Today, January 21st is squirrel appreciation day according to the Wildlife Center of Virginia. Squirrel Appreciation Day was established by a wildlife rehabilitator in North Carolina. The reasoning behind this day is, "A celebration of the event itself is up to the individual or group - anything from putting out extra food for the squirrels to learning something new about the species", according to Christy Hargrove.
January 21st is an opportunity to appreciate these tree climbing and nut gathering animals. This day is to give squirrels a special treat to help them get through the winter months. Even though these pests had been gathering their food supply since the fall, it may not be enough to get them through the winter. They will take over a bird feeder by throwing out any and all seeds just to find the ones they like. They have been known to chew into a pumpkin that has been set outside as a decoration for Halloween just to get to the seeds inside. These pests can also tear into flower beds just to find the seeds that are buried underground.
However, is it a good idea to feed these nuisance pests on this particular day or any day around your home? Once squirrels find a promising food source, they will take up residency by it. That can include building a nest in a nearby tree, finding their way inside a type of small structure locating on your property, or even in your attic. Squirrels have been known to create damage that can total an substantial amount of money.
The damage squirrels do to your biggest investment can be significant. Squirrels gain access into your attic by gnawing into your roof material, vinyl siding, wooden beams, or soffit. Once they reach their destination they get to work by gnawing on wires, ripping through insulation to build their nest, and scrounge around looking for food. Just like rodents, most homeowner’s policies may not cover damage to your home cause by a squirrel nor any remediation. The cost comes right out of your pocket.
The wires they gnaw on can short out and spark which could cause a fire. Insulation is no longer good because while the squirrels were building their nest, they left their urine and fecal behind. A guest you invite over would be able to smell the scent from the contaminated insulation which is very strong and unpleasant, also other squirrels will be able to smell the scent and invite themselves over as well. You will no longer have just one squirrel, but also a family of them. Not only do squirrels leave a bad scent; however, they also carry Lyme positive ticks into your home including diseases like tularemia, leptospirosis and other diseases common in mice.
So, the answer to the above question, is it a good idea to feed squirrels would be definitely NO!! However, if you hear noises in your attic or have seen squirrels around your roof, give Elite Wildlife Removal a call at 804-867-7184. We will be more than happy to conduct a thorough inspection to determine the entry areas and work with you on the remediation process. We will also be happy to provide a pro-active approach to ensure your home and family's safety is being squirrel free.