Common Questions About Squirrels - Critter Control Tampa

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A squirrel in a tree

Squirrels are immediately identifiable via their bushy tails, darting movements, and skillful climbing. They’re found all over throughout the greater Tampa area and indeed throughout Florida and the United States. And though they can be quite cute at times, squirrels are often a nuisance that can do damage to your yard, raid your birdfeeder, and make a mess in your attic.

But what are squirrels, really? What do they eat, and where do they sleep? As the experts at squirrel removal in Tampa, Critter Control of Tampa has the answers to the common squirrel questions that you may have.

Are squirrels rodents?

Yes, squirrels are technically rodents. As a member of the order Rodentia, squirrels share the same biological classification order as rats, mice, capybaras, beavers, and more. The main trait of rodents is one single pair of incisors—in both the upper and lower jaws—that continuously grow and result in rodents’ trademark gnawing behavior to keep them in check.

However, while squirrels and rats share their order, their biological class immediately diverges when you drill down to family, where squirrels are a member of Sciuridae, and rats are a member of Muridae. But what does this mean? Functionally, it means that squirrels and rats share similarities but are ultimately different animals.   

What do squirrels eat?

A squirrel eating acorns

Squirrels are commonly depicted as connoisseurs of nuts—primarily acorns—but also including everything from walnuts to almonds. While it is true that squirrels are more than happy to gather and eat nuts, squirrels will actually eat a wide variety of foods, including:

  • Nuts
  • Fruits
  • Insects
  • Veggies
  • Human food
  • And more

Scavengers by nature, squirrels are so proficient at creating food stashes for the future that “squirreling something away” is a common idiom. In areas with higher populations of humans, squirrels tend to become quite bold in order to take advantage of the often-plentiful food waste. Likewise, if there’s food available in your home or your yard, squirrels are more than willing to take residence in your attic to follow the snacks.

What does squirrel poop look like?

Squirrel poop and squirrel droppings

Squirrel poop is one of the best ways of identifying the presence of squirrels on your property or in your house. Brown in color when fresh and a lighter color as time goes on, squirrel poop is in the shape of an oblong pellet. Squirrel poop is generally less than half an inch in length and a few centimeters in width, and when you find a little squirrel feces, you’ll be likely to find more—squirrels are efficient defecators.

Squirrel poop or rat poop?

Squirrel poop and rat poop are often misidentified for each other. Though difficult to tell apart without a reference for comparison, squirrel poop is slightly less pointy than rat poop, and it tends to be smaller and lighter in color. Not so keen on doing an in-depth poop analysis? Give us a call and we can identify for you.

Where do squirrels sleep?

A squirrel sleeping in a tree

Squirrels sleep in their nests. Squirrel nests are called dreys, and are created from twigs, leaves, and other scavenged materials. Most squirrel nests are found in secure places in trees, such as at the forks of branches or within a tree hollow. In a pinch, squirrels can be find sleeping on branches, roofs, or elsewhere that they can catch a few winks. Different squirrels prefer slightly different drey locations.

Unfortunately, squirrels are more than willing to build their dreys in your attic. The reasons they could do so are numerous—attics are comparatively warm, and the presence of food and water is also a potential driving factor. If you suspect squirrels are taking up residence in your residence, be on the lookout for:

  • Squeaking, scratching, or other odd noises above you
  • Squirrel droppings in your attic, your garage, or near your home
  • Dusty, muddy, or snowy footprints
  • Water damage accompanied by an unpleasant smell

How to get rid of squirrels

Most of the time, squirrels are content with climbing your trees at a hundred miles an hour, sprinting in front of your car when you’re driving in your neighborhood, fighting with other squirrels, and squirreling away all the acorns they can find. Unfortunately, there are times when squirrels make a mess and cause damage—either to your yard, garden, or attic.

If you want to deter squirrels on your property, there are a variety of DIY solutions and techniques you can try. There’s always the tried-and-true classic methods of ensuring you aren’t leaving out food and patching up points of entry into your property, as well as a selection of traps and repellent options.

Unfortunately, DIY pest control often doesn’t work well. That’s where Critter Control of Tampa comes in. With affordable squirrel control and removal options near you, our experienced pest and wildlife professionals can get rid of squirrels on your property and in your attic—and keep them away. Contact us online for a quote, or simply give us a call today!

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