Tag Archives: squirrel control

Which Canadian Squirrel is in Your Backyard


  • How to Identify the Eastern Grey Squirrel 
  • How to Identify the American Red Squirrel 
  • How to Identify the Richardson Ground Squirrel 
  • What’s the difference between Chipmunks and Squirrels
  • How to prevent a squirrel problem
  • What to do if you have a squirrel problem

Canada is home to 22 different species of squirrels! These furry creatures can be quite cute, especially when performing feats of incredible acrobatics in your backyard. However, they are less cute when digging up your garden, eating your flowers, or monopolizing your bird feeder. Squirrels can even act as a major pest in Canada as many species like to build nests in homes, especially in the wintertime. By identifying which squirrels live in and around your home you’ll be better prepared to prevent and deal with squirrel problems. In this article we cover the most common squirrels found in urban and suburban Canada and the unique problems they pose. 

Eastern Grey Squirrels

How to Identify the Eastern Grey Squirrel 

The eastern grey squirrel is possibly the most common squirrel in Canada. They can be spotted throughout New Brunswick, Quebec, southern Ontario and southern Manitoba. Although they are called grey squirrels they are both black and grey, similar to how humans have different hair colours it is simply a small genetic difference that causes them to appear differently. 

Eastern grey squirrels are also quite large and are a formidable opponent in the fight for backyard bird feeders in Canada. These squirrels love to eat seeds! There are many bird feeders specially designed to deter squirrels while still feeding songbirds – for more information on best bird feeder practices check out our article on the topic. These squirrels also love to eat flower bulbs and are notorious for digging up flower beds.

Fun Fact:
We have 2 species of flying squirrels in Canada but since they are small, nocturnal and prefer to stay in the tops of trees they are rare to spot. 

Eastern grey squirrels are active year-round and don’t hibernate, instead they put on a protective fat layer to keep them warm in winter and continue foraging throughout the cold months. They still create caches of food like other squirrels that you may find around your property but they are often small as they don’t rely on them heavily. 

These grey squirrels give birth twice a year, once in early spring and again in late summer to only about 2 – 3 young per litter. These young will go on to live for an average of 6 years or up to 10 if they are able to avoid predation. They build their nests in tree branches and tree cavities, or in the rafters of attics or garages. In homes they are known to dig through insulation, chew through electrical wires and leave droppings on the ground making them quite a hazard. 

American Red Squirrel

How to Identify the American Red Squirrel 

American red squirrels are a tree-dwelling squirrel like the eastern grey squirrel but much smaller in size. They are easy to identify by their distinctive red colouring and white bellies. They are also quite common and can be found in areas of every province of Canada.

American red squirrels will eat bird seed but also have a taste for sweeter foods such as berries and even maple tree sap. They are particularly tricky to exclude from your bird feeder due to their small size – they can get through holes designed to only let through songbirds and may not trigger the weight limit mechanism of certain bird feeders. 

Fun Fact:
Squirrels use their tails for balance, to regulate their body temperatures and to communicate their mood to other squirrels!

These squirrels give birth twice a year in spring and summer to quite a number of babies, up to 7 each litter! However, only about 20% of the babies will survive through their first year and they only live for a couple of years with only certain lucky individuals making it past their fifth birthday. 

In nature american red squirrels nest in tree branches or cavities, but as with the eastern grey squirrels they like to occupy the rafter of garages and homes, especially during the winter. Although they don’t hibernate they do leave their nest less frequently in the winter and survive mainly on food they have stored in multiple caches around their nest. 

Richardson Ground Squirrel

How to Identify the Richardson Ground Squirrel 

Found in southern Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, Richardson ground squirrels are brownish-grey and speckled with patches of off-white and their tails are significantly less bushy than those of tree nesting squirrels. 

As ground-dwelling squirrels they live in burrows and tunnels created in the soil, making them a major agricultural pest in Canada. Unlike their tree-dwelling counterparts they rarely find their way into homes, but they can still be quite a nuisance to homeowners by tearing up gardens. 

Ground squirrels generally hibernate throughout the winter and for a couple of the hottest weeks in the summer. They have one litter a year in early spring of 6-8 pups and feed mostly on plants but will also eat seeds if available to them.

Chipmunk vs 13-lined squirrel

What’s the difference between Chipmunks and Squirrels?

Sometimes confused for squirrels, chipmunks are significantly smaller than adult squirrels and sport distinctive black and tan stripes on their bodies. The thirteen-lined ground squirrel, found in southern Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, titularly also has stripes but the stripes don’t go across their eyes as they do on chipmunks.

There are, in fact, five species of chipmunk living across Canada, so depending on your location the chipmunks may look slightly different – from a homeowner’s perspective however they all behave in a similar way. Chipmunks are like ground squirrels in that they dig burrows in the soil, making them a common culprit for destroying gardens. 

Chipmunks are not picky eaters and will feed on seeds, mushrooms, flower bulbs and even snails. While they don’t hibernate in the truest sense of the word they do sleep in their burrows for much of the winter surviving off a stash of seeds. They generally produce one litter a year in early spring and live between 2 to 5 years. 

How to Prevent Squirrel Problems Summary

How to prevent a squirrel problem

To prevent squirrels from entering your home, shed or garage do an inspection of the outside walls especially around the roof, looking for any holes squirrels or other rodents could enter through and making sure to seal them. Also, look for any overhanging branches that may act as squirrel highways directly to your roof, these branches can be trimmed to limit access to your home. Open food sources will also encourage tree squirrels, ground squirrels and chipmunks to build nests in and around your home so make sure to seal compost and garbage bins, clean up thoroughly after eating on the patio and consider taking down your bird feeder. 

Common squirrel damages

What to do if you have a squirrel problem

If you already have squirrels nesting in your home or digging up your beautiful garden it’s best to call in professionals that offer squirrel control. Squirrels can be quite aggressive when protecting their nests, they can carry ticks and mites on their bodies and are known to spread diseases all of which are hazardous to an untrained homeowner. 

Terminix Canada offers expert, humane squirrel removal services for both residential and commercial properties. We have local pest control experts at locations across Canada including BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Call us today to learn how we can help.

7 Incredible Squirrel Abilities – Why They Are Formidable Foes

Squirrels are a divisive subject for many. People either love them or hate them with some even celebrating them on January 21st (National Squirrel Day). Whatever your feelings are about these fluffy tree rats, you must give them credit where credit is due. Squirrel abilities put them in a league of their own. Especially when it comes to trying to outwit or outsmart an annoying squirrel that has set its sights on your home.

Don’t believe us? Below are seven reasons why squirrels are formidable foes.

There Are Some Amazing Squirrel Abilities Which Make Them A Worthy Opponent, Such As:

  1. A squirrel’s bushy tail has multiple purposes. It helps them balance, slow their descent, and maintain warmth in the winter.
  2. They can rotate their feet 180 degrees and can run at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Squirrel teeth are very sharp and constantly growing.
  4. They hide their food and pretend to hide the food if other animals are watching.
  5. They run in zig zags and circles to disorient their enemies.
  6. A squirrel’s peripheral vision is just as good as their focal vision.
  7. They communicate with each other through clicks, growls, and screams to warn their fellow squirrels of danger.

Squirrel Ability #1 – Their Tails Are Like Swiss Army Knives

Squirrels have bushy tails that help them to properly balance when walking up high on branches. Additionally, if they do happen to fall, squirrels can use their tails as parachutes to help slow their descent. Did you know that squirrels can survive falls of 100 feet?

When jumping from one branch to another, many squirrels will use their tail as a rudder to further project themselves.

During the colder, winter months, they will use their tails to keep themselves bundled up and warm. They can even use their tail to help communicate their mood to other squirrels.

Squirrel Ability #2 – They Can Run At 90-degree Angles Like Ninjas

Odds are, you’ve seen a squirrel running down a tree. Unlike humans, squirrels can rotate their feet 180 degrees and dig their claws into the tree bark. Between the ability to rotate their feet, and their sharp claws on all four feet, once a squirrel is planted against a tree trunk, they have incredible grip. Some would even say a Bruce Lee-like grip!

Squirrel Ability #3 – Their Teeth Are Sharp And Always Growing

Squirrels are considered pests by many because of their propensity to chew on inedible objects. This includes roof tiles, wires, wood, or whatever else they need to break through to get to what they want.

Their constant gnawing helps them maintain their sharpness. Squirrel teeth never stop growing, so this gnawing also helps to prevent overgrowing. These furry rodents can and will chew through plastic or metal to get to food with ease.

Squirrel Ability #4 –They’re Schemers

Squirrels often hunt their food and then find somewhere to hide it for later. However, sometimes other animals will watch squirrels hide their food and then attempt to snatch it as soon as the squirrel leaves.

Their survival instincts have adapted to this. Therefore, many squirrels will pretend to hide their food when another animal is watching. When the wannabe thieves dig around in the fake spot, squirrels will run away to hide their food elsewhere, laughing maniacally we assume.

Squirrel Ability #5 – Squirrels Are Wily Runners

Have you ever tried chasing a squirrel? Good luck catching them! When running from a predator, a squirrel will run in zig-zag patterns. They also frequently use trees as buffers and will circle around the trunks to disorient their enemies and get away.

Squirrel Ability #6 – You Can Never Sneak Up On Them

Unlike some other wildlife (ahem skunks), squirrels have excellent vision. Their peripheral vision is just as good as their focal vision. This means that squirrels can remain motionless and look out for predators above, below, or to the side of them with ease.

Squirrel Ability #7 – Squirrels Speak In Secret Code

If you’ve spent a prolonged period watching squirrels, you’ve probably noticed that they have a wide vocabulary. Squirrels are very good at communicating with each other. The clicks, growls, and screams of squirrels all have different meanings. Screams are often the call of a pup to its mother. Clicks are usually warnings about approaching predators. Growls are typically mating calls.

Have More Respect For Squirrel Abilities Now? Here Are Some Fun Facts About Them!

  1. Did you know that there are 22 different species of squirrels in Canada, and they are found in every province and territory? There is the Douglas squirrel in the west of Canada, the Arctic ground squirrel in Nunavut, and even red squirrels over in Newfoundland.
  2. Squirrels come in many different shapes and sizes. The smallest squirrel species in Canada is the chipmunk, which weighs only 50 grams. At the other end are Hoary Marmots, sometimes called “whistle pigs” because of the sound they make when threatened. The Hoary Marmot is found in northwest North America, including British Columbia and Alberta.
  3. Squirrels may threaten gardeners, but they help with forest regeneration. Squirrels prepare for the cold winter season by burying nuts and seeds to feed on. Often, some of their stash is forgotten about and left to germinate come springtime.

The Rodent Control Experts At Terminix Canada Can Tackle Your Squirrel Problem

See what you’re up against? If you’ve been losing the battle against sneaky squirrels, don’t feel bad. Squirrel abilities allow them to be very tough competitors, often outsmarting DIY rodent control techniques with ease.

If you need help getting rid of a squirrel infestation in your garden or attic, don’t go at it alone. Terminix Canada offers wildlife control and removal services across the country to help ease your squirrel woes. We even offer emergency wildlife control for your more urgent rodent problems.

For effective pest management and animal control services, call Terminix Canada at 1-888-801-6348 for a free quote or find your local branch below!

Need Wildlife Pest Control? Here’s 4 Wildlife Pests We Know All Too Well.

So, you’ve heard scratching, gnawing, or flapping in the attic and decided you need wildlife pest control. So, what’s next? Well, you’re in the right place because Terminix Canada offers humane wildlife removal that works. This way, intruding wildlife can return to their natural habitat and away from your home – completely harm-free.

Our professional exterminators know everything it takes to remove wildlife pests from your home. To further convince you that you need wildlife pest control, these four pests are liable to attack, maim, and chomp with their germ-ridden mandibles when you least expect. Wildlife pests are athletic, crafty, dangerous, and dirty. All too often, they cause immeasurable damage to our homes and mayhem wherever they go.

Before you contact your nearest Terminix Canada branch, carry on reading to learn more about four of the most infamous rent-free intruders around.

We Regularly Perform Wildlife Pest Control For:

  1. Raccoons
  2. Skunks
  3. Bats
  4. Squirrels

1. Raccoons: The King Of The Concrete Jungle

Ah, the notorious trash panda. We’d revere raccoons’ resourcefulness if they weren’t so reprehensible.

These little annoyances have no problem making themselves comfortable on your property. Equipped with razor-sharp claws, raccoons fear no human and will attack if they feel threatened. Plus, raccoons are one of the leading animal carriers of the rabies virus.

What’s most irritating is their innate ability to cause a ruckus on our property. From inhabiting spaces in our garages and attics, to finding new and inventive ways to root through and destroy our green bins, raccoons are as efficient at being pests as Terminix Canada is at removing them!

The best form of raccoon control is preventing raccoon problems in the first place. By limiting access to food, shelter, and water, this is the best way to raccoon-proof your home. Naturally, these masked intruders are cunning and should you already have a raccoon infestation, hiring Terminix Canada’s humane raccoon removal service is the way to go.

2. Skunks: The Accidental Bullies

We kind of feel bad for skunks. They are harmless creatures in theory. However, in practice, people react to them like they were Jason Voorhees if his weapon of choice was stink spray instead of a machete!

Skunks only spray potential threats, and actually don’t view humans as such. However, they suffer from nearsightedness, and often mistake us for predators. This leads to most skunk spraying incidents.

Skunks’ poor eyesight also causes them to spray our pet dogs, because the stinky pests confuse canines for wolves and foxes. For dog owners, this is its own special kind of nightmare.

Much like raccoons, skunks will forage into our gardens and trash. Considering the damage they inflict on our homes, and the ability to make us smell like unwashed underwear, it’s easy to see why skunks are so detestable.

Best practices of skunk control include installing physical barriers. This will ensure that skunks can’t enter any holes near your property to create a skunk den. Additionally, you should remove any cover skunks could potentially use for harbourage. This includes brush, woodpiles, and shady vegetation.

3. Bats: The Heroes We Don’t Want

Sure, bats do a lot of great things for the environment. They pollinate flowers and disperse fruit seeds for starters. In fact, some plants depend primarily on bats for seed distribution. Additionally, bats feast upon insect pests, reducing the need for pesticides.

Nevertheless, we still loathe these rats-with-wings!

Maybe it’s because they’re hideous, utterly terrifying creatures, potentially carrying rabies and other diseases like histoplasmosis – an infection caused by breathing in spores that grow in bat droppings. Or it could be their proclivity to nest in our attics? All too often, bats enjoy the luxury of consistent temperatures in our attics, spawning more of their offspring until our homes play host to legions of flying threats.

When it comes to bat removal, you should always approach bat-proofing with extreme caution. In other words, you should leave bat control to a professional like Terminix Canada.

Exclusion is always the way to go when dealing with bats. Bats’ food sources are flying insects outside your home. You can’t remove their food or water source, so exclusion or relocation are your only options. Under no circumstances should you ever try to trap and release bats on your own.

4. Squirrels: Small, Yet Formidable Foes

One of the most common attic dwellers, squirrels are remarkable, yet infuriating little creatures. One of the most agile critters around, squirrels can rotate their feet 180 degrees and can run like superheroes at a 90-degree angle.

Boasting infamous sharp teeth that are constantly growing, squirrels can gnaw through roof tiles, wood, and electrical wiring with ease. Not only fast and super nimble, a squirrel’s peripheral vision is just as good as their focal vision too. This means removing them yourself is notoriously difficult.

What you can do however is remove any open diet sources, ensuring that no seeds, nuts, or fruits are within easy reach. This is one of the best preventative methods of squirrel control. Gutter guards can also help prevent squirrels from finding entry points into your home. Lastly, cutting back overhanging limbs is another effective method for keeping squirrels away.

However, if squirrels have already breached your perimeter, and you’re all too familiar with clicks, growls, and screams, it’s time to enlist the professionals.

Trust Terminix Canada For All Your Wildlife Pest Control Needs

Do you have a raccoon, skunk, bat, or squirrel problem? If your home is overrun with a pest or wildlife infestation, Terminix Canada provides humane wildlife pest control services from Halifax to Vancouver. We even offer emergency wildlife control for more pressing wildlife problems.

Not only will we humanely remove any current wildlife from your property, but we’ll take measures to prevent any further infestations. Visit our Branch Locator, find your nearest Terminix Canada branch, and give them a call today.

Are Squirrels Dangerous To Humans?

If you’ve ever wondered ‘are squirrels dangerous?’ you weren’t wrong to. A lot of Canadians often think these rodents are cute and don’t consider them a real threat. This, however, is misguided. At the end of the day, these bushy tailed rodents are exactly that – rodents! As such, squirrels carry the same kind of dangers that their mouse and rat cousins are known for.

Ultimately, squirrels carry diseases which can make squirrels dangerous. However, most of these diseases aren’t dangerous to humans, but some are and definitely warrant your full attention. Firstly, squirrels are covered in parasites and these can be passed to both humans and pets. With infected squirrels carrying Encephalitis, Lyme Disease, Salmonella and Tularemia, this makes it incredibly important to get rid of squirrels immediately. This blog will guide you through all the reasons you should consider humane squirrel removal, particularly with Terminix Canada’s help.

Do Squirrels Carry Rabies?

It’s true that any warm-blooded mammal like squirrels can carry or contract rabies. Nevertheless, rabid squirrels are incredibly rare. This is because rodents like these often die after contracting the virus themselves. Even though your chances of encountering a rabid squirrel are very slim, it’s still important to detect any rabies warning signs.

Rabies affects the central nervous system so you’ll spot changes in a squirrel’s behaviour. As with most rabies-infected animals, rabid squirrels will either be highly aggressive or unusually docile. To complicate matters further, squirrels may suffer the roundworm brain parasite that carries symptoms very similar to rabies. Ultimately, you won’t want to take any chances. Hiring humane squirrel removal for your home provides the peace of mind you need.

Do Squirrels Bite?

Again, rabid or dangerous squirrels are very rare. Therefore, the chances of you or your pet suffering a squirrel bite are very slim. This isn’t to say that squirrel bites don’t take place however. Squirrel teeth are constantly growing, which makes for a strong bite should they decide to attack. They will bite and attack if they feel agitated or threatened by human or pet behaviour.

For instance, mother squirrels are highly protective over their babies. If you attempt to disturb squirrels in the attic, you could face a squirrel that growls or squawks. Ultimately, squirrels use noises and their tails to either warn off predators or threats, or alert other squirrels of danger. Most of the time however, squirrels are afraid to get too close to humans. Just think about it for a second. The last time you visited a park and attempted to get too close to a squirrel, it likely bounded off faster than Usain Bolt and into the distance or up a tree!

The bottom line is, if a squirrel bites you pet, take it to the vet. A veterinarian will check if any wounds carry a rabies infection and whether any parasites exist that threaten both yours and your pets’ health.

The Danger of Squirrel Diseases

Squirrels are notorious for carrying parasites like fleas, mites and ticks. These parasites cause some squirrel diseases that are dangerous to humans.

Encephalitis – In mild cases, encephalitis causes fever or headache. However, in more extreme cases, it can cause confusion, seizures or movement issues.

Lyme Disease – This can burden you with a serious rash that could result in joint pain, severe headaches and even facial paralysis, if left untreated.

Salmonella – Salmonella bacteria are carried in squirrel droppings and this can cause severe diarrhoea, abdominal pains, and vomiting.

Tularemia – This can result in swollen lymph nodes and ulcers, as well as Leptospirosis, which has flu-like symptoms.

House Damage And Squirrels In The Attic

So part way though this blog, we’ve already established the answer to ‘are squirrels dangerous?’ But we haven’t spoken about house damage and the threat of squirrels in the attic or squirrels inside your walls.

Like we mentioned before, squirrels’ teeth are constantly growing. Therefore, squirrels cause serious structural damage to homes that isn’t easy to repair. Squirrels are able to chew through things like electrical wiring and insulation with ease. Believe it or not, squirrels have started house fires in the past from chewing on defected wiring.

The Best Way To Get Rid Of Squirrels

If you’re looking to successfully get rid of squirrels right now, you should hire a humane squirrel removal company like Terminix Canada. Before our technicians get to work however, it’s important that you remove any open diet sources like seeds, nuts or fruits. Installing gutter guards can also prevent squirrels from finding entry points into your home. Clipping any overhanging tree branches near roofing, removing any firewood and repairing foundational cracks will also help keep squirrels out too.

Now you’re in a position for professional squirrel removal, our technicians will get rid of squirrels in an ethical and humane manner using exclusion methods. Terminix Canada has provided squirrel control to thousands of Canadians coast-to-coast. Rest assured, our squirrel removal technicians always wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to liberate your home from the dangers that squirrels pose. Contact us right now, before your squirrel problem drives you nutty.