Midcoast Wildlife Specialists
Flying Squirrels – The Pesky Critters
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Flying Squirrel Problems In The State Of Maine
The Midcoast Wildlife Specialists crew is here to help Maine homeowners get rid of flying squirrels and all sorts of other wildlife. We can provide the service to evict flying squirrels from your Maine home or attic with a 2 year minimum guarantee or warranty.
Eradication Of Flying Squirrels From Attic
Live-Exclusion works best for Northern Flying Squirrels. Exclusion jobs are done by installing one-way cones over the entry point the flyers are utilizing to get into the attic, and once they pass through this device at dusk, they will not be able to get back inside. The Northern Flying Squirrel will generally use openings in construction to enter your house, instead of chewing holes in fascia boards or soffit like common squirrels will. During the exclusion process all exposed entrances into the attic will be sealed off in conjunction with installing the one-way devices. This process is very similar to bat exclusion.
Trapping methods may also be used depending on our inspection report. But in our experience, live-exclusion works best for flying squirrels.
Species, Behavior, & Biology Of Flying Squirrels In Maine
There are 2 species of flying squirrels in the U.S., the Northern Flying Squirrel & Southern Flying Squirrel, with the Northern’s being the native species of Maine & the rest of New England. Flying squirrels are colonizing mammals, meaning they travel in packs within a colony or group. Most packs consist of between 10-20 individuals, but we’ve encountered homes in Maine that are completely infested with flying squirrels, with the total count of some colonies reaching over 80 members. During the winter months, the Northern species will share nests with other flying squirrel groups. Flying squirrels do not hibernate or enter torpor states during the winter, but they will congregate together to share thermal body temperatures. In other words, they make one big cuddle ball with each other to make it past the harsh winters here in Maine.
Despite their name, flying squirrels cannot actually fly. They leap from high branches or structures and spread their furry wing flaps to glide through the air, which is why some people refer to them as “gliding squirrels” instead. They are also proficient climbers and can access a rooftop by climbing overhanging tree limbs, wood siding, open corners by foundations, and sometimes they will even travel through gutter spouts. Flying squirrels are active year-round. They do not enter hibernation or torpor during winter, but they limit their activity during cold periods to preserve their reserves of body fat.
Identifying Flying Squirrel Problems VS. Other Critters In Your Attic
Homeowners can sometimes mistake flying squirrels for other pests such as mice, bats, or common squirrels. Identification of droppings is generally needed to confirm flying squirrel problems. However, there are a few indicators to rule out other potential pests.
Mice VS. Flying Squirrels
The sounds mice and flying squirrels make can be the toughest to differentiate for the untrained general public. Flying squirrels will feed on mice, it’s one of their primary diets during the winter, which is a big reason why flying squirrels are attracted to attics in the first place. Much of the activity you hear in the attic will actually be the flying squirrels chasing after the mice. There are 2 signs that may separate the 2 animals. Obviously Flyers are bigger than mice, so naturally they will be louder. The most distinctive tell tale sign, besides identifying droppings, is hearing vocalizations made by the flying squirrels.
Bats VS. Flying Squirrels
Bats are also nocturnal, but there is a big difference in sound between bats & flyers. Bats can sometimes be heard scratching on drywall as they crawl between walls voids & ceiling. Flying squirrels make a patter-patter scurrying sound that is very different than isolated scratching, and it’s much louder than what a bat would be capable of.
Common Red & Grey Squirrels VS. Flying Squirrels
Flying squirrels are nocturnal, and unlike common red and grey squirrels, you will primarily hear flying squirrels scurrying around your attic throughout the night, usually between 10PM-5:30AM, with 1-4AM being most their most active hours. Common squirrels are active after 6:30AM, but no earlier.
click the thumbnail to learn about the different droppings
- Bat Guano
Bat droppings are generally found stuck to walls or on the ground under holes where bats enter buildings, or in piles in roost sites. Bat droppings will have a shiny speckled and rough appearance (from all the insect wings) and will crumble like dust when touched. (Just a word of caution about bat droppings. They can carry a fungus known to cause Histoplasmosis. Don’t breathe the feces and avoid contact with them. Ideally, you should wear a HEPA filter mask and spray the fecal material down with 10% bleach solution)
- Mouse Droppings
Mouse droppings ranges in size from 3/16 to ¼ inch long — similar to a grain of rice, with pointed ends and color varying from blackish brown to gray depending on how old it is and the diet of the mouse. Fresh droppings are black, turning brown over the next week, and changing to grey over time. If a rodent has consumed pesticide from a bait station, the droppings may be the same color as the bait. Older rodent droppings will crumble upon contact, while fresh droppings will be soft and malleable (never touch droppings with your bare hands).
- Squirrel Droppings
Squirrel droppings are cylindrical or rounded, up to 8mm in diameter, generally deposited at random but can accumulate at favoured feeding site, such as a bird table. Squirrel droppings usually have softer, more circular sides. Squirrel droppings usually appear in clusters in certain spots. It’s not common to see squirrel droppings all over the place — they are, for the most part, much more discreet.
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