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Tree squirrels

tree squirrel

Calgary is home to three species of tree squirrels, but it’s the Eastern Grey Squirrel that’s most dominant in the City. This introduced species is quite large and may have grey, black or brown colored fur.

Getting rid of squirrels

Squirrels are hard to control, but growing tall, dense stands of grass may limit the animal's activity. Repellents applied in early fall and again in winter may also drive squirrels from your yard.

If measures to deter squirrel activity are unsuccessful, you may want to consider trapping and removing an unwanted squirrel. Traps are quite effective when trapping instructions are properly followed and the bait levers are covered with squirrel-attracting food such as peanut butter, peanuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.

Preventing squirrels

Most urban squirrels owe their existence to humans. A dish of pet food left unattended, an open garbage can, or a full bird feeder are all free meals to a hungry squirrel. Therefore,

  • Remove food supplies from your yard. This includes removing bird feeders, or changing the design, location and seed mix in a feeder.
  • Close or cover garbage cans, and if possible, make them inaccessible.
  • If you have a barbecue near the house, keep it clean and covered.
  • Barriers such as fences may provide protection around gardens and individual plants.
  • To prevent squirrels from jumping on to your roof and invading your attic, trim branches of trees and shrubs so they are at least 6 feet away from the house.
  • To prevent squirrels from climbing on to your roof, place 2-foot wide expandable metal collars at a height of 5-6 feet above the ground around any pole or tree less than six feet away from your house.
  • Seal openings to your home with durable materials such as wire mesh or heavy duty sheet metal.
  • If you have sealed a squirrel inside a structure, either set a trap or install a one way door to allow the squirrel to leave.
  • Dried blood meal and hot pepper sauce may provide some protection to your plants.

Signs of tree squirrels

Tree squirrels can become a problem in both the home and the yard. They may invade structures such as attics and garages, and they can also cause damage to flowerbeds, vegetable gardens and lawns. Population levels range between two to eight squirrels per acre, but may be higher in favourable habitats such as golf courses, parks and cemeteries. Old, well-established trees may also sustain elevated squirrel populations.