Gray squirrels, Sciurus carolinensis, are rodents in the family Sciuridae. Most gray squirrels are predominantly brownish-gray in color, but wide color variations are possible. We've seen melanistic (jet black) squirrels, brown squirrels, albino squirrels, and pretty much everything in between.
Other than color, the easiest way to identify a gray squirrels is by its tail. Gray squirrels have long, bushy tails that are almost as long as their bodies. They use their tails to help them balance as they run along tree limbs, power lines, the ridges of roofs, and other elevated runways.
As would be expected of a tree-dwelling animal that spends so much time in high places, gray squirrels have excellent balance. This enables them to do things like run along utility lines or leap off overhanging tree branches to get into homes. They also have excellent senses of hearing, smell, touch, taste, and vision. They do come well-equipped for their lifestyle and habitat.
Like many rodents, squirrels produce many offspring, most of whom die in the first year of life. Roughly half of those who survive their first year die during their second year. If they make it past the second year, they have a pretty good chance of living to the ripe old age of eight to ten years old in the wild. Baby squirrels reach reproductive maturity at about a year old. Females usually bear one litter of young in their first year of adulthood, and two litters a year thereafter.
Squirrels may be cute and comical, but they're still rodents; and like all rodents, they can cause damage and be involved in the spread of diseases.
Like rodents in general, gray squirrels have very sharp incisors and very strong jaws and back teeth that they use for cracking nuts. They also use their teeth to gnaw their way into buildings, and they keep on gnawing when they get inside. They gnaw on the building itself, items stored in the attic, and worst of all, electrical wiring. Many fires, electrical outages, and data outages are cause by squirrels gnawing on electrical wiring and data cables.
Squirrels also have strong, sharp claws that they use to climb trees and vertical surfaces. When they get into homes, they use their claws to scratch away at insulation, tear up flexible HVAC ducts, and shred stored clothing into nesting material. They're also hoarders who tend to stash all sorts of things in odd locations. We've found squirrels hoarding jewelry, coins, toys, and even beer cans.
In addition to physical damage from gnawing and scratching, squirrels also create odor problems and health hazards as a result of their urine, droppings, and parasites. Their droppings serve as breeding areas for all sorts of bacterial and fungal organisms, and their parasites can be involved in the transmission of a variety of bacterial and arboviral diseases. Some of the diseases in whose transmission squirrels may be involved include hantavirus, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, Lyme disease, plague, relapsing fever, tick fever, typhus, encephalitis, and possibly others.
First of all, let's get something clear: There's no such thing as a "squirrel exterminator."Squirrels are classified as "nuisance wildlife," not "pests." That means that unlike rats, who can be killed for any reason or no reason at all, squirrels must be treated with a certain amount of respect. They must be trapped, removed from the building, and taken elsewhere to resume their squirrelly lives. If someone tells you that he or she is going to "set out poison" for the squirrels in your attic, that person is a criminal.
At Rid-A-Critter, we're not criminals. We're wildlife management professionals. The way handle squirrel-removal jobs is as follows:
We are licensed and insured to do all the work we do, and we back up all our work with the best warranty in the business.
If you have a squirrel problem and you live in or around the Columbia or Aiken, South Carolina areas, please call us for a no-obligation consultation. We provide humane, non-chemical squirrel-removal services to homes, commercial buildings, schools, and churches throughout our service area.
Here are few pictures of squirrel removal work we've done in the Columbia and Aiken, South Carolina areas.
Squirrel hole in a roof junction in Columbia
Squirrel gnawed hole in the rain gutter in Sumter
Squirrels gnawed they way into the attic extension
Baby squirrel removed from a house in Columbia
Gaps allowed squirrels into an attic in Aiken, SC
DIY squirrel-proofing attempt in Aiken, SC
Squirrel hole in a house in Columbia
Friendly squirrel visiting our office for lunch
Squirrel damage led to water damage at this house
Squirrels recycled a woodpecker hole in Columbia
Baby squirrels on the armrest of Justin's truck
Serious squirrel damage to a house in Aiken
Squirrel got stuck in a PVC pipe and died
Squirrel damage to the roof of a Lexington home
Squirrel hole under the roof flashing in Lexington
DIY squirrel-proofing attempt failed miserably
Rid-A-Critter technician feeding a baby squirrel
A friendly baby squirrel we removed from a home
Squirrel entry point into a house in Lexington
Handyman squirrel-proofing job - FAIL
Tim and Faith with squirrel removed from a home
Squirrels often use vines as ladders to get inside
Squirrel hole in the attic of a house in Columbia
Squirrel gnawed through roof flashing in Columbia
Young squirrel removed from a house in Aiken
Josh with baby squirrels he removed from a home
Squirrel entry behind roof flashing in Columbia
Baby squirrels removed from a house in Aiken
We have the tools and personnel to handle any squirrel control job, so please call us today.