Squirrel Facts & Types
Squirrels are a joy to watch and have around, but they can be a nuisance when they work their way inside your attic, fall into your walls, or create a hazard by chewing on your electrical wires or other areas of your home. Understanding their habits is the first step towards co-existing with squirrels. Various types of squirrels have different behavior characteristics so it is good to be familiar with the kinds that might be found around your property.
Habits & Behavior
Like all wildlife, squirrels are mainly looking for three things: food, water and shelter. These three motives are the basis for understanding a squirrel's habits and why they behave the way they do.
The average adult squirrel must eat about a pound of food a week to remain healthy. They are omnivores, so they will eat things such as: birdseed, spring bulbs, tree buds, frogs, small birds, eggs, insects, insect larva, fruits, conifer cones, children that throw sticks at them, and nuts.
Their food is stored in multiple hiding places, otherwise known as caches. It has been suggested that each squirrel has thousands of caches each season, and the good memory to find them again too.
Squirrels are very territorial. If there is something that kills a squirrel more than anything else it is other squirrels. Females that are currently building a nest, called a drey, are the most aggressive. Do not approach squirrels, they have sharp teeth and cannot differentiate fingers from food!
Breeding & Baby Squirrels
Because breeding and gestation periods can vary because of many factors, it is very important that we thoroughly inspect your attic after the squirrels have been excluded from your home. A nest of baby squirrels will not only die, but quickly put your family in a hotel because of the smell of dead squirrels. Typically, a squirrel gestation period is 30 - 44 days.
Below is a photo of a squirrel discovered in an attic by The Skunk Whisperer® taken before and after it went into hiding.
Types Of Squirrels In Oklahoma
The Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger), American Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), Flying Squirrel, and Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), can be troublesome and persistent animals found throughout the state of Oklahoma. The Western Gray Squirrel (Sciurus griseus) and Douglas Squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii) can also be troublesome in the western half of the United States.
There are many other squirrel species, but these are the most common.
Other types of squirrels and squirrel species include the Antelope, Prairie Dog, Marmot, Woodchuck, Chipmunk, Spotted, Grey, Northern Flying, Southern, Arizona Gray, Idaho, Arctic Ground, Franklin, Richardson, Albert's, Fox, Mountain Tree, Rock, Pygmy, White, Albino and Black.
Regardless of the species, you do not want any of them in your house.
Flying squirrels are a common problem in Oklahoma attics. Many people are surprised to learn there are flying squirrels in their area because they are seldom seen during the day. Often it isn't until they hear one thumping around in their attic that they realize what a nuisance they can be.
Flying squirrels present an entirely different problem for homeowners than other kinds of squirrels do. Telltale signs include insulation formed into "peaks", scratching sounds, and dragging movement noises, mostly at night around 2 to 4 in the morning. Other signs include feces they may leave behind that will be molasses like in appearance.
The Fox Squirrel
The Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger) is one of the biggest squirrels in Oklahoma, it can grow up to 24 inches long and weigh up to three pounds. The Fox Squirrel typically has two litters a year. Although their breeding and gestation periods vary because of many factors, the young are usually born between February and April, and then again in August and September. Fox squirrel babies are born without hair, and cannot easily crawl around on their own for approximately eight weeks.
The Eastern Gray Squirrel
The Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) has a body approximately 18 inches long, including its bushy tail. The grays can vary in color, ranging from a light silver gray to an almost pure white, and sometimes even all black. The white belly and reddish tinge can confuse folks as to its proper species. They usually have two litters per year.
The Western Gray Squirrel
The Western Gray Squirrel (Sciurus griseus) can be quite silver in color and is found mainly in the western half of the United States. Its breeding habits are a bit different from the Eastern Gray and Fox varieties. The Western Gray Squirrel only has one breeding season and their young are born between February and June. The babies are born without hair, and cannot easily crawl around on their own for approximately eight weeks.
The western gray squirrel is longer and heavier than his eastern cousin measuring in at 20 inches long.
American Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)
In Oklahoma, the American Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) is a common nuisance around Tulsa and area attics. However, it is not quite as aggressive or territorial as the Eastern Gray variety.
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