With their big fluffy tails and perky ears, squirrels might seem like they’re too cute to be rodents. In fact, squirrels are part of the scientific order Rodentia, just as rats and mice are. And just like rats and mice, squirrels can cause plenty of damage and mess—especially since squirrels are particularly prone to chewing through things.

While squirrel damage can surely be expensive, it can be prevented and repaired. Keep reading for tips on how to deal with any damage caused by squirrels.

Identifying squirrel damage

The first step in managing squirrel damage is learning how to identify the signs of squirrels and their damage so you can prevent more damage in the future. Squirrels can be found all over the world, with over 200 different species. As their name might suggest, the Eastern gray squirrel is found in eastern regions of the country, however, they can also be found in other regions throughout the United States. On the other hand, the Western gray squirrel is found primary in the West. Whatever the region you live in, it is more likely than not that you have squirrels about. In your yard, there are several signs to look out for when it comes to identifying squirrel damage:

  • Uprooted plants and flowers
  • Eaten nuts or fruits
  • Small, dug up holes

Damaged bird feeders, with chew marks. (Most often squirrels will damage the tray or container with seeds in their attempt to reach the contents of the bird feeder).

While you might think of squirrels as purely outdoor animals, they can also cause problems indoors. The following are signs that a squirrel may have made its way inside your home, and it’s worth keeping in mind that they can commonly be found in spaces like attic or chimney. Keep an eye out for:

  • Chewed wires or damage to vents
  • Scratching, gnawing, or chewing noises
  • A musty smell from urine or sighting droppings
  • Holes in the roof

It’s worth noting that rodents other than squirrels—such as mice and rats—can cause some of these issues. If you suspect any of these rodents and notice damage, it’s often best to call in a professional like Terminix to help you identify and get rid of the pest.

Tips to manage squirrel damage

When it comes to managing outdoor damage caused by squirrels, there are some preventative measures you can take. The first, which might seem obvious, is not to feed any animals, including squirrels that enter your yard, or they’ll keep coming back, looking for food. Similarly, squirrels will often view the contents in the bird feeders as a source of food—even if they’re closed off. That’s why you might find them damaged if you’re dealing with squirrels in your yard. To reduce encounters with the birdfeeder, try bird feed that does not contain sunflower seeds, or pick the sunflower seeds out.

Additionally, since tree squirrels inhabit trees, it’s important to keep any branches that touch, or are within 20 feet of the house, trimmed. This will lessen the likelihood that a squirrel will enter your attic or home and begin to cause damage. Luckily, a professional home repairman or contractor should be able to fix any squirrel damage within your home or on the outside of it once the squirrel has been removed.

If you suspect a squirrel in the attic or that a squirrel has managed to build a nest inside your home, it’s best to contact a professional, like Terminix. Contact a Terminix pest professional to determine whether wildlife services for squirrel control are available in your area