Alabama, known for its diverse landscapes and rich biodiversity, is home to a variety of wildlife species. Among the most charismatic and adaptable residents of the state are squirrels. These small, agile creatures are a common sight in both urban and rural areas.
In this article, we will explore the common squirrel species found in Alabama, their habits, and how to peacefully coexist with these natural acrobats. We’ll also cover who to call when living beside these squirrels is no longer an option.
1. Eastern Gray Squirrel
Appearance: Eastern Gray Squirrels are perhaps the most recognizable squirrel species in Alabama. They have a grayish fur coat with a white belly, and their bushy tails are often as long as their bodies.
Habitat: These squirrels are highly adaptable and can thrive in various environments, from woodlands and parks to suburban neighborhoods.
Behavior: Eastern Gray Squirrels are known for their agility and acrobatics. They are excellent climbers, leapers, and even swimmers when necessary. They are active during the daytime, foraging for nuts, seeds, and fruits.
Nesting: Gray Squirrels build nests, called “dreys,” high up in trees. These nests are made of twigs, leaves, and other materials and serve as shelter and protection for their young.
Coexistence Tips: Eastern Gray Squirrels are generally harmless and provide entertainment for nature enthusiasts. To peacefully coexist with them, avoid feeding them intentionally, as it can lead to overpopulation and reliance on human food. Secure garbage cans to prevent scavenging and reduce potential conflicts.
2. Fox Squirrel
Appearance: Fox Squirrels are larger than Eastern Gray Squirrels and have a rust-colored coat with a white face and belly. Their tails are often reddish-brown and tipped with black.
Habitat: These squirrels are commonly found in hardwood forests, urban parks, and open woodlands.
Behavior: Like other squirrel species, Fox Squirrels are skilled climbers and foragers. They primarily feed on nuts, acorns, fruits, and seeds.
Nesting: Fox Squirrels build nests in tree branches or hollow tree trunks. Their nests are made of leaves, grass, and other materials.
Coexistence Tips: Fox Squirrels can be a delight to observe in their natural habitats. If they venture into your garden or property, make sure to secure bird feeders and consider planting squirrel-resistant plants.
3. Southern Flying Squirrel
Appearance: Southern Flying Squirrels are much smaller than their ground-dwelling relatives, with large, dark eyes and a furry membrane that allows them to glide from tree to tree. They have soft, gray-brown fur.
Habitat: These nocturnal squirrels are typically found in mature hardwood forests and wooded areas.
Behavior: Southern Flying Squirrels are primarily nocturnal, coming out at night to feed on nuts, seeds, and insects. They have a unique gliding ability, which enables them to travel between trees in search of food.
Nesting: They often nest in tree cavities, birdhouses, or abandoned woodpecker holes. They may also use nest boxes provided by humans.
Coexistence Tips: Southern Flying Squirrels are rarely seen during the day, and they are not known to be a nuisance to homeowners. Provide nesting boxes to encourage them to stay in your area and enjoy their silent, nighttime flights.
4. Red Squirrel
Appearance: Red Squirrels are small, with a vibrant reddish-brown coat and a white belly. They are often mistaken for Eastern Gray Squirrels, but their size and coloration set them apart.
Habitat: These squirrels are typically found in coniferous forests, where they feed on pine cones and other seeds.
Behavior: Red Squirrels are energetic and territorial in nature. They are excellent climbers and will defend their territories vigorously.
Nesting: Red Squirrels build nests in tree branches, often using leaves, twigs, and moss. They may also seek shelter in tree cavities.
Coexistence Tips: Red Squirrels can be a bit more aggressive and territorial than other species. To coexist peacefully, avoid feeding them and store birdseed and nuts securely to prevent attracting them to your property.
5. Ground Squirrel
Ground squirrels are a group of squirrel species known for their burrowing habits. While several ground squirrel species exist, they are less common in Alabama compared to tree-dwelling squirrels. However, they are worth mentioning for their unique behavior and appearance.
Appearance: Ground squirrels typically have a more compact, ground-dwelling body structure. They are often smaller than tree squirrels and have shorter tails.
Habitat: Ground squirrels prefer open grasslands and meadows, where they dig extensive burrows for shelter and protection.
Behavior: Ground squirrels are known for their digging and burrowing habits. They are social animals, often living in colonies.
Nesting: Their burrows serve as nests and shelter from predators. These burrows can be quite extensive, with multiple entrances.
Coexistence Tips: Ground squirrels are less common in urban areas, but in rural settings, they can sometimes cause damage by digging burrows in lawns or gardens. If they become a nuisance, consult with a wildlife removal professional for humane removal solutions.
Coexisting with Squirrels in Alabama
Squirrels play a vital role in Alabama’s ecosystems by aiding in seed dispersal and contributing to overall biodiversity. To peacefully coexist with these furry neighbors, consider the following tips:
1. Secure Your Home
Properly seal your home to prevent squirrels from entering attics, crawl spaces, or chimneys. Seal any potential entry points to keep them out.
2. Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeders
If you enjoy birdwatching and have bird feeders, invest in squirrel-proof feeders that make it difficult for squirrels to access the seeds.
3. Trim Tree Branches
If squirrels are gaining access to your roof or attic via tree branches, consider trimming the branches to create a barrier.
4. Protect Gardens
If you have a garden, consider using wire mesh or fencing to protect it from foraging squirrels. Plant squirrel-resistant flowers and vegetables.
5. Consult Wildlife Professionals
If squirrels become a persistent problem or are causing damage, consult with local wildlife removal experts. They can provide humane and effective solutions for squirrel removal and prevention.
6. Enjoy Wildlife from Afar
Remember that squirrels are wild animals. While they can be entertaining to watch, it’s best to appreciate them from a safe distance. Do not attempt to handle or feed them.
7. Follow Local Regulations
Observe any local or state regulations regarding the trapping or relocation of squirrels. It’s essential to ensure that any removal or relocation is done ethically and in compliance with the law.
How Covenant Wildlife Can Help You Deal with Squirrel Issues
While squirrels are charming and often delightful to observe, they can sometimes become a nuisance when they invade your home or property. When faced with persistent squirrel problems, it’s essential to seek professional assistance. Here’s how our Covenant Wildlife can help you effectively and humanely resolve squirrel issues:
1. Inspection and Assessment
Our experienced wildlife removal experts will begin by conducting a thorough inspection of your property to assess the extent of the squirrel infestation. We’ll identify entry points, nesting sites, and any damage caused by squirrels. This assessment is crucial to developing a tailored removal plan.
2. Humane Trapping and Removal
We employ humane trapping and removal techniques to capture squirrels safely and without harm to the animals. Our team is trained in handling and relocating squirrels away from your property and into suitable, natural habitats.
3. Exclusion and Prevention
To prevent future squirrel intrusions, we implement exclusion measures. This involves sealing entry points and fortifying vulnerable areas to make it difficult for squirrels to re-enter your home or property. We use materials that are both effective and environmentally friendly.
4. Cleanup and Restoration
Squirrel infestations can leave behind droppings, urine, and damage to your property. Our wildlife removal service includes thorough cleanup and restoration efforts to ensure your home is safe and hygienic once again. We’ll address sanitation concerns and repair any damage caused by the squirrels.
5. Education and Prevention Tips
We believe that knowledge is a powerful tool in wildlife management. Our experts will provide you with valuable information on squirrel behavior, habits, and prevention strategies. By understanding squirrels better, you can take proactive measures to avoid future infestations.
6. Compliance with Local Regulations
Our wildlife removal service is fully compliant with local and state regulations regarding squirrel removal and relocation. We take every step to ensure that our methods align with ethical and legal standards.
7. Emergency Services
In some cases, squirrel issues may require immediate attention, especially if they pose safety hazards or are causing significant damage. Our wildlife removal service offers emergency response options to address urgent squirrel problems promptly.
8. Ongoing Support
Our commitment to our clients doesn’t end with the removal process. We offer ongoing support and advice to help you maintain a squirrel-free environment. We can also discuss long-term prevention strategies to keep squirrels from returning.
9. Peace of Mind
By choosing our wildlife removal service, you can have peace of mind knowing that trained professionals are handling the situation. We prioritize the safety and well-being of both you and the squirrels, ensuring a humane and effective resolution to your squirrel problems.
When squirrels become a problem, it’s crucial to address the issue promptly and professionally. Our wildlife removal service helps you regain control of your home or property by providing efficient, ethical, and comprehensive solutions. Contact Covenant Wildlife today to schedule an inspection and take the first step toward a squirrel-free environment.