You wouldn’t be wrong to assume that many woodland creatures hibernate during the winter months. While this presumption is correct, you may be surprised to know that certain kinds of squirrels do not hibernate and, instead, seek warmth in other forms. Commonly, these rodents can be found taking up residence in your own home.
Most commonly, you will see ground squirrels along with the tree varieties during the warmer months. However, the ground squirrels hibernate like other animals that live closer to the soil, like bears, groundhogs, and skunks. In contrast, tree squirrels, like the eastern gray and fox squirrels, are active year-round. Some may even breed during the colder months. In preparation for the cold, they store food and fatten themselves. This allows them to stay in a warmer place during bad weather and freezing temperatures.
Tree squirrels spend most of their lives up high in the trees. During warm months, this is where they make their nests. This keeps them safer from predators, thus enabling their survival. This is one of the main reasons that squirrels choose a higher location rather than ending up in your basement or main living areas. The warmth of an unoccupied attic makes for an even more tempting location to wait out Winter.
There are several key things you can do to deter squirrels from making a home out of your storage area. To start, you should remove or properly store all sources that they can easily be accessed to build a nest with. This means anything fluffy or soft should be stored in closed containers that will be difficult to chew through. Also clear your gutters of any leaves, pinecones, and straw. Also make sure there is no food source in the gutters, like acorns or nuts. Be sure to check for any obvious openings to your home, and seal these shut appropriately.
If you suspect that you already have squirrels living in your attic (or anywhere else in your home), you might consider calling in a professional Like Baystate Wildlife. It is best not to try to trap them in the home by sealing off their exits because they can die within the home. This causes a bad stench and a guessing game of locating where the remains are for removal, which often required cutting out pieces of drywall or soffit. Consult with a professional to protect your health and home if you suspect a squirrel might have made its way into your attic. Consult Baystate Wildlife.