Squirrels are adorable animals from afar, but when they decide to make your home their abode, you will see what a menace these little critters can be. They will eat your bird feed and the plants in your garden and poop everywhere.
If you are wondering if the noise from your attic is from rats, squirrels, or some other animals, then your best is to examine the poop you find around.
Squirrel poop is dark, shiny, and might be 3 to 5 inches long.
Today we look at squirrels, their food, poop, and why they infest your home.
What Do Squirrels Eat?
If you know what squirrels eat, it will help you to know what their poop should look like. Squirrels are true omnivores, so they consume various vegetables and meat.
Their meals will consist of anything from nuts, acorns, fruits, fungus, seeds buds, and green vegetables to bird eggs, insects, birds, small rodents, amphibians, and even snakes- whenever they can find any.
In the winter, when these food sources are scarce, squirrels especially flying squirrels, tree squirrels, and even ground squirrels, hoard food they gather when the weather is hot and in abundance. They will store some food near the burrow where they live and others in places far from their home.
Squirrels have an extraordinary sense of smell so they can smell food from a distance away, and when they find food, they carry it in their mouth until they find a decent place to bury their find. Even though squirrels eat a lot of things, they will prefer fruits that are ripe and foods that are rich in nutrients.
Female squirrels just put to bed eat an enormous amount of food and will continue to gulp sizeable rations for at least six weeks because they will be breastfeeding their young. When young squirrels are about 2 to 3 months old, they can start foraging for food.
What Does Squirrels Poop Look Like
Aside from the noise and destruction squirrels cause in our homes when they invade them, they can leave a lot of smelly poop, which is an eyesore. You can tell squirrels’ poop apart from other animals because of the following:
Due to the different types of food squirrels eat, squirrel poop can have different colors, but typically, they are brown. Sometimes, it could be a lighter shade of brown with hues of different reds. Don’t be surprised if you see some squirrel poop being green and tan pellets.
Fresh squirrel poop is dark and shiny, but they take a chalky gray color when they become older and drier, and the edges become round.
Squirrels sure can poop a lot, almost as much as rabbits. Typically, their poops are half an inch in diameter and 3 to 5 inches long, and the feces pellets are usually slightly thicker in the middle with rounded edges. They are like small rods about the size of a grain of rice.
Squirrels have a very behavior in terms of how they deposit their poop. They poop in the same spot throughout time, meaning their feces can accumulate in big mounds in their chosen location.
These little mammals are discreet about where they defecate, which is why you don’t find their poop outdoors as you have with rats. So, if squirrels frequent your home or even live around it, you will most likely find their poops in the attics, deck, or porches.
Do Squirrel Poops Pose a Health Risk?
Without mincing words, the answer is YES, squirrel poop is dangerous to our health, and this is because, like most animal poop and urine, they contain parasites and diseases that could be dangerous to you and your pet.
Firstly, squirrel poop and urine have a very foul smell which can be disturbing. Secondly, this poop can bring mold into your home with its attendant health risks.
The pheromones from the odorous smell of the squirrel poop can also attract even more squirrels, meaning you might have a squirrel infestation on your hands.
Squirrels can transmit several zoonotic diseases to humans primarily through touching, urine, and poop with their bare hands. The poop also carries spores and bacteria easily transmitted when touched or when we get close enough to sniff the poop.
One of the biggest concerns is the presence of leptospirosis in the poop, a bacterial condition that causes flu-like symptoms in humans. It can lead to serious respiratory problems or even death in other situations.
Salmonella is another infection that can easily be transmitted from squirrel feces to humans, and its symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting.
The poops of squirrels, when they become dry, crumble easily, and the dust rises into the air. When some people, especially those with respiratory sickness, inhale this dust, it can worsen their situation, meaning cleaning squirrel poop must be done with caution.
How To Clean And Dispose of Squirrel Poop
Before you attempt to clean your squirrel-poop-infested attic, remove the squirrel from your home so that your effort will not be in vain when they come and poop again in the place you just cleaned.
After removing all the squirrels in your home, your best option is to use a vacuum to remove their droppings. It is the most convenient way to do this, but if you want to clean up the poop by hand, ensure you don’t touch the feces. Ensure you put on a pair of rubber or latex gloves and a mask to protect yourself.
Before removing the poop, open up the window to ensure you have proper ventilation and do not suffocate. In many cases, the poop may have stuck onto a hard surface, so using a chisel knife can help remove them. After removing the poop, use bleach and water to wash or mop the places to eliminate bacteria.
Why You Must Get Rid Of Squirrels
We know that squirrels are tiny critters, but the havoc they can cause is excellent; hence, you must get them out of your home.
Squirrels can get to your backyard, eat the fruits or buds on your trees, and gnaw on the bark. When done extensively, this damage can stress the tree and even cause saplings and young treed to die.
Squirrels not only eat the fruits and nuts they find in your home, but they will try to bury them, and they can bury these nuts and seeds around your lawn, ruining the look of your grass and flowers. They might even uproot some plants when burying this food which will cause the plants to die.
Like any other rodent, squirrels love to chew, and if they find their way into your home, they can chew through wires which pose a fire hazard and destroy your attic insulations.
Squirrels carry so many diseases, which is partially responsible for their short lifespan. Some diseases they carry include typhus, plague, tularemia, and ringworms. Among those previously mentioned, humans can contract that.
How To Keep Squirrels Away From Your Home
Squirrels don’t just invade a place arbitrarily. Some vital things attract them, including thick vegetation like shrubs and hedges. It is so because they don’t enjoy open spaces for fear of their safety since they prey on many animals.
Instead of thick vegetation, go for particular plants like daffodils, geraniums, Hyacinths, and others that squirrels hate. You may also want to check out What to Feed Squirrels in Your Backyard.
Squirrels will always come around a home that has an ample supply of food and water. That bird bath and feeder you left in your backyard might invite squirrels to keep coming to your home.
The thing about watching squirrels trying to get the seeds in the bird feeder is that it is entertaining. But you can keep squirrels from the feed by keeping the bird bath and bird feeder far from their reach, or better still, use specific squirrel-proof bird feeders.
Solid odors or scents repel squirrels as you have in garlic, white pepper, black pepper, onions, peppermint, and the like, so sprinkling any of these substances around your home will cause squirrels to steer clear.
If sprinkled around your home, the urine of squirrels’ predators, like coyotes, will give squirrels the impression that their predators are close by and cause them to scamper.
Many of us love squirrels because those furry little critters are delightful to watch, but they can poop and wreak havoc where they find themselves.
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You can tell a squirrel poop apart from other animals because it usually has a range of colors from reddish brown to green, 3 to 5 inches long. Their poop constitutes a health risk and must never be handled with bare hands.
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