Squirrels are a common critter in most parts of Ontario and even North America so you’re likely quite used to seeing them run around your neighbourhood. What you may not know, however, is how they spend their nights, when they aren’t running through the trees and across the road in front of you.
Squirrels are pests that – yes – like to build nests for themselves and their families, especially during baby season. While they often create nests high in trees, they’re also inclined to look for ways to get into your home to build their nests. Spaces like your attic, shed, under your porch and in your basement are the perfect draw for squirrels seeking safety and warmth.
What kind of nests do squirrels make?
When you hear the word nest you probably envision the kind of nest that a bird creates. And you’re not entirely off base! Though many people think that squirrels only create nests in underground holes, attic spaces, sheds and basements, they actually do build themselves nests in trees as well. Squirrels will weave together twigs and leaves to build themselves a nest high in the trees, far from most natural predators.
However, these aren’t the nests that are likely to cause you grief. As often as squirrels build their nests in trees, they also like to look for spaces inside of your attic or shed to create their nests. These spaces are typically dark, quiet and out of the way so they are less likely to be detected and disturbed. This is especially likely during squirrel baby season. Keeping their babies safe inside of an attic or shed is often easier than keeping them safe inside of a tree nest.
How to prevent squirrels from nesting in your home
While squirrels are bound to create nests in areas around your property, there are steps you can take to prevent them from actually getting into your home to create their nests.
1. Install vent covers – Animal proof vent covers on all vents are much harder for squirrels to chew through in order to gain access to your attic.
2. Seal cracks around windows – Squirrels can squeeze through very small holes around your windows to get into your attic through the walls.
3. Cover the chimney – Metal mesh screens can prevent squirrels from using your chimney as an access point.
4. Repair holes in the soffit or fascia – Holes in your soffit or fascia are another way that squirrels and other pests may try to access your attic so ensuring that there are no holes can help prevent their entry.
5. Inspect siding for cracks or holes – Many siding materials are weak and susceptible to a squirrel’s strong teeth and claws, so any small crack is an easy way for squirrels to get inside your home.
6. Look for holes in your porch – The space under your porch is likely dark and quiet so makes for another safe space for them to create a nest. Sealing up any holes once you’ve ensured none are living in the space can prevent them from getting comfortable inside.
Risks of DIY nest removal
There are several things you can do to try to remove a squirrel’s nest from your home, however this practice does come with some risks. Squirrels can fight back when defending their nest, so wear the appropriate safety gear like gloves and long sleeves.
If the nest has babies, the typical exclusion measures that you can buy and set up by yourself can lead to the babies being separated from their mothers and left to starve. Ensuring that you clear the entire nest from your home is essential when it comes to pest removal.
When in doubt, call for help
Though you can likely take several steps to prevent or remove a squirrel nest by yourself, if you have any doubts or questions, you can always can a professional pest removal company for advice or support. Especially if you suspect there are babies in the nest, you want to tread carefully. Squirrels can be protective and aggressive critters and can fight back if their safety is being threatened.