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A squirrel on its own can wreak a seriously impressive amount of damage on a property if it is not stopped. If you thought rats were bad, wait until you have seen a trail of squirrel devastation. Responsible for chewing, scratching, and tearing-off/ripping, squirrels are smart, strong, determined, and have a set of tools that make it a very successful back garden pest. With the cute and fluffy exterior, squirrels get away with more than rats do, and that's what makes them especially dangerous. You're lured in by that adorable fluffiness, only to be met by an angry, hungry, vicious animal that will do anything to defend its family.
It's not just squirrel damage that you need to worry about, although that is a huge part of the problem. Squirrels chew, scratch, and break things, but they also spread disease and they're not too fussy where they spread it. It is rare for squirrels to have rabies, but there is still a chance. Rabies isn't the only concern you have wild animals and disease either — tularemia, salmonellosis, histoplasmosis … the list goes on, and many of them even have the potential to be fatal.
Squirrels can chew through electrical wiring, making your home electrically unsafe and a potential fire hazard, particularly if bald wires touch flammable materials. This can easily happen in an attic — squirrels will chew and move around pieces of insulation, and they'll also chew and move around electrical cables too. Short circuits might be the least of your worries … What if your roof were to be on fire? Electricians aren't cheap either. You might not need to worry about a fire, but what about the cost of having electrical repair work? Or plumbing/heating repairs, if the squirrel were to have chewed through pipes or ducts too.
What if the squirrel manages to chew through wooden beams and other materials? It wouldn't take long before certain areas of your home were entirely unsafe, perhaps even structurally so. These are usually problems associated with long-term pest infestations, but how would you know how long these creatures have been hanging around? Just because you have only just spotted or heard them doesn't mean they haven't been around the entire time.
The thing with wild animals is that they are entirely unpredictable. They even manage to surprise wildlife rehabilitators who have been in the business for many years. Sometimes, even decades. They will find new materials to chew through and new areas of your home to break in via. They'll cause more damage and in different places. They evolve, just like humans did, and plenty of other animals before them. They've already learned to move from wild habitats to more urban ones, mostly to take advantage of the many additional sources of food, but also because of the increased potential nesting/den sites.
In short, a squirrel problem isn't one that you can ignore. If you do, it'll just get worse and more expensive to rectify. There are ways that you can remove a squirrel by yourself, but you'll need to repair all the damage the animal caused too. Some of that damage might be in places you hadn't even thought of looking, but an expert wildlife control officer will. They'll also know the best materials to use to keep the creature out, where to look to make sure there isn't a family of squirrels hiding away somewhere, and they'll have the right tools to get all wild critters out. Perhaps this is a job best left to the professionals?
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does squirrel removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of squirrels - my main squirrel removal info guide.
Example squirrel trapping photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Squirrel job blog - learn from great examples of squirrel jobs I've done.
Squirrels in the attic - what to do to solve the problem.