The Good Side of Bad Pests: Squirrels

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There’s no doubt about it: squirrels are one of the most annoying critters in the country. They get into your trash, break into your attic, steal food, and gnaw on just about anything they can get their hands on. And they’re dang bold about everything that they do. Still, as we understand it, even the most annoying, seemingly pointless animals and insects have some kind of role to play in the ecosystem of their region. So what exactly is it that squirrels are bringing to the table that justifies their existence? We did some research, and some of the answers might surprise you.

 

They're Nature's Gardeners 

Squirrel burying an acorn

 

According to the University of Florida, squirrels have an incredibly important role in forest ecosystems. How is that? The answer is...unusual. Basically, squirrels are seed eaters; seeds are their main nutrient source. So naturally, squirrels often have seeds on hand. Squirrels will take these seeds they collect and bury them to hide them from other squirrels, birds, etc. 

But here’s where things get bizarre. When squirrels go back to get their hidden seeds they usually forget where they buried them. This is an actual, consistent behavior of their species. So, having buried the seeds and then completely forgetting where they put them, they have accidentally planted a seed. By planting the seeds, squirrels are unintentionally expanding and diversifying the foliage of forests that they live in. This behavior is called “caching”. Odd, and almost unbelievable, but it’s true; squirrels are key to the survival of our forests.

 

They’re an Important Food Source

Squirrel facing off with an owl, one of its prdators

 

This one is a little bit harder to stomach, but it’s true; squirrels are eaten up by other animals, which is important to the survival of those predators. Which animals eat squirrels? Here is a shortlist of just a few: 

  • Hawks 
  • Owls 
  • Snakes 
  • Coyotes
  • Weasels 
  • Foxes 
  • Wildcats

We Wouldn’t Have Truffles Without Them

Squirrel digging for truffles

 

According to the Montana Natural History Center, squirrels play an important part in the survival of truffles. Truffles grow underground, which means that they can’t spread their fungi through the air the way that, say, a mushroom does. Instead, they rely on critters- like squirrels- to spread their spores. Truffles are an important part of specifically the northern flying squirrels diet, and when those squirrels poop out the truffles (yep) it allows the truffle spores to spread, and propagate. So the next time you're having some truffles, remember that you have squirrels to thank!

 

So Squirrels are Important, But…

 

That doesn’t mean that you want squirrels in your yard, and especially not in your home. That’s where Thomas Pest Services come in. We have a 3 step squirrel removal process:

  1. Inspection. After a thorough inspection and analysis, we determine the following: where the squirrel is living, where it’s getting entry, what can be done, and how we can prevent the situation from becoming a recurring problem.

  2. Removal. We will rid your home of squirrels that have taken refuge in your attic, crawlspace, chimney flue or have found their way inside your walls or under your home, using industry-accepted wildlife trapping and removal methods. Our goal is to safely capture the critters while minimizing any distress and further damage by utilizing traps, placing deterrents or by exclusion.

  3. Damage Repair. Once removed, we will property identify where squirrels are gaining entry and develop a custom-tailored plan to prevent a future problem. Thomas Pest Services also has the ability to clean, sanitize the area consisting of droppings, urine, nesting, and feed sites.

And don’t worry! At Thomas Pest Services, we understand how important squirrels are to the ecosystem, no matter how annoying they may be; that’s why our wildlife control experts are trained to deal with any squirrel problems in a way that is safe and humane, whether it be capture and release or eviction and prevention. 

If you’re having trouble with squirrels, don’t wait to get in touch to schedule your free estimate

 


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