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Squirrels in Ohio – Information and Facts

Squirrels of Ohio

It is said that at one time, a squirrel could travel across Ohio from tree to tree without touching the ground. Although this feet might not be possible now, we still have an abundance of squirrels in Ohio. Most of our squirrels are grey squirrel species.

In Cleveland, Ohio, and other notable areas, like Kent, Orange, and Wooster, Ohio, there is a large presence of black squirrels. Black squirrels are a variety of the grey squirrel.

Black Squirrels

There is a story of an employee at Kent State University gathering black squirrels from Canada and releasing them on campus. Because of this reintroduction, black squirrels have repopulated parts of northeast Ohio. The entire population of black squirrels is not due to this Kent State University experiment.

The truth is that before Europeans settled in America, black squirrels were the majority. Their black pigmentation, a mutated gene, helped them camouflage themselves into the deep, old-growth forests that once existed in America. Nowadays, this habitat is pretty non-existent. Black squirrels dominate in the northern regions, where their black fur holds in more heat than the lighter grey varieties of squirrels.

Grey Squirrel

The native grey squirrel is the most dominant species in America. It is prolific and adaptable. The species has even spread to Europe, where they are considered invasive. Grey squirrels make nests in tree crotches with dry leaves and twigs. They also nest inside attics and wall voids. Grey squirrels are most active early in the morning and at twilight. They are less active during the heat of the day.

Grey squirrels have a lot of interesting qualities about them. They are one of the only mammals capable of descending trees face first. They store their food in multiple small caches. One grey squirrel can hide food in over 1000 locations in one year. Grey squirrels have excellent memory.

Grey squirrels can even be deceptive. If they feel like they are being watched, they will go through the process of making a cache, but they seal it up with the food still in their mouth. Not many people see animals as living, thinking organisms. Grey squirrels prove that animals think.

Red Squirrels

Red squirrels mainly feed on seeds of conifers. They do not bury their food in caches but store conifer seeds in piles in hollow wood. Storage piles can be up to 30 feet wide and 1.5 feet high!

Flying Squirrels

Flying squirrels are nocturnal. Unlike other squirrels, they are omnivores; they hunt insects and even other rodents. They have been known to fall down chimneys if not properly screened.

Fox Squirrels

Fox squirrels are Ohio’s largest squirrel. They are not native to the region but moved into the territory when deforestation became prominent. They do not like thick wooded lots. Fox squirrels spend more time on the ground than other squirrels. They are found primarily in western Ohio, where small agricultural lots break up forested land. They are found in older suburbs with tall shade trees and little undergrowth.

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How To Get Rid Of Squirrels In Your Attic

Inspection and Identification

To get rid of squirrels inside your attic, you must first identify the problem as squirrels. Squirrels are heard scurrying through your walls in the morning. At night, they are heard gnawing wood to get further inside. Their baseball-sized entry holes are found primarily in soffit returns and behind gutters. Paper towels may be stuffed in potential entry points to evaluate which holes are currently being used. Anything larger than a 4″ squared hole is not used by squirrels. This is because a raccoon can enter this sized hole. And raccoons, of course, are predators to juvenile squirrels.

Where Squirrels Enter Homes

  • First, look up to the junction where the dormer roof meets the main roof. This is a real soft spot for wildlife entry.
  • Squirrels gnaw their way through the fascia board behind gutters to access the attic. A drip edge should be underneath the bottom row of shingles leading behind the gutter. When the drip edge is absent, squirrels gnaw between the plywood and the fascia board.
  • Gable vents are located in attic spaces opposite the roof. Roof vents are vents cut through the upper portions of a roof. Gable vents allow cool air to enter, while roof vents exhaust hot air. Wildlife busts through deteriorated screens of these vents. Attic fans are the same way.
  • Get yourself a chimney cap if you do not already have one. Squirrels are not the only wildlife that will go down there. Everything you do not want in your house can get in through the chimney.
  • Tree squirrels also tight rope walk on utility lines. Plastic tubes on non-electrical service wires may block their pathway.

Squirrel Sounds

Squirrels make a variety of sounds:

  • They bark warnings.
  • They squeal when hurt.
  • Churrs express anger.

Most people hear the scampering of their feet on the attic floor. Most Lakewood, OH, homes have walk-up attics. Newer homes don’t usually have an attic floor. This is because 2″ x 6″ lumber for joists has been exchanged for 2″ x 4″ lumber. Most newer homes in Rocky River and Westlake, Ohio, have 2″ x 4″ construction. What a lot of the newer homes do have, though, are overhangs for soffit ventilation. Squirrels make noise in the soffits when most people get ready in the mornings. It can sound like something is in your walls because the soffits sit lower than the ceiling.

Other Suspect Sounds

Just because you hear noises in the walls or ceiling does not mean you have a squirrel in your house. It could be a tree branch rubbing against the home in the wind. It can also just be a mouse. Never underestimate the sound that a mouse can make through drywall. Their nighttime gnawing on your wall studs makes it seem like something much larger is on the other side. Most calls we receive for nighttime noises in walls end up being mice. Other wildlife noises coming from the attic at night could be bats, raccoons, or flying squirrels. Tree squirrels will be most active in the morning. If you hear noises coming from your attic just after sunrise, you most likely have a tree squirrel infestation.

Main Dangers Of A Squirrel Infestation

  • Damage to wires (home and vehicle) through gnawing.
  • Problems with parasites- Secondary infestations of fleas can occur, even if you have no pets!
  • Carriers of disease- Dropping of flying squirrels can carry Murine Typhus.

Squirrel Pests of Ohio

Grey, red, fox and flying squirrels reside in Northeast Ohio. Black squirrels are a color variation of the grey squirrel. While the grey squirrel is notorious for entering homes, any one of the four may do so.

  • Fox squirrels are larger and mainly stay in their tree dreys over winter.
  • Red squirrels are less common due to their diet of conifer seeds. They usually find tree cavities to overwinter in.
  • Flying squirrel activity is not easy for a homeowner to recognize. Their nocturnal habits often go unnoticed. They also enter much smaller gaps than their cousins. Most flying squirrel activity is noticed in late fall.
  • Grey squirrels are territorial, aggressive, and adaptable creatures. They are most likely to become the troublemakers out of this group.

Squirrel Trapping Service

  • Start by installing a one-way door, positive set over the entry hole. A trap should be attached to it. That way, any squirrel inside will be secured for safe removal.
  • Second, set traps outside adjacent to the entry hole. By doing so, any squirrels blocked out of the nest will be trapped.
  • For prevention, prune tree branches 6-10 feet away from the home.
  • Squirrels blocked out of their nest can cause much damage when trying to get back inside. This is especially true when a mother is separated from her young. Red and flying squirrels are less likely to cause any damage when trying to chew their way back inside. They are simply not strong enough. Fox and grey squirrels, on the other hand, can chew and claw their way back into a structure. Seal all other potential entry points in conjunction with trapping. For instance, squirrels will go right down the chimney if it’s not capped. Then they get inside your basement.

How Many Squirrels Can I Expect To Catch?

Squirrel nests inside homes are rare during the summer due to excessive high heat in attics. Depending on the time of year, only one female nest may be inside your home. On average, 5-6 squirrels are nesting inside during the winter months.

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