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Elimination

Spraying a liquid repellant on their food or putting a granular repellant near areas where squirrels are causing damage can be effective in some cases.

Using cages remains the most effective control method. You can rent the cages at our store at head office.

Actions

  • Capture animals with a wildlife trap designed for that purpose
  • Release animals at least 20 km away

Prevention

  • Block off the space under sheds, porches, and other structures
  • Use a squirrel-proof bird feeder for feeding birds

Description and development

Mainly red and gray squirrels are found in Quebec. Red squirrels live in conifer and mixed forests as well as sugar maple stands and around buildings. Their population density ranges from 2 to 25 individuals/ha.

Gray squirrels inhabit deciduous or mixed forests as well as urban and suburban parks. Gray squirrel populations vary from 1 to 5 individuals/ha. Females occupy territories of 1 to 5 ha and males up to 30 ha.

Both species nest in a pile of leaves quite high up on a branch or in a fork of a tree. In winter they prefer hollow trees, woodpecker holes, dens, or stumps.
Life Cycle

Gray squirrels mate from early February to late June and produce one to two litters per year. The female produces two to three young from March to August and weans them when they are 8 to 10 weeks old. Gray squirrels can live for 6 to 10 years in the wild.

Red squirrels produce one or two litters of five to six young each between April and August. The young are weaned at the age of two months. Red squirrels can live for 3 to 4 years in the wild

Habits

Both species are diurnal and active year-round. Squirrels are mainly seed eaters, but they also eat buds, tree bark, flowers, and mushrooms. Sometimes gray squirrels will feast on insects, small birds, and even eggs. Red squirrels love to pull small pieces of bark off trees in the spring so they can lick up the sap. In fact, they can often cause problems for maple syrup producers by eating through the plastic tubing.

These rodents can also cause other types of damage by eating through electrical wires (which can cause fires) or telephone cables, as well as the wires under the hood of your car. They also dig up ornamental plant bulbs. They can infiltrate and cause damage in attics, houses, sheds, bird houses, and bird feeders.
On the other hand, they contribute to reforestation because most of the nuts they hide are never found. However, this habit can become a problem if their hiding place is under your roof because insects can colonize the piles of nuts and seeds. Squirrel fur is marketed worldwide.

Tips

If you decide to rent a cage, it is important to know whether you wish to capture a gray or red squirrel because the size of the cage is not the same. Using peanut butter as bait is recommended and you should add an apple quarter to prevent the animal from becoming dehydrated. Once the squirrel is captured, take it 15 to 20 km away to prevent it returning.

Gray squirrel photo published with the authorization of photographer Gautier Bartoli
Red squirrel photo published with the authorization of photographer William Pennock

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