LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

No, You Cannot Live Here

This is a photograph of a Southern Flying Squirrel in his natural habitat. He lives in the cavities of old trees and in prefers conifer woods. The Southern Flying Squirrel is commonly found throughout the entire state of North Carolina. He belongs outside.

The western mountains are also home to the Northern Flying Squirrel, a bit larger than the Southern Flying Squirrel and not found in North Carolina outside the mountains. He also belongs outside.



(Photograph from enature.com)






The flying squirrel does not actually fly. He has skin folds between his front and hind legs that enable him to soar in a parachute-like motion. The squirrel climbs to a high tree and then glides to another tree.





(Photograph from itsnature.org)



We bring in our birdfeeders at night, but we have seen flying squirrels on occasion very early in the morning when we put them back on the deck. http://ncmountainwoman.blogspot.com/2008/09/one-mystery-solved.html
http://ncmountainwoman.blogspot.com/2009/02/caught-him-in-act.html



This summer we have had problems with our standard hummingbird feeders so we have brought them inside as well. Those pesky flying squirrels!

Flying squirrels can enter houses in very tiny areas (as small as 1 inch square!) and once inside they can do massive amounts of damage. While we had no indication they were inside, we hired an exterminator to regularly check our attic spaces. There has been no evidence the squirrels have attempted to come inside.

Very early the other morning, I heard a thump and saw a flying squirrel on the bedroom screen. I stepped out on the deck with the camera to see if I could capture him. Well, I did find him all right. He was hanging half in and half out of a vent under the eaves! He does not belong there.




The little rascal has chewed through the grate and built himself a cozy little nest right there in the vent box. I repeat, he does not belong there. Fortunately, the vent box has a small fan inside and would discourage any animal from moving further than the box itself. (We hope!)

(Photograph from my house!!!)

Now, we will have to find someone who will live-trap the pests and transport them away from here. Then we'll have to spend a small fortune to replace the vent box (which, of course, is very high from the ground and requires special ladders and nerves of steel). In addition, it appears that flying squirrels mark with a very strong scent (at least to other squirrels), so we will have to have the area sprayed to deter others from moving in. I read that one can install strobe lights and that will disturb the squirrels enough to make them move, but somehow strobe lights outside my bedroom window doesn't seem like a good idea. Whatever action we take, we must prevent these rascals from getting into the attic when the vent box feels too chilly this winter.
AND NO! I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU SAY, THEY ARE NOT CUTE!!!

26 comments:

scienceguy288 said...

I can understand why you want to prevent them getting into the attic. I am sure they can spread diseases, etc beyond just destroying items...but I do think they are fascinating creatures. Very cool adaptation.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

How about this? They're cute when they live in the wild in tree cavities? I think theyre'really fascinating critters too but wouldn't want them in my attick either. Our neighbors across the street had a huge family of them in their attic. It took a lot of effort to trap them and yes, they did a LOT of dammage. They had to replace all of the insulation.

robin andrea said...

I agree with Lynne, they are cute when they are in their own natural habitat, and definitely not in your attic or vent box. Trapping and deterrence is the only way to go. Good luck with it.

Rudee said...

Although hideous, they have evolved to have a rather interesting morphology, don't you think? That's as far as I'll go because I agree, I wouldn't want a varmint like this in my home.

They are indeed, not cute.

Dog_geek said...

If I say he's cute, you aren't going to mail him to me, are you?

Busy Bee Suz said...

Wow. I was going to say they are cute, but now I am scared. ;0
What a pain. The downside of living within nature, is living with nature some days. Good luck!
Suz

Dave's Bird Watching Blog said...

They are cute, but you gotta keep the house from getting damaged. We had a raccoon family get into our attic one time and also some regular squirrels inside the walls. Gotta keep 'em outside!

P.S. Like your humor with the picture captions as well. :-)

Twisted Fencepost said...

That made me giggle. Are you trying to convince us or yourself that they are not cute. tee hee
THEY are cute, it's the damage they cause that's not cute.
Darn things, you'd think they would look for a place AWAY from the humans.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

I thought I was the ONLY person on Blogger who doesn't like squirrels --of any kind!!! I DON'T... I have a hissy fit when they get in my bird feeders.

I'm not sure we have 'flying' squirrels. I've never seen one fly... BUT--we have plenty of those old gray squirrels.

We did find something that helps keep them off of our deck... a BIG HUGE squirt gun... Someone told us to try that---and that spray will go several feet... We shoot right through the screen door---and they take off like crazy. Recently, (knock on wood)---we haven't had many around.

You'd laugh seeing George outside with that BIG water gun!!!!

Hugs,
Betsy

Cheryl said...

They are lovely creatures but I am in total agreement with you here. That is your home and they do not belong there.
We have to be very aware of squirrels....they will nest in loft spaces. I love all creatures, but not in my space please.....

Hope you manage to sort the problem out....

KB said...

Yes they are cute! I'm so sorry to have to tell you :)

But, I do understand that this rascal (who has "beady eyes", of course) is going to cause you a lot of trouble so being mad at him makes sense. I hope that it all goes smoothly and easily.

I think that the evolution of those skin flaps for gliding is simply amazing. I've never seen a flying squirrel in action, and I'd like to!

pat said...

it's...a winged rat....

merrilymarylee said...

I agree! One year I stored our Christmas decorations in our Memphis attic and the little bastards ate the noses off my Carolers.

I suppose I should be grateful. My neighbor there stored her winter clothes in a trunk in her attic and when she donned a sweater from the trunk, a Brown Recluse spider bit her on the stomach.

The Thundering Herd said...

We have the Northerns up by us (we live at 4500'). They are cute - outside and in their own world. Plus they drive the dogs NUTS when they sail around.

On the plus side, we don't have the ground squirrels up this high.

I'll trade you a pack of coyotes and a few black bears.

Sam said...

Oh my goodness.. better you than me, because Marge would never leave the house if she knew there was a squirrel of any kind in it. She is squirrel crazy.

Barb said...

I empathize with you! We had to hire a humane trapper who used laser cameras (yes - that high tech!) to determine where "our" squirrels had burrowed into our eves. (We could hear them chewing but couldn't find the hole.) After finally determining where the nest was, we had to make sure there weren't babies. Then, the squirrels were trapped and taken to a deserted mining cabin off a nearby pass which the trapper felt was suitable for them. Of course, we also had to have the holes closed which entailed high ladders and skilled workers. This happened twice but thankfully not this year - maybe the word has gotten out about the miner's cabin.

KGMom said...

Ah, the eternal battle between humans and other beasts.
No, flying squirrels can't live in your house...but methinks they don't understand your message.

Jayne said...

OH my! I agree with everyone else. They are cute when they don't take up residence at your house. Hope you can deter his coming back Carolyn.

Beth said...

I wouldn't think of them as cute either if they were peering at me from inside a part of my house. Actually, that one looks a little evil with those glaring red eyes.
Sort of like The Squirrel From the Black Lagoon.:-) And the thought of a rodent in my house that can chew through metal---*Shudder*

Cicero Sings said...

Squirrels and houses ... not a good mix. And I agree about the strobe lights outside your bedroom window ... not a good idea!!

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

I know what you mean about those flying squirrels. We've had some to get into our basement and they fly all over the place knocking vases off the table and breaking things. They are really hard to get out of your basement. I can understand why you want them out of your attic. They are cute when they are outside in the woods. Have a great weekend.

JeanMac said...

Enjoyed your pictures and can understand your concern.

troutbirder said...

Little terrorists methinks!

Bill S. said...

Each animal has its place in this world - invading our home is not a good place. Squirrels in my bird feeders are also a no - no.

Tina said...

Oh this doesn't sound good! Yuk. No I don't think I want these guys living around me either..good luck with getting rid of him and his perfume!!

George said...

I hope that is as close as a flying squirrel (or any other squirrel) gets to being in your house. Squirrels are cute in trees, but not in bird feeders or homes.