Eastern Grey Squirrel

Squirrel

Overview

The eastern grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is the common tree squirrel in the eastern and midwestern United States. When this squirrel eats its way into attics and nests inside structures it can become a very destructive pest even creating a fire hazard by chewing on electrical wires. Grey squirrels can be a host for fleas and other parasities that also feed on man.

Identification

Most individuals are grey or brown in color, a few individuals are black. They have a light underside and a bushy tail. squirrel tracks show four fingers on the front feet and five on the hind feet. They can take a stride as long as two to three feet.

Biology

Grey squirrels hoards food in caches for later recovery. A single squirrel can make more than a thousand different cache locations each year. Squirrels are unique among mammals in that they can descend a tree head-first.

Eastern grey squirrels are most active during the early and late hours of the day. They are not active at night or during the heat of the day. These squirrels do not hibernate during the winter. Predators include dogs, hawks, raccoons, feral cats and snakes.

In the wild grey squirrels can live for more than 10 years. Since they breed twice each year hand have two to six young in a litter, as many as 12 young can be born in a year. A wide selection of foods is eaten including seeds, nuts, fungi and bird feed.

Control

Squirrels are often trapped in cages baited with marshmellow, peanut butter of some other food attractant. Once captured the squirrel must be destroyed on location since it is illegal to transport wildlife and release them in a different location.

Prevention of squirrels entering structures is often achived by pruning back large tree branches that are close to or touch a home.

Squirrels are hosts for fleas that can drop off and infest pets and people living below. If your home is infested with fleas, you will need to remove all nesting squirrels or the infestation will be most difficult or impossible to control.

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