How to Get Rid Of Flying Squirrels
Flying squirrels are nocturnal animals that live primarily in trees. However, at times they will take up residence in an attic or roof cavity. Then they are considered nuisance animals and can pose a health problem as well.
Flying squirrels don't really fly; rather, they glide through the air by using their patagia, the folds of skin that extend from the wrists of the front legs to the ankles of the hind legs. They are capable of gliding up to 135 feet. They eat insects, flowers, moss, lichen, bark, and nuts. They communicate with each other through a series of soft chirps, chuckling sounds, squeaks, and whistles.
You will know when a family of flying squirrels take up residence in your attic by the sounds of scratching, chewing, and little feet running back and forth. You may also notice an offensive odor coming from the attic. They are social creatures and usually live in colonies of up to 20 squirrels. So if you think you have one, it's likely you have a whole tribe.
Flying squirrels living in your attic can pose several problems. Other than the bothersome sounds they make, their droppings are unhealthy and they can chew through wiring that runs through the attic. Not only will this cause electrical issues in the house; it can start a fire as well.
First of all, you will want to positively identify the residents in your attic. Flying squirrels are usually smaller than other types of squirrels. They also live in much larger colonies than do other squirrels. They are identifiable by their tracks, odor, or droppings. After you have made the positive ID, here are some things you can do to get them out of your attic.
Inspect your house for the entry point or points to figure out where the critters are getting inside. Look high up, under the eaves near the roofline. Look for small holes or cracks, as the squirrels can squeeze through very small places.
When you have found all of the points of entry, seal up all of them except for one. Use a steel plate of some sort to cover the holes so that the squirrels can't chew through it and get back in. At the entrance of the one remaining hole, set a live trap. A repeating trap is best because there will likely be more than one flying squirrel.
When the trap is full or no more than a few hours after setting the trap, take the squirrels out into the woods at some distance from your home and let them go. If there are more squirrels, replace the trap, wait a few more hours, then release. Don't leave the squirrels in the trap any longer than necessary unless you put food and water in it for them. There is no need for them to suffer.
Another option that can be used either alone or in conjunction with the trap is a one-way door. This device is placed on the remaining opening and will allow the flying squirrels to exit the attic, but they can't go back in. At this point, you can either let them leave the attic but live in your yard, or you can attach the trap, and catch and release them. Once you are absolutely certain that every last one of the little creatures is out of your attic, you can seal up the last entry hole.
Yes, you could poison the little rascals, but do you really want to? It's likely that they will die inside your attic. All 20 or more of them! Then you will either have to go up there and dispose of their little dead bodies immediately or they will stink up your whole house as they slowly decompose. This is really not an option that you want to use. Shooting the poor little guys isn't worth your trouble, either. Because they eat bugs, they are helpful creatures as long as they aren't living with you.
After you have evicted the attic residents, you will need to clean up. Hopefully, your house will have an inside access to the attic. This will make the cleanup much easier. If not, you will have to make a large enough opening in the outside wall to get inside. You will also need to figure out a way to keep it closed so the squirrels won't try to move back in while you're in there cleaning.
You'll want to sweep, vacuum, or otherwise pick up all the droppings. Then use some type of strong disinfectant to spray over every square inch of the attic to kill all the bacteria that the squirrels left behind. Once cleanup is done, close up the opening that you made to get inside.
Read the How to get rid of squirrels page for helpful information and to learn more about How to Get Rid Of Flying Squirrels
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