Tag Archives: illinois squirrels

Fat Squirrels in Chicago

Fat Squirrels in Chicago
Do the squirrels in your yard look a little plump to you this year? Maybe even fat?

If you have noticed the squirrels in Chicago are getting bigger then it’s not just your imagination. In fact, the squirrel population in Chicago has increased because of two straight mild winters and fewer squirrels freezing to death.

November was very mild, giving squirrels plenty of time to feast and stock up on food. Most of December was very mild as well, with no significant snowfall or cold weather until the last week of the month.

These factors have given the squirrels plenty of time to gorge themselves.

Late December and early January is peak fat squirrel season.
Tree Squirrel, SquirrelsIt’s their natural instinct to eat as much as possible in late fall. It’s natural to think that squirrels would be skinnier in winter, and they will be by spring, but in early winter they are fattened up.

Squirrels are fatter than ever right now. They don’t have a Tom Skilling to talk to them about the weather; they need to get ready for winter, and the best way to store calories is on themselves.” – – Squirrel expert and founder of Project Squirrel Steve Sullivan.

Squirrel diets consist of high-fat nuts such as acorns and walnuts, as well as berries, fruits, worms, and insects. In fall they will also eat unpicked garden vegetables and plenty of corn, gourds, and punkins from homeowners fall displays.

You may have seen them eating from bird feeders and been frustrated with squirrels digging up and eating your flower bulbs.

Squirrel eating pumpkinThey will basically try almost anything, especially when other food is not easily available. Squirrels have been known to put down whole hamburgers, potato chips, slices of pizza and other fatty human foods.

Some Chicago squirrels have been known to run right up to people and eat food out of their hands. It is rare, but they have even been known to attack their human enemies.

There are over 265 species of squirrel worldwide. The two common squirrels in Chicago are gray squirrels, which have gray fur, white bellies and tails, and the fox squirrel, which are brownish with an orange rust-colored belly and a black-fringed tail.

Both speeches have rarely lived next to one another in the Chicago metropolitan area. While gray squirrels resided in wealthier neighborhoods, fox squirrels preferred less affluent areas.

Squirrel in atticThey build their nests high up in trees to keep away from predators and in areas that they find to be warmer than the outdoors, for example, your attic. Squirrels have been known to cause thousands of dollars in damages to roofs and attics and even start fires by chewing on electrical wires.

Related: Protect your home from animals in winter

You don’t want those fatties in your home

If you find out that you have squirrels in your attic, then you’re going to have to remove them from your home. It’s cold outside, but wild animals belong in the wild. Squirrels are wild animals, not pets, even if you are one of those people who find them cute.

If squirrels are in your attic, then they are also likely to raise a family there, and then you’ll have anywhere from 4-8 squirrels in your attic causing mayhem. It’s not something you want to deal with and they can be a threat to your health and safety.

Attic restorationDo you need help removing a squirrel from your home?

Attic Solutions can provide you humane squirrel removal services in the Chicagoland suburbs. 

We can also safely restore and sanitize your attic to remove dangerous contaminants.

For a limited time, get a 10% discount when you mention coupon code WEB10%

Satisfaction guaranteed!

Can I Keep a Squirrel for a Pet in Illinois?

In this post, we’ll discuss whether you can or should keep a squirrel as a pet in the state of Illinois.

This is a funny question for us because we’re not necessarily the biggest fans of squirrels around here.

Sure, they give us plenty of business. We have to remove squirrels from attics, patch holes in siding and soffit, and clean up the messes they leave behind. They sure can keep us busy!

Then there’s the worst thing about squirrels, which is that thousands of home fires a year are caused by squirrels chewing wires. We consider that reason alone to not invite a squirrel into your home.

For other people though, they see the squirrel as having a cute little face, a delightful fluffy tail and tiny little hands they use to pick up and gnaw on food.

So even though we are most frequently asked how to get rid of a squirrel and how to squirrel proof your home, there are still people who want to know… 

Can you keep a squirrel as a pet?

The short and easy answer is NO. 

Thank you squirrelSquirrels are wild animals, and in the state of Illinois, nearly all wildlife is protected under the Wildlife Code (Section 2.2) and cannot be held in captivity. The only exception is if are if you are a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

In Illinois, it is not even legal to kill or trap a squirrel without a hunting license or a nuisance animal removal permit.

Related: Do I Need a Permit to Remove a Nuisance Animal in Illinois?

To be clear, keeping a squirrel as a pet is illegal in Illinois.

Squirrels were once kept as pets in the 18th and 19th centuries by humans, but they didn’t make very good pets and the wildlife laws have changed since then to reflect our modern standards.

There are many animals which are not only legal to keep as pets, but much safer, predictable and ultimately more rewarding than a squirrel.

Reasons not to keep a squirrel as a pet

Squirrels are wild animals – They are not domesticated animals like dogs and pets. Wild animals will be happiest when they are free in the wild, not confined to a cage or your home. Many people would say it is unethical to keep a wild animal as a pet.

They have sharp claws – Their claws are evolved to pierce bark and allow them to climb trees. Imagine what those claws can do to your skin, clothing, and furniture.

Tree SquirrelSquirrels can bite without warning – Domesticated animals like dogs have evolved to possess a “bite inhibition reflex”. They know that they’re not supposed to bite, that biting is “bad”. For a wild animal like a squirrel, if they get the thought to bite, they will. There is no counter-thought in their brain to say that “biting is bad”.

You will be bitten and scratched – See the above reasons. People who have kept squirrels as pets are inevitably bitten and scratched many times. Professional handlers will usually where protective clothing. Remember, these are wild animals after all.

Squirrels will taste anything – They may take a bite out of anything they see that looks like it might be food including furniture, shoes, wallpaper, drywall, plastics, toys or anything. And unlike dogs, they can climb their way to reach almost anything.

Their diet is more varied than you realize – We all think of squirrels as nut eaters but that is only part of their diet. In the wild, they will eat a varied diet of berries, fruits, vegetables, insects, and worms. If you want a healthy squirrel you need to commit to feeding them like this.

Squirrels can not roam your house free – You would have to keep a squirrel in a cage most of the time. They are intensely curious and highly mobile. You will not be able to keep them out of trouble or contain their destructive tendencies if they are roaming your home freely. It won’t be safe for you or for them

It is illegal to own a squirrel – If nothing else convinces you, it is illegal to keep a squirrel as a pet. You will be facing a $1500 fine from the state of Illinois, as well as potential fines from your county or city and if you don’t own your home, potential eviction from your landlord.

Instead of trying to keep a squirrel as a pet, a safer alternative is to try and befriend a wild squirrel. They are tolerant of humans and can learn if you are a friendly human. Many people have trained wild squirrels to come to their porch for a snack, even to take food from your hand. You’ll still need to be careful but you and your home will be at less risk.

Wild animals should be kept in the wild. They’ll be happier and safer, and so will you. 

If you need a licensed animal removal service to humanely remove a squirrel from your home or business anywhere in Chicagoland, please email or phone us at (847) 464-1861.


Image Source – Wikipedia Commons

 

Illinois Squirrels

There are four different species of squirrels that occur in Illinois. All of these mammals have long, bushy tails, long hind feet, and can be found in wooded areas. Illinois squirrels are found throughout the state, in wooded forest areas and urban areas. Deforestation and urbanization has diminished some of the squirrel population but they remain common.

illinois squirrels

Fox squirrel: The fox squirrel is the largest species of tree squirrel native to North America. In Illinois, they are generally a brown gray or brown yellow color, with orange underside. They thrive in areas with trees that produce nuts. This species is spends more time on the ground than other types of squirrel. Fox squirrels are relatively solitary creatures and spend much time alone.

illinois squirrels

Eastern gray squirrel: This tree squirrel is native to the eastern range of North America. These squirrels have mostly gray fur but white undersides. Occasionally black and white individuals can be found in urban areas within certain populations. The gray squirrel is crepuscular, meaning they’re most active during early and late hours of the day while avoiding middle of the day heat.

illinois squirrels

Red squirrel: Red squirrels area sometimes referred to as chickarees. They can be found only in north Eastern part of the Illinois, especially near the Kankakee and Iroquois Rivers. This species prefers to eat the seeds of conifer cones. They are known for their smaller size, red fur and white underside. This species has a very high morality rate, as only about 22% reach one year of age.

illinois squirrels

Southern flying squirrel: The southern flying squirrel is one of the only flying squirrel species found in North America. They are quite common in southern Illinois, but can be found statewide. They have brown gray fur and cream undersides. Their furry membrane that extends between front and rear legs allows them to glide through the air. These highly social squirrels have been known to forage for food and glide together in large groups.

If any of these Illinois squirrels are making a home in your attic or other buildings on your property, do not hesitate to call animal control to remove them safely.