When you’re out enjoying a hike in the woods, spotting squirrels in the trees is expected. However, no one wants squirrels in their house, and one of the first signs is spotting their poop. This article will show you how to identify squirrel poop and what to do next if squirrels have infested your attic.
Squirrel poop is 1/8 wide and 3/8 inches long and oval. It is black, brown, or red, depending on the squirrel’s diet. Squirrel feces should be cleared up, especially indoors, as they can cause diseases and illness. If unsure how to remove it, please call a professional.
It’s fascinating to learn about animals and their behaviors, so let’s take a closer look at squirrel poop and how it differs from other animal feces. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what kind of shapes and sizes of poop can be expected and their color variation so you can identify them.
What Do Squirrels Eat?
Squirrels in the wild exhibit impressive eating agility; their appetites encompass various sources, ranging from plants to animals. On any given day, they might be eating seeds, nuts, fruit, and fungi – occasionally indulging in insects or small vertebrates. With a knack for cleverly burying and caching, squirrels are the ultimate seed hoarders. By scurrying up trees to extract nuts and other tree seeds like acorns or hickory nuts, they show resourcefulness in their diet of staples – especially when it comes to grass seeds from annual flowers.
Wild squirrels are gourmands, indulging in various plant matter from sweet berries to earthy mushrooms and truffles. They may even be foraging around bird feeders or fruit trees, hoping to snag the perfect snack.
Under usual circumstances, squirrels enjoy a healthy diet of plants and nuts. Yet when food becomes scarce, they may take to unconventional sources such as insects or eggs – making them the pretty enterprising eaters.
A squirrel’s diet is surprisingly reliant on its environment, with the specific items eaten changing across seasons. In the fall, they become preoccupied with gathering and storing supplies to last them through winter. During spring and summer, more diverse food sources are typically accessible, allowing for a more excellent range of dietary options.
What Is The Size and Color Of Squirrel Poop?
Squirrel droppings are about 1/8 inch in size and 3/8 inches long. Squirrel feces are generally dark colors because of their diet and can be found in black, brown, or red.
Therefore, squirrel poop often contains leftovers from the squirrel’s meal, including undigested pieces of nuts, seeds, shells, fruits, and vegetables.
Their diet will have an impact on the color of their feces. Squirrels living on a diet of fruit and berries will often have a much redder shade, while others who live on nuts and acorns will have darker poop.
The size of squirrel poop depends on the squirrel’s diet and even the time of the year, with a varied diet resulting in larger droppings. As with all animals, feces are what is left of the food they eat after the digestive system has absorbed its nutrients and fluids.
The contents of the poop will give an idea of what the squirrel has eaten. Parts of insects can often be found in squirrel poop, with the legs of caterpillars and wings of butterflies easily spotted.
Can Squirrel Poop Be Harmful?
Squirrel droppings may contain parasites or bacteria that can lead to mild illnesses or serious diseases. Research suggests that the squirrel feces available outdoors carry zoonotic risks such as salmonella and tularemia.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial condition spread through many rodents’ urine and feces. This can cause flu-like symptoms and respiratory problems.
Although there is no need to panic, it is essential to take precautionary measures when dealing with squirrel poop by wearing gloves, avoiding contact with your skin by wearing long-sleeved clothing, and washing your hands after managing a squirrel nesting area.
Because of the problems with contracting a disease from a squirrel, it is often best to ask a professional to remove squirrels from your house.
Cleaning Up Squirrel Feces
It is essential to properly clean up squirrel poop to prevent the spread of disease or infection. Squirrel feces can contain harmful bacteria and should not be handled with bare hands, so it is essential to wear gloves and cover your arms as you pick up and remove the droppings.
Bag all the feces, tie off the bag, label it, and dispose of it at an approved landfill site. Try not to dispose of them at home as they can smell strongly and may draw other animals in.
Sanitize the affected area with an anti-bacterial sprayer available in most stores, followed by a thorough vacuuming of the space. If you don’t get rid of everything, the smell will linger, and other animals will come in to investigate.
Finally, eliminate access points into your property, so squirrels don’t enter these areas again.
How To Keep Squirrels Away From Your House
Squirrels can be persistent, annoying pests for homeowners, often looking for food and nesting material in homes.
There are several steps to keep squirrels away effectively. These include using
- Scare tactics, such as loud noises or motion-detector lights
- Block the entranceways into your home
- Use repellents with solid odors
Squirrels are sensitive creatures and often start running when they hear a loud noise. The cheapest and easiest way to get rid of squirrels in your attic is to bang pots and pans together or play loud music. Although this may only work in the short term, it allows you to clean up their mess, making them less likely to return.
I have had great success with stopping animals with motion detectors. I have used the Broox solar animal repeller for a few years and have seen a reduction in pests around my home.
They are humane, use no chemicals, and the one I use is waterproof with a range of up to 20 feet. I recommend this solar animal repeller, as it works well.
Ensure that you don’t leave any access points around your home open. Although squirrels are unlikely to use doors or windows, it is not unheard of. However, many people have small openings or cracks around their houses that they don’t think an animal could get into.
If an animal can get its head through a hole, it can generally get the rest of its body through. A squirrel can get through a gap of 1 1/2 inches, so even the most minor gaps need to be closed up, especially in winter.
Squirrels have sensitive noses and can often be deterred from entering your property with a strong odor. Sprays made of garlic or peppermint oils can easily be made at home but can also be purchased, such as these humane, natural pouches at Amazon.
While squirrels may seem harmless, they can cause significant and expensive damage to a building over time if left unchecked. Following these steps will help ensure squirrels stay away from your home.
Difference Between Squirrel and Rat Feces
Rats and squirrels are the most common home intruders, so it is essential to tell the difference in their feces.
When looking for evidence of rats or squirrels in a home, feces can be one of the telltale signs. Rats produce droppings that look like dark grains of rice and measure between 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch long, whereas squirrels have wider droppings measuring up to 1/4 inch wide and 3/8 inches long.
Rat droppings are typically pointed on both sides and thicker in the middle, while squirrel poop has softer, oval sides. Another difference between these animals is that rats leave their feces scattered throughout an area, while squirrels tend to organize their droppings in one place.
Rats generally leave evidence of their presence on walls and along baseboards, while squirrel scat can often be found below trees or near roofs and decks.
Where Do Squirrels Poop?
Squirrels will often select a spot on the ground where they feel safe and protected and use this area as their regular spot. Squirrel poop can usually be found around bird feeders and the base of trees.
Squirrels are one species where the mother uses her mouth to carry her offspring’s poop away from the nest. This helps to keep the smell away from the nest and protect her litter from predators.
Because of this act, young squirrels can only urinate and defecate after being stimulated by the mother licking around their genitals.
References and Further Reading
Journal of Parasitology – Ectoparasites of Gray Squirrels in Two Different Habitats
Wildlife Online – Squirrel Behaviour – Scent-marking
AVMA – Leptospirosis
Bryan Harding is a member of the American Society of Mammalogists and a member of the American Birding Association. Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Bryan serves as owner, writer, and publisher of North American Nature.