Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Getting Rid of Squirrels Is Tricky Business

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Getting Rid of Squirrels Is Tricky Business

Article excerpt


Dear Readers: A couple of weeks ago, we answered a question from a caller who was having a problem with squirrels living in his attic.

We received a couple of calls from concerned citizens when we used the word "kill" to describe ways to rid the home of these sometimes very troublesome pests. We would like to soften this recommendation while at the same time restate what needs to be done to keep squirrels out of your home.

First and foremost, if you have squirrels living in your attic, you should trap them because it is very difficult to determine when all of them have left the attic to feed.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission provides guidance here by saying: "the landowner may lawfully live-trap or humanely destroy nuisance gray squirrels without a special license or permit."

Be very aware that squirrels can be quite aggressive. It might be advisable to hire an experienced professional to assist you with this. If you cannot tolerate the thought of ending the life of these animals, you might consider maintaining them in them in a suitable cage until time for re-release into your yard. Again, this is not an easy task and not necessarily advisable.

One option sometimes suggested for dealing with trapped squirrels and other wildlife is relocation by special permit, which is granted to licensed trappers. But, again, this is not necessarily the best or most humane treatment.

As noted by Joe Schaefer, Professor and District Extension Director, South Florida: "... relocating animals is not a good option because 1) they may be carrying a disease and moving them will enhance the spread of the disease, and it is impractical to test every caught animal for every disease before releasing; 2) unless you know the population levels at the receiving site you may be disrupting the ecology of the area by artificially increasing the population beyond its natural carrying capacity, which will cause the animals to fight and kill each other, die of starvation, etc. Natural processes are not pretty sights sometimes."

Based on Schaefer's suggestion, we do not recommend relocating trapped squirrels. …

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