The two squirrel species that are most commonly encountered as nuisance animals in Metro Atlanta and throughout Georgia are the Eastern gray squirrel (which we'll talk about on this page), and the flying squirrel. If you're not sure which squirrels you have, please feel free to give us a call. We'll be happy to help you identify "your" squirrels.
Gray squirrels are usually grayish in color, but there's a lot of color variation. We've encountered "gray" squirrels ranging in color from jet black to albino, along with a lot of reddish-brown ones. In nature, they live mainly in hollow trees; but they're even happier to find a nice, warm, dry attic to live in, especially during the cooler months.
Squirrel-removal calls usually start coming in during the late fall or early winter; but squirrels start looking for their winter homes long before the weather gets cool. Squirrels become highly motivated to get into homes by any means necessary in the late summer through the early fall. Wildlife biologists speculate that they know winter is coming due to factors such as the angle of the sun, the length of days, and the availability of nuts and seeds.
Speaking of which, squirrels spend a lot of time on the ground gathering and burying nuts. They're known as "scatter hoarders," which means that they bury nuts all over the place -- often in hundreds of different locations -- nearby their nests. They'll also hide nuts in other places and usually store some in their nests.
It's not clear how (nor even if) squirrels remember all the places where they buried nuts. It's possible that they just bury them in random locations and sniff around for them when they get hungry, sniffing for the scent of the nuts themselves or possibly for their own scent, and then start digging when they find it. It's also possible that they only remember the general area where they cached their food, and start digging randomly once they're there. With so many caches, their odds of hitting one are pretty good.
This burying behavior, incidentally, is one of the beneficial things that squirrels do. It help propagate the trees that produced the nuts. The squirrels are, in effect, planting the trees.
When needed, we use top-secret, stealth, night-vision technology to positively identify your animal problem.
Legally speaking, squirrels aren't "pests" like their cousins the rats. They're classified as "nuisance wildlife." That means that they're higher up in the rodent social scale and are treated with a lot more respect than rats are.
It also means that there's no such thing as a "squirrel exterminator." If you meet one, turn him in. He's breaking the law. It's illegal to use rodenticides (poisons) for squirrel control or to use traps that intentionally kill them. They're protected animals. When they get into a home, squirrels have to be humanely trapped, removed, and relocated to a more suitable habitat.
The next step after the squirrel-removal part of the job is to seal up the house to keep new squirrels from getting in. We call this "squirrel exclusion" or "squirrel-proofing," and we do a lot of it. In short, we make your home or building squirrel-proof. There's no point in removing squirrels from a house if you're not going to prevent new squirrels from getting in.
Some folks consider squirrels harmless and are happy to leave them alone "as long as they're not bothering anyone." This is a mistake. There are very good reasons why you don't want them living in your homes or commercial building.
First of all, squirrels living in a home or building make college students in a dorm seem squeaky-clean by comparison. Squirrels are hoarders by nature, and they hoard things that really don't seem to make any sense at all. It's obvious why they would hoard things like acorns and other foods, but we've found squirrels hoarding everything from jewelry to toys.
Squirrels also cause damage to the building itself and to items stored in the attic, which we'll talk about in the next section.
Squirrels also can present a disease risk when they get into homes. Their droppings can harbor bacterial and fungal pathogens that can cause human diseases. Their fleas, ticks, and other parasites can also transmit diseases. They also stink the place up with their urine and droppings. If your air-conditioning or heating system is in the attic and you have a squirrel problem, you're probably spreading airborne pathogens and odors throughout your home. That's why we offer squirrel clean-up and decontamination and insulation-replacement services in addition to our Metro Atlanta squirrel-removal services. We clean up the mess the squirrels leave behind, pack it up, and cart it away so you don't have to. We're also licensed to apply insecticides to kill any displaced parasites, if needed.
Like all rodents, squirrels like to gnaw. They gnaw to eat, they gnaw to make holes to get into or out of places, and they gnaw for the sheer joy of gnawing. Mainly, though, they gnaw to keep their teeth sharp and in good shape.
The problem is that when they get into houses and other buildings, squirrels gnaw on things like PVC pipe, HVAC ducts, personal belongings stored in the attic, and worst of all, electrical wiring. Squirrels and other rodents cause many thousands of home fires every year when they chew on live electrical wires. This is something of special concern to those of us in the Atlanta area because of all our irreplaceable historic buildings.
Another serious kind of damage that squirrels do is gnaw at flexible heating and air-conditioning ducts in the attic. If they manage to get inside the ducts, you'll have a major problem on your hands. The entire duct system will have to be inspected and cleaned, and parts of it will probably have to be replaced. And that's assuming that they don't get into the air-handling equipment itself and get caught up in the impeller. Scraping dead squirrel guts off an impeller fan is not fun. (Don't ask me how I know. Just trust me on this one.)
Squirrels also damage other things, including the house itself, as well as products that you store in your attic. We've seen many cases where valuable collectibles, antique furniture, sentimental heirlooms, and antique dolls and toys, have been destroyed by squirrel gnawing. They really can do a lot of damage.
The only long-term solution to a squirrel problem is to humanely remove them, relocate them, and seal them out so they can't back in. That's what we do, and we do it best. We use safe, humane, non-chemical squirrel-control methods that remove the squirrels from your home or commercial building and make it squirrel-proof. In fact, we guarantee it. We back our work with the best warranty in the business.
Rid-A-Critter has the experience, know-how, and equipment to solve any squirrel problem, whether the building is a fishing cabin in the woods or a huge industrial building in the City of Atlanta. Our wildlife management professionals are animal-removal specialists, not handymen who do a bit of animal control work as a sideline.
Our squirrel-removal teams in the field are supported by a team of field service supervisors who make sure that the technicians have everything they need to do their jobs, and who can deliver it quickly if they don't. They also make sure that every job is completed to your satisfaction and Rid-A-Critter's exacting standards.
If you live in or around Atlanta have a problem with squirrels, please call us for an on-site inspection and consultation. We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, please have a look at some pictures of squirrel-removal and squirrel-proofing jobs we've done over the years.
Here are some randomly-selected pictures of squirrel-removal and squirrel-proofing work we've done in the Metro Atlanta area.
Tim giving a young squirrel a driving lesson
Another DIY squirrel exclusion fail
Squirrels can gnaw through metal rain gutters
Squirrel damage to a soffit panel
Friendly squirrel visiting our office for lunch
Baby squirrel removed from a house
Two young squirrels being released to the wild
Squirrel damage led to water damage at this house
Gray squirrel damage to a gable vent
Baby squirrel removed from a house
Handyman squirrel-proofing job - FAIL
Squirrel runway inside a wooden post
These pictures represent only a small sample of the thousands of squirrel-control jobs we've done in Metro Atlanta. We have the tools and personnel to handle any squirrel control job, so please call us today for an on-site consultation.