Squirrels In Your Loft?
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Squirrels In Attics and Lofts – FACTS:
What Common Ways Do Squirrels Get Onto Your Roof?
Overhanging tree branches and climbing plants are the most common access routes used by squirrels wanting to get onto and finally into your roof voids.
Next in line for favored climbing opportunities are walls with highly textured surfaces. Surprisingly, most brick-built properties fall into this category, with those constructed with stone or rendered smoothly proving more difficult for squirrels to scale easily.
Finally, it is cables like those for satellite dishes, aerials, and security lighting that can prove to be easiest to climb. even overhead power cables have been seen to be a reliable route onto your roof.
Are Your Squirrels Coming From A Neighbours Roof?
If you live in a terraced or semi-detached property it could be that the entry point is on your neighbour’s property. If this is the case, you can proof your roof to make your neighbour’s roof more inviting!
This is not an ideal situation to be in, but protecting your property needs to be a priority in cases where a neighbour is unwilling to help or just lacks the financial and physical capacity to help
Why Did Squirrels Choose Your Property?
Buildings with existing gaps and holes, in and around the roof that the squirrels can easily enlarge will always be preferable. Homes with undulating tiles with high ridges and more significant gaps for the squirrels to squeeze through seem to be more at risk of infestation.
Properties that are older, also appear to be preferred, for a couple of reasons. Firstly not all loft hatches in older properties are easy to fit through, so the squirrels are rarely disturbed.
Secondly, timber is the primary material used for fascia and soffit boards. Timber is rarely maintained as it should be and rotting wood is easy to gnaw through.
Finally, grey squirrels quickly learn that nesting on a ceiling, heated from below by modern central heating and insulated above with modern loft insulation means a warm comfy place to live throughout the harsh winter months. Perfect!
What Do Squirrels Drink and Eat?
A good supply of fresh drinking water is an essential resource that squirrels will value. Gutters that have not been appropriately maintained quickly fill with moss and leaves that act as a substrate for plants to grow, trapping water in small pools, ideal for drinking.
Food is also usually close at hand. An increasing number of people find it all too convenient to buy bird foods online or from the local store to hang on bird tables and in trees.
For a squirrel, this is a dream come true. They merely collect and store food. Their territory can span many different gardens, and will always lead them to a reliable and artificial source of food.
The worst-case scenario is where you have stored chocolate Christmas decorations or unwanted Easter eggs in the loft! An effortless meal.
How Do You Get Rid Of Squirrels In Your Attic?
Exclusion is very often the simplest, and by default, the most humane form of control.
The permanency of this will depend on the skill and experience of the contractor chosen to carry out the work, and we have seen some feeble and somewhat temporary attempts at proofing.
What Are The Best Squirrel Traps?
Squirrel traps come in a number of forms that include: the cage or the break-neck. The cage trap simply captures the squirrel that then needs to be humanely killed. The break-neck trap does exactly what it says.
The challenge is selecting which trap is going to be the right option in each situation.
WARNING: The traps don’t always deploy as expected, so on the rare occasion a squirrel is trapped by a limb or its tail, etc, it will inevitably suffer and this cannot always be avoided. It will also sometimes need to be killed or dispatched by hand!
Killing an animal by hand is not a nice thing to do and can be very unpleasant. If you are going use traps yourself, then you need to understand this.
When buying lethal traps suitable for squirrels, be aware that these devices are extremely powerful. Some of the traps available will shatter the bones in your hands and fingers and even sever fingers if mishandled.
If you decide to try and capture a squirrel in a humane cage trap, make sure it has a robust handle for transporting the animal to a release site. Your fingers are no match for a squirrel! Covering the cage during transit will also help settle the squirrel.
Under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act, once an animal is under the responsibility of a human they have a duty not to cause unnecessary harm. ‘Pests’ like the grey squirrel can be killed in a ‘humane way’, such as a blow to the back of the head or shooting, but drowning or beating the animal to death is illegal.
As professionals, we are required to destroy all captured squirrels and this is usually done with a rifle. Drowning squirrels is illegal and an air pistol is unlikely to be powerful enough to reliably achieve a humane, single-shot kill.
Can You Poison Squirrels?
Only one type of poison exists for legally poisoning squirrels in the UK and is for professional use only. It’s worth noting that poisons can often leave the squirrel dead somewhere inaccessible where it will likely rot and stink.
The horrendous smell of a large dead squirrel will often coincide with maggots falling through light fittings and a plague of blowflies a few weeks later. This is why trapping is a more popular option.
Can You Shoot Squirrels?
The shooting of grey squirrels is something we are equipped to tackle and where required, offer a service that compliments our other methods of control.
Shooting squirrels is a last resort because it is rarely a simple or viable process to ensure this is carried out legally and humanely where the squirrels are within a residential building, public area, or close to public routes of access and roads.
Humane Squirrel Control – The Alternatives
Shooting, trapping, and poisoning grey squirrels have their place, but the very best option is to have the roof proofed to ensure that squirrels cannot enter the loft again. This option is far more costly than poison or trapping, but it is a complete solution that will pay for itself over many years.
The other point to be aware of is the damage already caused to your belongings, wiring, roofing felt, membrane, and insulation. If left unresolved the squirrels can cause you thousands in damage that you will not be insured for.