05.15.2007 - Flying squirrels are rodents, like all squirrels. They don't actually fly, but glide on flaps between their front and hind legs. They are nocturnal
animals, and they are colonizing - they live in groups. They usually live in trees, just like the Gray Squirrels, but just like the Grays, they love to live inside of
If you have flying squirrels in the attic, you will notice noise at night, since that's when these animals are active. They will leave the house at dark and forage, and come back a few times, and retire by morning. They don't make quite as much noise as their larger daytime cousins, but because they live in large groups, you're sure to hear them. You will also eventually smell them. Fliers have a very distinct odor, and they tend to keep communal toilets - they all poop repeatedly in one place.
Flying squirrels like to live in attics, because an attic is just like a big, hollow tree. It's a great place to live. They don't need much space to get inside, and will often chew to make room.
These photos show a flying squirrel about to leave the attic via its exit hole near the peak of the roof, at the gable. The key to removing these animals is similar to most other attic critters - find out how they get in (such as the above hole) and mount a trap on the hole to catch them. A repeating trap is great for Flying Squirrels, you can catch them all at once. They can also be caught in separate cage traps or even snap-type rat traps, but I'd rather not see anyone kill Flying Squirrels. They are neat animals! I really think the repeater trap is the best method for Flying Squirrel removal.
If you need Flying Squirrel Control, it's probably your best bet to hire an expert who can identify the entry hole(s) and mount a repeater trap right on the hole. To do the job correctly, all possible entry points must be sealed shut. This also prevents any future infestations.
Do it yourself: Visit my How To Get Rid of Flying Squirrels page for tips and advice.
Get professional help: Visit my Nationwide Pro Directory of wildlife removal experts.
Flying Squirrel Email: About 6 months ago we heard scratching inside the wall and had no idea what it could be! It was impossible to sleep, but I was afraid to just open the wall at 2am and have "someone" come popping out! What would I do with him? The next a.m. I set up a cat carrier and opened up the wall...but no one was there. I held a mirror up and nothing. That night, though, more scratching and jumping...next a.m. I opened up the next wall bay and found, sadly, a dead flying squirrel at the bottom of the wall. I couldn't save him, never occurred to me it would be a flying squirrel... about a month later there was ANOTHER scratching and jumping in the same wall, different bay. this time I knew it was a flying squirrel, set up the cat carrier and cut into the wall. Later that day he went into the cat trap...and just as quickly got out and ran all around the house with me and the cats chasing him. Finally got him and relocated him 10 miles away. Now, 6 months later, we have flying squirrels in the attic (which is actually where the were before they got trapped in the wall). I have seen them flying from the roof to the birdfeeders...went up to the attic and saw one peering at me from a rafter...I set up a havahart trap last night but the squirrel got the peanut butter and crackers without setting off the trap! My dog barks all night at the scratching of this squirrel(s?). The scratching and gnawing is keeping ME up too. I can't sleep, can't work the next day. I have a metal roof but it wasn't installed properly so I don't know what they are scratching/gnawing at: wood, or acorns? I don't think I'll be able to keep my job if this keeps up!!! Now I read your article about not trapping squirrels if they could have infants... It is October 4 and I live in KY...Is it possible this squirrel has baby flying squirrels? We have so many bird houses that most squirrels used them...until wasps came along and now I fear one got stung and they want to come in the house. Anyway, is it likely this is a mother squirrel in the attic, with babies? Or too late in the season? Up until a week ago we had weather in the 90s all summer. Now it is about 50 degrees outside. Anyway, how can I remove this flying squirrel from my attic with assurance I'm not leaving babies behind to die? I would set up one of those one-way doors so the squirrel goes out and can't come back in...but that would be leaving the babies behind too, right? So havahart or one-way door could have the same result. I hope it is too late in the season for baby squirrels! Thank you for your advice! Hannah in KY
My Response: I honestly don't know much about Flying Squirrels. However, the young are born in April, so October is safe. We specialize in nuisance wildlife control - this is the field of removing unwanted wildlife from homes and property, and solving conflicts between people and wild animals. From home inspections to preventative repairs, wildlife trapping, attic cleanups and more, we solve critter problems with professional expertise. Call me, David, or click on the below link to find any one of hundreds of wildlife trappers in every city and town in the US.
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Flying squirrels are a small population of about 50 subspecies of squirrel in the family Sciuridae. Flying squirrels don't fly so much as they do glide, limiting the areas that they can reach. Generally, flying squirrels like to find shelter in high areas like a tree or an attic. Once they find an adequate place for shelter they'll bring their whole colony to their new nest which can create a lot of problems if they're living in your house.
Do I Have Flying Squirrels in My House?
The first thing to listen for is if you hear noises coming from above you. Flying squirrels will bring their whole colony to an attic, meaning that if you have flying squirrels in your house you'll hear a lot of them scampering and rolling nuts around all night long. If you do hear noises in your attic, check it in the morning to see if you can find any squirrels. Flying squirrels are nocturnal so if you don't find their den during the day, look for their feces so you can compare it to a picture online: that should help you identify them. Why Are Flying Squirrels Bad to Have in a House? Having flying squirrels residing in your attic can present many health and sanitation hazards. These squirrels will create a bad odor by leaving waste and their rotting bodies in an attic. This can create a health hazard for the residents of a house as the unsanitary conditions continue to build-up in the attic. In addition, they will create holes in your attic which will attract various other critters or cause structural damage, quickly spiraling the situation out of control. There's also always the possibility that a flying squirrel gets into an altercation with a pet or child which can be traumatizing.
How to Humanely Remove Flying Squirrels Without Hiring a Professional
The simplest way of removing flying squirrels without the help of a professional is to use exclusion. To do this, you have to be sure that you've found all the entry points. Block all of the exits off except for one (ideally one they use frequently). It's likely that the squirrels entered through your roof or a vent so be sure to investigate those locations first. Then you just have to install a one-way door in the exit. Once the squirrels exit your house in search of food they'll be stuck outside. Over the course of a few days, the flying squirrels will begin coming out one-by-one in search of food; by the end of a week, your house should be rid of flying squirrels. If this method isn't working, it's likely that the squirrels have an alternate entrance that you haven't sealed up.
Another way to humanely relocate flying squirrels is to trap them. Depending on the state you live in, this may be illegal so be sure to call a professional or do some research to learn about whether or not you should use this method. The best trap to use is a repeating live cage because it will catch and hold multiple squirrels. Simply set up the cage in an exit/entrance, bait it, and watch the squirrels fill up the cage over the course of a week. Be sure to check on them daily and give them food and water. Then simply bring the cage to a forested area and set them free. Make sure that there isn't a designated spot to bring flying squirrels, in some states you're required by law to bring them to certain areas.
If you're hesitant about using traps, there's no shame in calling a professional. They'll cost a bit more money but they will make sure that all of the entrances are sealed, there is no structural damage in your house, and that the squirrels have been taken to a suitable habitat.