Fall is a busy time for squirrels. Here's what they're up to

They're gathering food and looking for den sites.

You may be seeing a lot of them this time of year - jumping, climbing, and scampering.

Fall is a busy time for squirrels. Like the rest of us, they're busy getting ready for winter, and they like to move around.

Bill Dowd, founder and CEO of Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control, says your average city squirrel has a pretty good feel for its stomping grounds, often keeping 7-10 den sites in a given neighbourhood.

"If your home is all secured, those squirrels are going to be spending their time in someone else's attic," Bill says.

GIF - fall squirrels

Graphic created by Cheryl Santa Maria. Image credits: (RT-Images/Sines Design/sduben/Getty Images)


It sounds like you've got a red squirrel problem.

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"The typical black, grey, or eastern grey squirrels do not store food," Bill says, but the American red squirrel - which is smaller and more aggressive, does.

If you find a stash of nuts in your car, attic, or shed, you'll want to deal with it right away, because the nuts can rot, and they can bring in insects and parasites.


While they are cute, you probably don't want squirrels out the winter in your attic. They love to chew through electrical wiring because, like beavers, their teeth never stop growing, lengthening by about 6 cm each year.

Your best bet is to secure your home ahead of fall. That includes checking your eaves for evidence of holes or chewed wood, inspecting your chimney (you may want to consider putting a cap on it), sealing any holes you find, and trimming branches that provide easy access to your roof.

But if squirrels are already inside, it's best to get help from a professional. Relocating animals is often a death sentence - Bill says up to 70 per cent will die, because they won't be accustomed to their new surroundings, they'll have to find new den sites, and will be in direct competition with local wildlife.

And if you try to seal up your property after a squirrel has found its way in, your problems may not end there.

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You could try to get the animal out and seal up the entry points on your own, but if you don't do it correctly, a determined rodent is likely to chew its way back in.

"And then its mindset changes," Bill says.

"It [thinks] 'OK, I've gotten back in here once, I can do it again. And now, it's even more determined."