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How To Identify Flying Squirrels In The Attic

By Chris Williams on March 12, 2015.

John Maher:  Hi, I’m John Maher, and today I’m here with Scott Winsper of Colonial Pest Control. Scott is a wildlife technician, and today we’re talking about how to identify signs of flying squirrels and remove them from my attic. Welcome Scott.

Scott Winsper:  Hi John, thanks for having me today.

Squirrels Vs. Flying Squirrels in the Attic

John:  Sure. So Scott, are there physical signs that identify a flying squirrel in my attic as opposed to other types of squirrels?

Scott:  Yes there is. Flying squirrels are more like humans, where we like to go the bathroom in one area, so do flying squirrels. Flying squirrels like to go to the bathroom in one area in your attic. It’s usually corner in a soffit, right where your pop hatch is where the heat leaks out.

The only time you do see scattered fecal matter in your attic for flying squirrels is when there’s two different kinds of families in there. They’re fighting over the attic. They’re fighting over territory. That’s usually what you’ll see, is signs of flying squirrel droppings all over the place, and what they’re trying to do is like a dog does. When a dog goes out in your backyard, it likes to mark its territory. It likes to roam around the yard.

Flying squirrels like to do the same thing. “This is my area, this is where I live,” and they’re going to go through the attic, and they’re going to urinate and defecate in the areas that they’ve identified, “This is my area.” So when you have two different families in there, they’re fighting over for that area, so you’re going to see a huge culmination of droppings all over the attic, for flying squirrels. But if it’s one family, and there’s only one family in there at all, there’ll be only droppings in one area.

John:  Right, so you might find it one corner, or underneath a window, or something like that.

Scott:  That’s right. One corner, one soffit area. You know, best thing to look for flying squirrels is dark areas in your attic. They don’t like the light, they’re nocturnal; so they like to go in your dark areas. That’s where you’re going to look for the fecal matter, is in the dark areas.

How do flying squirrels get into a house?

John:  Did they really fly onto my house? How do flying squirrels get into a house?

Scott:  Several things that — how flying squirrels get into your house — first of all, they don’t really fly, they glide. Almost like a kite, you know, they jump out and they glide. They got a membrane from the front foot to the back foot, and when they open it up they actually glide from the tree line to your roofline; just fly and land on it, and that’s how they get in.

John:  So it tends to happen on houses where there’s trees nearby, and then the flying squirrels will climb all the way up to the top of that tree and then kind of jump off and glide onto the roof of my house. Is that typically how they get in?

Scott:  That’s correct. You know, there could be several things. Like I said before, when they jump and glide, flying squirrels only need 20 to 40 feet and they can get onto your roofline. So if you got a tree branch or tree line, it’s about 20-40 feet from your house, they’re still getting on your house.

John:  That’s good to know though, because I would’ve expected maybe it had to be closer to my house, so if I have a tree right next to my house, I would expect maybe squirrels to be in my attic. But you’re saying if the tree is 40 feet away from my house, they can still get in.

Scott:  That’s correct.

John:  Do flying squirrels get into houses that don’t have trees anywhere nearby them?

Scott:  Not usually, no. They love trees. That’s where their homes are, are the trees. Your house is the secondary area. Their primary area is the trees.

How many flying squirrels should I expect to find in my attic?

John:  How many flying squirrels should I expect to find in my attic?

Scott:  It all depends where you live, John. If you go up north, bigger numbers. You go down south, lower numbers, but particularly, 6 to 30 per attic.

John:  Six to 30 in an attic, wow! So you’ve gone into houses and seen an entire family of 30 of these flying squirrels in an attic.

Scott:  Oh absolutely, like I was talking about before. Two different families in an attic, you’re going to see more flying squirrels, they’re fighting over territory. So if you’ve got two different families in there, average for a family is probably six, so you’ve got two in there, there’ll be 12. Now as you go up north, the numbers get bigger.

Removing Flying Squirrels from the Attic

John:  Can I get rid of a flying squirrel on my own, safely? I think if I had 30 flying squirrels in my attic I’d be calling somebody right away.

Scott:  Absolutely.

John:  Is that something I can do on my own?

Scott:  Usually when somebody calls us first of all, John, is that it’s usually the wife hearing noises at night running back and forth in the ceiling and they’re driving her nuts, so that’s usually when we get the phone call. Someone physically removing a flying squirrel, I can see them doing it, trying to trap it in their own way in a cage. But if you’re looking for a permanent solution, call a technician. Call someone who’s been doing it for a long time.

John:  Because you really need to get them out of the attic, and then you need to be able to seal up that attic and make sure that they don’t come back in, right?

Scott:  That’s correct. You can take a flying squirrel, catch it in the cage, bring it outside, release it in your yard — he’s back in your attic the next night. So if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s very hard to solve that problem. That’s when I recommend call a technician, call someone who’s certified to take a look at your house and solve your problem.

John:  Great advice Scott, thanks very much for speaking with me today.

Scott:  No problem.

John:  For more information you can visit the Colonial Pest Control website at colonialpest.com, or call 1‑800‑525‑8084. That’s 1‑800‑525‑8084.

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