Helpful Information on Squirrels for Homeowners
Believe it or not, there are more than 200 species of squirrel all over the world, and the types that can be found differ widely depending on where you go. In the US alone, there are about a dozen common species of tree squirrels, two distinct kinds of flying squirrels, and several different ground squirrels and chipmunks. This is important for homeowners to know about, because infestations of squirrels can damage your home. When it comes to protecting your home, you’re going to want helpful information on squirrels that are commonly found here in the Greater Seattle Area.
Sometimes known as pine squirrels or chickarees, Douglas squirrels grow up to 14” long. They have red-brown fur on top, and off-white fur below. Additionally, they have superior senses of hearing and sight. Douglas squirrels are a protected species in the state of Washington. Females give birth to one litter per year of four to six offspring in early to midspring. Although weaned after eight weeks, they may stay in their mother’s nest for close to a year after birth. Douglas Squirrels are diurnal animals— they are very active during daylight hours in both trees and on the ground. They’re also highly territorial, and aren’t afraid to make noise about it.
In fact, Douglas squirrels are among the noisiest squirrels overall, using many calls to communicate danger in the forest. Because of this, they can present a real nuisance if one or more decides to nest in your home. They will also dig up bulbs, plants, and seeds from your garden to feed on, and will strip the bark off many trees, using it to build their nests.
Northern Flying Squirrel
The Northern flying squirrel is small relative to other squirrels in the greater Seattle area, growing up to 12” long. It is distinguished by its big, black eyes and long, flat tail, as well as its bi-colored fur—which is brown and gray on the top side, and white below. Like Douglas squirrels, Northern flying squirrels are a protected species in the state of Washington. Females have one litter per year in the summer of two to five offspring, which become independent after three months. Unlike many other squirrels, Northern flying squirrels are nocturnal, and are active after dark all year long.
Northern flying squirrels can be highly problematic for homeowners. Not only are they nocturnal, but they are highly social and nest in groups of up to eight. That means an infestation in your home could cause a lot of noise, especially in the hours after dark. They are also commonly known to enter chimneys and bird houses, where they may eat small birds. Like other squirrels, they also chew on wood and wiring.
Eastern Gray Squirrel
Among the largest squirrels in the greater Seattle area, Eastern gray squirrels are known to grow to 20” in length. They are identifiable by their mostly gray fur, as the name indicates. As the name also suggests, Eastern gray squirrels are an invasive species in our state. They were only introduced to Washington in the early 1900s, and have made competition intense for some native species. Eastern gray squirrels reproduce twice per year, giving birth to litters of two to four in late winter and midsummer. Juveniles become independent after two months.
Due to their success as an invasive species in our environment, Eastern gray squirrels are a common problem for homeowners. They’re omnivorous, and so they will steal food from your garden and bird feeder if they can. They’re also very capable of chewing large holes through wood to get into your attic, where they’ll shred insulation to make a nest. Unfortunately, they also only live 11 to 12 months on average, which means these squirrels are that much more likely to die somewhere inside your house, creating bad odors and other problems. However, Eastern grays squirrels are classified as an invasive species, and aren’t protected under federal or state law. This makes it easier to clear infestations.
Clearing Squirrels from Your Home
If you’re worried about a squirrel infestation, Eastside Exterminators offers our 4-step process for removing squirrels and keeping them out. Our wildlife control experts are licensed by the Washington Fish & Wildlife Commission and are fully licensed pest control operators. And not only can we provide you with helpful information on squirrels, but most other kinds of pests and wildlife you may have to deal with. Call us to learn more about how our family can protect yours with our affordable, highly-specialized services at 425-482-2101.