Invader from the Wild Garden

first_img“Some animal is living in my attic,” the caller said. “I’ve collectedthe droppings — can you tell me what they are?””Bring them over,” I said, and in due course the droppings were delivered.They were about half an inch long, and shorter than rat droppings.”It’s a squirrel living in your house” I said.”Is this a problem?” my visitor asked.Squirrels are interesting creatures of wooded and wild gardens and subdivisions — ifthey stay outside. But inside, they’re hazards.The risks come from squirrels’ endless chewing. They chew holes in soffits and siding,they chew holes in insulation, they chew this and chew that.The main risk comes from chewing electrical wires. They may cause short circuits inhidden places which can cause house fires.Squirrels are also a potential, though uncommon, source of disease.Getting rid of squirrels is a bad enough problem. There are companies in the businessof moving them. I called one.”How about squirrels — are they an important part of your business?” Iasked.”Gray squirrels are always our top species,” the receptionist told me.”As of today (June 17) we made 462 visits for gray squirrel problems this year.Flying squirrels are No. 2. To date, we have removed 189 from houses.”This firm also copes with racoons, possums, bats, snakes and other animals for a fee.If you have squirrels in your house, you can get them out yourself with a little commonsense, capture technique and carpentry.Forget chemicals. There is nothing I’d recommend for this purpose. How about mothballs?They are neither effective not labeled for eliminating squirrels.So, how can you get rid of them?The first thing to do is find the opening. Look around vents and louvers and otherlikely places. Then use a cage trap — set inside — to catch the animal. A trap thatopens at both ends mounted over the hole works great.Use peanut butter on bread crusts and apple slices for bait. After you’ve caught yoursquirrel, set the trap again to catch another. Keep the trap in place for at least a weekafter you catch your last squirrel. Then close the opening.Leave the trap set in the attic for a few more days to catch any squirrels accidentallylocked in.Don’t turn your squirrel loose in the yard — he will chew back into his old residence.He needs to be taken far away. How far? It’s hard to say. Try 10 miles.last_img

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