Photo of an eastern gray squirrel

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Identifying A Squirrel

Squirrels typically have slender bodies with bushy tails and large eyes. In general, their fur is soft and smooth, however much thicker in some species than others.

The coat color of squirrels is extremely variable between species and what part of the world they are found. They belong to the Sciuridae family, that includes grassy field dogs, chipmunks and marmots.

In a lot of squirrel types, the hind limbs are longer than the fore limbs, while all species have either four or 5 toes on each paw.

The paws, that include a  inadequately developed thumb, have soft pads on the undersides and tough claws for grabbing and climbing up. 11Source Live Science Go To Source

Squirrels That Are Found In Maryland

Five types of squirrels can be discovered in Maryland: red squirrel, gray squirrel, southern flying squirrel, eastern fox squirrel and the Delmarva fox squirrel. All but the Delmarva fox squirrel are common types discovered throughout the majority of Maryland. 12Trusted Source Maryland DNR Go To Source

Each of these squirrels have distinctive colored coats, varied sizes, and habits. Paying close attention to what the squirrels in your back yard look like can aid you in preventing them from taking over your property. 

Red Squirrel 

Image of red squirrel found in maryland

The red squirrel is a rather small-sized tree squirrel, just about half the size of the more common gray squirrel. It’s bushy tail is somewhat slim and nearly as long as the length of its head and body combined.

The coat of the red squirrel is a rusty, reddish-brown color in summer, turning slightly grayer in winter, and the underside is white. In summer, a black stripe is pronounced along its sides, separating the white underside from the reddish, upper body. 

Red squirrels consume a range of nuts, fruits, and seeds, but they choose the green seeds of cone-bearing trees.

These tree-dwelling rodents are nimble climbers and jumpers. They have keen senses of sight, smell, and hearing. When danger is near, they rapidly pull back to the security of the trees. 13Trusted Source Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Go To Source

Gray Squirrel

Their gray coat is a grizzled mixture of white, black and yellow hairs, while underparts are tan and white. Their banner tails are a treasured possession and quite handy in stabilizing throughout aerial movement high above the forest flooring.

They have an alert and active temperament that makes fox squirrels seem like dullards.

Their principal diet plan is based upon mast nuts, acorns, wild berries and fruits. Late summer season foods are wild cherries, hickory nuts, white oak acorns, tulip poplar cones, beechnuts, and dogwood and sassafras berries. 14Trusted Source Indiana DNR Go To Source

Sothern Flying Squirrel

The southern flying squirrel is the smallest tree squirrel in Maryland, sizing in at about 9-10 inches long and weighing 2-4 ounces.

Southern flying squirrels are grayish brown in color with a white belly and have a black ring around their big eyes. A furry fold of skin stretches from the wrist of each front leg to the ankle of each rear leg. This fold of skin is likewise referred to as a patagium and allows the squirrels to glide from tree to tree.

Southern flying squirrels can be discovered throughout Maryland along with throughout the eastern United States, southeastern Canada and parts of Central America. There are at least 10 species of flying squirrels in the U.S.

Southern flying squirrels are mostly granivorous- consuming a variety of seeds and nuts. Preferred foods consist of nuts, acorns and seeds in addition to lichen and fungi. 15Trusted Source Maryland DNR Go To Source

Eastern Fox Squirrel 

photo of eastern fox squirrel eating

The Eastern fox squirrel is 17 -28 inches in length and weigh in between 1 and 2 pounds. Surprisingly enough, their tails make up for over half of their general length.

Fox squirrels spend more time on the ground than other squirrel types and their bigger body size is well adapted for this habit. In the northeastern part of its species, fox squirrels have a grayish upper body with yellow-colored undersides.

The diet of an eastern fox squirrel consists of a variety of nuts, acorns, seeds, fungi, bird eggs, and cambium beneath the bark of small branched trees. They will bury nuts and acorns, but many are never retrieved.

The eastern fox squirrel can be discovered in a varied array of forests. It is frequently discovered throughout the piedmont and western regions of Maryland. Like other squirrels, they nest in tree cavities or develop nests out of leaves in the tree tops. Eastern fox squirrels frequently construct their nests in or near white oak trees, American beech trees, and hickory trees.

Do Squirrels Transmit Disease?

Squirrels are in the rodent family and just like rodents, squirrels can carry diseases that are spreadable to humans. As for dealing with wild animals it’s better to be safe than sorry because you never know what is actually going on with that animal. Popular diseases within squirrel species are:

  • Rabies– Spreadable via scratch or bite and infects the central nervous system 16Trusted Source Center For Disease Control Go To Source
  • Squirrel Pox– A viral disease which produces multiple tumors on the skin 17Trusted Source Michigan DNR Go To Source
  • Tularemia– Caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis found in animals (especially rodents, rabbits, and hares) 18Trusted Source Center For Disease Control Go To Source

Squirrels Entering Your Home

Squirrels go into homes (typically attics) as a substitute to tree cavities and leaf nests. Attics offer a warm, safe nesting area to
raise young.

Squirrels can enter your home through existing holes. This includes chimneys, damaged shingles and holes in the easement of your home.

Squirrels may also chew or scratch their way into you home. They do this on the roof of your home targeting vents and less protected structures. Squirrels can gain access to the roof of a house by jumping from close-by trees or climbing up along wires/cables connected to your home. 19Trusted Source North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Go To Source

How Can Squirrels Damage Your Property?

picture of squirrel damage to home

Squirrel’s most harmful practice is gnawing entryways into attics. When inside, they frequently use insulation or other products found in the attic for nest structure. Sometimes, they chew electrical wiring and cause short circuits and often fires.

Less often, squirrels wrongly wind up in the living area of a house. They discover their route through an open damper in a chimney or travel through the walls to the basement. Squirrels can likewise become caught in chimneys. 

Gray Squirrels raid fruit and nut trees, and periodically veggie gardens. They discover flower gardens extremely appealing, and they consume both flower bulbs and buds. Tree leaves and twigs might be cut from trees for nest structure, and bark chomped away.

Squirrels bury nuts and acorns, sometimes in lawns. The problem emerges not from the burying due to the fact that buried nuts are well hidden. Nevertheless, when the nut is retrieved, the squirrel doesn’t bother to fill out the hole. 20Trusted Source Maryland DNR Go To Source

Trapping & Removing Squirrels From The Property

Trapping of squirrels is difficult and timely procedure. Trapping for the average person can prove to be grueling without the proper equipment or knowledge. Contacting a wildlife trapping professional is advised to remove the squirrels quickly.

The typical removal process is done via exclusion devices. It begins with installing a devices that allows the squirrels to exit but prevents re-entry. Then all other entry points are sealed to force the animals to use the exclusion device. This is the most efficient and humane way to remove squirrels from the attic.

If you’re having problems with squirrels on the exterior of your property, you have to look at what is attracting them. Removing food sources such as bird feeders and pet food will give them no reason to stay. If that doesn’t work contact a animal removal expert for insight on what else is attracting the squirrels. 

Summary: Squirrels have slender bodies with bushy tails, large eyes and have soft/smooth fur. Their paws are equipped with versatile claws that assist the animal is climbing. Maryland is home to 5 squirrel species: red squirrel, gray squirrel, southern flying squirrel, eastern fox squirrel and the Delmarva fox squirrel, but the Delmarva species is rare. 

The red squirrel is a small-sized tree squirrel with a red fur coat that turns grayish in the winter. The gray squirrel is a grizzled mixture of white, black and yellow hairs, while underparts are tan and white with an alert/active temperament. The southern flying squirrel is the smallest tree squirrel in Maryland with a grayish brown color coat with a white belly. Fox squirrels spend more time on the ground than other squirrel types and their bigger body size is well adapted for this habit.

Squirrels are rodents that carry disease spreadable to humans, including: rabies, squirrel pox and tularemia. Squirrels enter homes as a replacement for outdoor dens. They utilize gaps/openings in the home (typically on the roof) to gain access to your home. 

They are known to cause various damage in the attics of homes such as: chewing electrical wires, ripping up shingles, shewing wood, and leaving droppings. Trapping is a difficult task that is recommended to be done by professionals. Utilizing exculison devices allows for humane removal of squirrels from a home. 

 

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