Watching a squirrel munch on an acorn is pretty cute. Watching a squirrel gnaw through your attic and claim it as its own isn't as adorable. They may seem harmless at first glance, but squirrels are territorial creatures that have no sense of personal space; they'll sneak into your attic, have babies, and move in without asking your permission. No one likes a rent-free guest, so we're here to teach you more about these twitchy buggers and how you can keep them away for good.

Why Do Squirrels Get Into Your Attic?

a squirrel peeking over a roof

To catch a squirrel, you need to think like a squirrel. There are a few reasons why squirrels might infest your attic:

  • Attics keep squirrels away from harsh weather and give them a warm place to set up camp.
  • Attics provide protection from predators.
  • Attics are a place where squirrels can give birth in peace.
  • Attics are not frequently visited by homeowners.

Squirrels are crafty, but they're also small and need protection from larger animals. Your attic is the perfect place for them to evade cold weather and predatory creatures.

How Do Squirrels Get Into Your Attic?

There are a number of ways that squirrels can enter your home. They're excellent climbers, so nearby trees and telephone poles give them all the leverage they need to get to your attic. Squirrels are also known for their ability to scale a house regardless of material; they can climb brick or stucco with ease.

That's only half the battle, though. Once they're on your roof, squirrels can get into your attic through holes in the chimneys, gutters, or roof vents.

Signs That Squirrels Are In Your Attic

a red baby squirrel eating a wood deck railing

These signs give away a squirrel's squatting:

  • bite marks on various items around your home. Squirrels can chomp through shingles, wood in the attic, and aluminum vents.
  • the smell of urine or feces. Squirrels tend to make new habitats their own.
  • scratching or chewing noises in the early hours of the morning or throughout the day
  • squirrel nests around your home
  • small holes in your yard

How To Get Rid Of Squirrels In Your Attic

Trap And Release Them

A popular method for getting rid of squirrels is to trap them. Get yourself a live-action trap and place it in a corner of the attic (squirrels are less likely to fall for the ruse if the cage is in the open). Bait them with peanuts or crust and wait until they're fully inside before closing the door.

a red female squirrel in a live trap cage

You'd be pretty grumpy if someone locked you inside a cage. Chances are, the squirrel won't be too happy, either. Wear thick gloves to protect your hands from any bites or scratches. If the squirrel seems particularly hostile, attach a rope to the cage door and release it from a distance. A hostile squirrel can also mean you're dealing with a mama, so be sure to go back to the attic and hunt for babies to give back to her.

It's important that you release the squirrel far away from your house to avoid re-entry. Don't just plop it back in the yard.

Cage prices vary depending on model and size. Don't be shocked to see price tags up to $100.

Scare Them Away With Light And Noise

A simple DIY method is to spook the squirrels with noises and lights. Squirrels are quick to bolt when they see people on the street, so imagine how frightened they'd be to constantly hear human voices or loud noises.

Install lights in your attic or, if you already have a light up there, leave it on through the night. If you notice that regular lights aren't cutting it, you can install strobe lights, and the pulsating will usually cause the squirrels to flee. Strobe lights cost between $10 and $30.

light bulb on in dark attic

You can also knock on the roof or play recordings of sounds like construction or footsteps in the attic to alert the squirrels. They're easily frightened, and hearing unfamiliar noises will encourage them to leave.

How To Prevent Squirrels From Returning

Here are a few easy ways to prevent squirrels from returning to your home.

  • Trim down any tree branches close to your roof.
  • Don't feed them. While it's cute to have them come to your door or to spot them in your yard, squirrels get plenty to eat on their own.
  • Seal off any openings using chimney caps or mesh fencing over vents.
  • Squirrel-proof any bird feeders on your property, and make sure garbage bags aren't left out in the open (squirrels can chew right through them).

Final Notes

Squirrels can make their way into your home easily due to their climbing skills and craftiness. They will hide in your attic for a long time, since it's a safe space from predators and a good location to breed. Luckily, you can easily catch and release them or scare them away using various noises and lights. Seal any openings and refrain from feeding them to guarantee they won't be back.

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