Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), the flying squirrel (Glaucomya volans), and the fox squirrel (Sciurus niger), are the three most common squirrels found in Alabama. Of the three, the eastern gray squirrel is the most likely to become a nuisance. They chew their way through home siding and roof shingles to make their way into attics, and raid bird feeders year round.
The good news is that the damage they cause is not
catastrophic and they pose no serious threat to homeowners or pets. The bad news is that once they have found their way into your home, it can be difficult to get rid of them.
The eastern gray squirrel is a medium size tree squirrel that ranges from 16 to 20 inches in length and weighs one to one and one-half pounds. They are most active in the early morning and late afternoon hours when they are looking for food. They eat hard mast such as acorns, nuts, pine seeds, plant buds, and even insects, depending on what is available. Trimming trees that produce these food items so that they are at least five feet from your home may help to discourage squirrels from choosing your attic for a nesting site.
The eastern gray squirrel breeds year round, but most intensely during early summer and again in early winter. The gestation period is about 45 days and the young are
weaned and somewhat independent by their tenth week. If a squirrel family has taken up residence in your home, you may want to keep these reproduction facts in mind. Successfully removing a mother from your attic and leaving helpless young behind may cause an unpleasant situation for all concerned. Installing a one-way exit door where the squirrels are residing is a good way to make sure everyone leaves eventually. Inspect your entire house exterior to be sure that no other means of entry is available.
Chimneys are a favored point of access by many critters. If a squirrel has fallen down your chimney, close the damper and lower a 1/2" diameter rope down from the top of the chimney all the way down to the damper. Anchor the end of the rope and give the squirrel time to climb out on his own. When he does, cover your chimney securely with a wire chimney cap. Your local hardware store should have them.