What Damage Can Squirrels Do in the Attic?

Last Updated: 22.08.19

 

Squirrels are fun to watch yet they can be very much of a nuisance when they use your attic to nest and breed. Even if you employ the best squirrel trap, these little rodents may still find a way to reach your place. If you’ve noticed unusual things around your house and especially in your attic and you worry about having such unwanted guests, this post might be of help.

We have covered below some of the most important things to know about the damages squirrels can do and how to make sure that’s not your case. Give it a read to keep your place squirrel-proof.

 

Signs of squirrel activity in your attic

The tricky thing about squirrels invading your attic is that you may not actually see any of them exploring it. There are various signs that will help you identify such a problem, though. Think of the area you live in and the squirrel population living there, too. If you know that people in your neighborhood often have squirrel problems, then this might be your start.

Pay attention to unusual noises such as scurrying or scratching noises. If they come from your attic or ceiling, especially in the morning or afternoon, squirrels may be the ones causing them. Inspecting the attic is the best way to know for sure if you have uninvited rodents such as squirrels.

The damages they cause will help you know what you’re dealing with and we will cover them below. However, considering the health risks they pose and the fact that they may scratch and bite, it is best to get professional help such as a wildlife control specialist to check the place and take the appropriate measures to remove them.

Squirrels are avid chewers

Rodents are rodents for a reason and they will chew on many things they can get their teeth on. Equipped with sharp and strong teeth, they will use their physical assets to access hard-to-reach areas, burrow, and get food or build a nest. Reaching your attic may not be that much of an impossible mission when it comes to squirrels.

On their way to your attic or once inside it, these small rodents will chew on various things including wood, wires, and roof beams, just to name a few. Even if the openings left unclosed in your house are tight, a squirrel will use its teeth to widen it in order to move in. Such a rodent needs a hole that is 1-inch wide to be able to get inside a place and making such an entrance is not that much of a challenge for its strong teeth.

The holes they make in the wood will weaken the structure and, if not repaired, will lead to serious damage. Also, these holes are an entrance for other rodents and even birds. Plus, they will allow rainwater to get through, which will only cause more damage.

While chewed wood affects the integrity of a structure, electrical wires that have been affected by a squirrel’s destructive behavior pose a serious safety risk. Squirrels need to chew in order to keep their teeth strong and sharp. If electrical wires happen to be around, they won’t hold back from chewing on them.

Exposed wires can lead to various problems ranging from service interruptions to fires. In some states with a high squirrel population, a great part of house fires is caused by a rodent’s gnawing on the electrical wires.

What’s worst, though, is that they can electrocute the person touching them. Plus, if water gets in your attic and the electrical wires are damaged, you can imagine the outcome. That’s why it is recommended to call for professional help when trying to identify squirrel activity and remove such animals.

Additionally, squirrels won’t refrain from chewing on PVC piping. Since many water lines are made from this material, the damages caused can be huge. And then there’s one more thing. Since they gnaw so much and on so many materials, squirrels living in an attic and their destructive behavior may damage the attic insulation as well.

This may lead to heat loss, which translates into higher heating costs. Not to mention that many people use their attic to store various belongings and things they don’t use anymore. If your attic is now inhabited by squirrels, such things can get damaged as well.

 

Health risks

Besides the signs of activity we’ve mentioned earlier, there are other things squirrels leave behind. Their urine and feces are dangerous because large quantities of them can weaken a wooden structure, moisten the insulation, or reach electrical wires. Plus, urine can lead to mold growth.

The odors are not only unpleasant but they affect the quality of the air you inhale and can affect your health. Touching a squirrel’s droppings should never be done without the proper protective equipment. Just like mice and rats, squirrels can carry various diseases that can be transmitted to humans.

They can be infested with ticks and these pests carry the Lyme disease. If you get bitten or scratched by a squirrel that carries infected ticks, you need to consult a doctor. They also carry lice, mites, and various parasites that can lead to serious health issues. Even if cases of rabies in squirrels are rare, the possibility of them carrying this disease is not excluded.

How to keep squirrels away

To avoid all the trouble squirrels can lead to and minimize your risk of getting diseases, it is best to organize and adjust your home in such a way to discourage squirrels from reaching it. It’s true that you have to consider various aspects and, while some measures are simple, others may require professional help and thus involve additional costs.

Squirrels will reach your place if they find gaps or openings. They can easily squeeze in and even chew on the things they encounter to advance. Make sure all such entrances are covered. If repairs are needed, then take care of them. In case the roof is seriously damaged, you might need a professional to help you replace or repair it.

You might consider getting a chimney cap as well. Such an item will allow the fireplace to vent and will prevent debris and animals from entering. In case there are trees near your house and their branches reach your roof, it is best to cut them as they will allow squirrels to reach your roof.

Taking care of these things may not be enough to keep squirrels away, though. To make sure your house does not attract these rodents, it is ideal to equip your place with a few more things such as squirrel traps and repellents. Electronic devices are quite popular these days.

In case you don’t want to use harmful chemicals, go for motion-sensor lights or water sprinkles that will activate when they sense motion and thus spook the rodents. No matter the methods you use, make sure you don’t get too close to a squirrel or feed one.

Also, don’t remove a squirrel without taking some safety measures. Call a wildlife control specialist to help you with that in order to minimize the risk of getting injured or your health jeopardized.

 

 

 

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