How Did a Squirrel Get in My House?

Some people love to watch squirrels. They can be entertaining critters, chasing each other around trees, their bushy tails flicking up and down. Some people even place birdfeeders in their yards just to attract more squirrels, but this can be dangerous. Since squirrels will keep coming back for more, and may one day become brave enough to try to nest in your house.

Though you might think there is no harm in feeding squirrels, you should think again. Squirrels, unlike more shy animals like rabbits and foxes, quickly become acclimated to the presence of humans. Often, some will even come right up next to you to steal your food. Their bravery makes them especially likely to try to make their way inside your home.

Squirrels also have clever hands and strong teeth, which help them pry open spaces or even make their own holes to get inside. As proficient climbers, they will often target the attic. They climb up trees, scurry across branches that extend out over or near your house, and then leap onto the roof. Once there, they will try to find a weak point in the exterior to access the inside. This will often be a gap in the gutters, soffits, trim, or vents. If there isn’t a space large enough they can fit through, they can chew holes in the corners of the roof.

How Do Squirrels Get Into an Attic?

As squirrels spend their days running up and down trees and jumping from branch to branch, they have a bird’s-eye view of home roofs and their weaknesses. Because squirrels do not hibernate in winter, the warmth they feel coming from gaps makes an ideal winter den. Squirrels will use their teeth to gnaw through damaged or unscreened vents or tiny gaps to enter the attic. And they most often use the branches of trees near the home or wires to get to the roof. While ideal for squirrels, their presence damages homes and poses health risks for the families within.

Squirrels only need a gap of 1.5 inches to gain entry. The most common places where squirrels find entry into your attic include:

  • Soffits – These are the finishing material, mostly made of wood or fiber cement, that covers the underside of a roof overhang. In addition to helping to make the roofline look aesthetically nice, soffits help keep moisture away from the rafters, reducing the chance of mold. Soffits that are not flush with the siding create a gap for squirrels to enter.
  • Fascia Boards – These are thin longboards that run along the lower outer edge of a roof, covering the entire roofline. They help keep water out.
  • Ridge Vents – Ridge vents are air exhaust vents installed on the peak of a roof that provides continuous exhaust ventilation at the highest part of the attic. Squirrels are attracted to the warm air that comes out of these vents.
  • Gable Vents – On a gabled roof, these vents are located at the peak where the two sides meet. They usually have louvers, allowing air to flow into the attic, which works to cool it down in warm weather.
  • Roof Returns – This is the part of the roof that doubles back to the wall of the house. It is between the end of the roof and a home’s walls.
  • Chimneys – Chimneys conduct smoke and combustion gasses up from a fireplace, stove, or furnace and can run through the attic of a house.
  • Siding Corners – This is the trim used to keep your siding in a place where the corners meet.
  • Gutters – Gutters capture rainwater and melting snow and channel it away from the house. Clogged gutters that prevent precipitation from running will cause deterioration along the roof edge through which a squirrel can enter.
  • Plumbing Mats – This is rubber matting covering cylindrical vents on the roof that connect the plumbing system used to exhaust gasses.

Signs of Squirrels in Wall Cavities

Even though they can’t be seen, squirrels in walls are far from untraceable.

Signs of a squirrel infestation behind the walls include scurrying or scratching noises. Other telltale signs include the presence of chewed holes indicating that squirrels have made their way inside. The pests may also leave scratches or claw marks around vents and other points of entry.

Homeowners should pay particular attention to wires and plumbing that lead into the house, as squirrels commonly take advantage of these vulnerable areas.

Squirrels on Roofs

Squirrels navigate their way through treetops seamlessly, so the pests have no problem climbing onto roofs or into soffits. Homeowners who suspect they have squirrels on the roof should look to trees for confirmation, as the pests use lawn foliage to reach rooftops. Observant people may spot squirrels traveling up and down regularly.

Squirrels on your roof can damage it sometimes requiring expensive roof repair. Squirrels running across your roof can damage roof shingles. Gutters provide nesting materials which can lead to drainage problems. Once they have access to your roof, squirrels can find a way inside via vents, soffits, and eaves.

Squirrels in the Chimney

When selecting places to construct nests, squirrels typically look for secluded areas off the ground with plenty of cover. While squirrels rarely infest chimneys themselves, the pests may nest in metal chimney boxes. If a squirrel falls down a chimney and becomes trapped inside the fireplace, homeowners may be alerted to their presence via various sounds, smells, and sights. Residents may hear chittering, fighting, or scratching at all hours of the day, smell squirrel droppings, and even see the pests running loose inside the home.

Squirrel Removal in Miami

Squirrels frequently invade homes in the late winter and spring because they find attics to be a great place to birth and rear young. This means that if one squirrel makes it inside, you could have a few more in a matter of days. This makes removal especially tricky because it can be difficult to locate the nest as well as trap the mother with her babies.

If this happens to you, don’t hesitate to call Critter Control®. We will rid your home of any squirrels in the safest way for both you and the animals. There are many careless trappers out there who will end up killing the young squirrels or even adult ones with their negligent methods. We know how to trap and handle the animals humanely, giving the mother and young the best chance of thriving later back in the wild. If you have more questions about our squirrel removal, we can give you a free initial inspection if you call 305-258-3587!