajar, don’t be surprised if you enter a room and find one of your bushy-tailed neighbors checking out your digs. As humans have encroached on their natural habitat, squirrels have accommodated nicely and have become quite comfortable, even thriving in the urban environment. Wild squirrels have been known to accept hand-feeding in three days or less.
Cute and even endearing at a distance, you just don’t want them hanging out where you live. They’re well known to carry a variety of pests such as fleas, ticks, mites and chiggers, all of which easily transfer to pets. You might even find yourself scratching. Moreover, squirrels can be aggressive if challenged or cornered and their claws and teeth can cause painful injuries to a curious cat or small dog. And not least: because squirrels eat constantly, they defecate up to 20 times a day. So if they linger in your living quarters depend on it: you’ll have something to clean up.
Once the squirrel discovers its mistake, it’s probably as anxious to leave as you are to evict it. And that complicates the situation because a scared squirrel can be hard to deal with. First, both of you must stay calm. Very possibly the squirrel will leave on its own if given the opportunity. You can create that opportunity by closing all of your interior doors and potential hiding places like cupboards and drawers, and making sure that there’s an open window or door the animal can use to exit.
Trapping is another tactic. If a humane trap is available, bait it with peanut butter and leave it where the squirrel can get at it. Once you set the trap, take your pets with you and stay away from the house for a couple of hours while nature does its work. Always hungry, the squirrel will be attracted to the bait and once it takes it, the trap closes and the animal is ready for relocation.
The Humane Society recommends that if there’s no trap available, approaching the squirrel slowly, holding a blanket before you so the squirrel doesn’t perceive a human form. When you’re close drop the blanket over the squirrel, roll it up with the squirrel inside and take it outside. Place it on the ground, unroll it, and watch the squirrel scamper away. You’ll both be happier for the outcome.
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