- Posted by lex
- On March 29, 2022
- 0 Comments
It’s that time of year again. Spring is just around the corner and North Carolina’s state mammal, the eastern gray squirrel, has started to have offspring.
Gray squirrels are one of the most commonly seen mammals in our state. This grayish-brown rodent is conspicuous and found in rural, suburban and urban areas, like Raleigh and Durham – you have likely seen them in your yard, or worse, climbing up the side of your home and into your attic. This species is habituated with our presence, which allows for them to easily find comfort in our homes, even when we don’t roll out the welcome mat.
Squirrels typically have two breeding seasons: one in winter and another in summer. Less than 2 months later (late February-March or late June-August), their young are born. Gray squirrel populations are dictated by available shelter and mast (acorns and other hardwood nuts). In times when their food sources are abundant, females that survived the winter may have a large litter, producing up to 8 young. Inversely, when there is a mast shortage, litters are often small, with closer to 2-4 kits (young).
Let’s learn a little more about these critters with our baby squirrel facts:
- Baby squirrels of any species are called kits or kittens
- Kits typically sleep in a nest (also called a drey) made of leaves, twigs, moss, dried grass and more
- Gray squirrels are born blind and dependent on their mothers for 2-3 months
- Male adults play no part in rearing their young
- Kits are weaned after 7-8 weeks
- When kits leave their nest, they stay within a 2-mile radius and return home by following the pheromones left behind
You may be asking yourself: What does all of this mean for me?
At a certain point, juvenile squirrels will get curious about their surroundings. If their mother found your attic cozy during the winter and decided to nest in your home’s warmth, those surroundings may be your rafters and stored items. As juveniles start to move about and explore, they can fall between your wall cavities and get stuck. If this happens, you are sure to hear scratching in your walls as they try to climb out.
So how do you know if you have adult and/or baby squirrels in your attic?
Gray Squirrels are diurnal (active during daylight hours) and active year-round. Tell-tale signs that you have squirrels in your home is hearing them running across your attic floorboards as they come in and out of your home from foraging. You may also hear banging on your ceiling, which is likely a crafty squirrel trying to open an acorn or nut. Gnawing or chewing sounds is another good indicator that you have some unwanted guests in your attic. Rodents’ incisors are constantly growing, so they need to gnaw on wood or other materials in your home to keep their teeth length at bay. This can cause damage to internal structures, pipes, and even electrical wires. As for the babies, you may hear them crying for their mother using their high-pitched squeaks.
If I have squirrels in my home, what should I do?
Property owners with rodents that are pests should not live with them. Critter Control of the Triangle can help you safely and effectively remove them and keep them out. Those living in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Wake Forest or the surrounding areas of the Triangle can call 919-382-0651 today.