Tree squirrels’ excellent climbing and jumping abilities serve them well in the wild, but it also sometimes allows them to cause problems around our homes. In particular, they can be a nuisance on bird feeders because they can make quick work of most feeders not specifically designed to keep them at bay. To keep them out of the bird seed, consider adding a baffle to a bird feeder or look for a feeder that is designed to prevent squirrels from getting to the food, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology advises. You can also put your feeder in a place that’s hard for them to reach, or put out food specifically for the squirrels, like cracked corn, so they’re less likely to eat the bird food. One note: Do not grease the poles your bird feeders are on. This can be harmful to birds because the grease can mat down their feathers, making it more difficult to fly and also affecting their ability to stay warm.
Squirrels will sometimes chew through siding or other materials to gain access to an attic or enlarge an opening, Wildlife Illinois reports. If they get inside a building, they can cause further damage by chewing through electrical wiring or insulation.
You can help keep squirrels from accessing your home or other buildings by cutting back tree branches at least 10 feet from buildings, eliminating their ability to jump to it. It’s also important to regularly check your home to make sure it is free from holes or damage that squirrels may use to access your attic and to repair any holes immediately.
On occasion, squirrels may fall down uncapped chimneys. When this happens, they are not able to climb back up to escape, the wildlife clinic reports. You can help them by dropping a rope down the chimney that they can climb. If a squirrel gets into your house, shut off access to the room they are in and open a window so they will be able to escape. Prevent further problems by installing a cap on the chimney.
If animals on your property continue to cause damage after corrective measures have been taken, consider humanely removing and relocating them only as a last resort. Trapping a squirrel to remove it from your property requires a permit from IDNR. If you do not want to remove it yourself, contact a licensed wildlife control operator to contract their services.
All wildlife in Illinois are under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The Forest Preserve District of Will County does not treat, rescue or remove wildlife from public or private property. Both the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Wildlife Illinois maintain lists of wildlife rehabilitators you can contact for assistance with injured wildlife.
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