Why You Should Not Feed Fox, Abert’s, Pine Squirrels or Other Wild Animals in Aspen Colorado
On warm spring days, many of us enjoy going to local parks and feeding wild animals such as squirrels. While we may have good intentions wanting to feed hungry animals, it is important to realize this can actually be harmful to them in many ways. Firstly, the food we tend to feed squirrels likely does not have the nutrients they need. Some food such as corn and peanuts can even be harmful. Feeding squirrels can also cause them to be hit by cars and face other dangers such as fighting and injuring each other in their haste to get food from well-meaning strangers. Another downside is that feeding squirrels can make them lose their natural fear of humans. If squirrels that carry dangerous diseases and parasites such as fleas and mites feel comfortable around people, they are more likely to invade our homes and yards and cause extensive damage and even harm people and pets.
Wild Squirrel Animal Rodent Species Found in Colorado
Squirrels are small to medium sized rodents and are indigenous to the Americas. There are three types of Squirrels commonly found in Colorado; fox, abert’s and pine squirrels.
Fox Squirrels – Fox Squirrels are the largest tree dwelling squirrel. They have rust or brown colored under parts. The fox squirrels tail is a mixture of cinnamon and black hairs and generally about half the length of its body. They have four sets of whiskers. Fox Squirrels are tolerant of humans and thrive in crowded urban and suburban environments. They raid Colorado homes for reliable sources of food, water and nesting sites. Unfortunately they are just as happy nesting in an attic as they are in a tree! They make a lot of different chucking and clucking sounds and will even warn other squirrels of impending danger with distress screams! As you can imagine, in the fall and spring, groups of fox squirrels can make quite a ruckus!
Abert’s Squirrels – Abert’s squirrels range in weight from 20-30 ounces and have tufts of fur that extend out from their ears. Their colors change; from gray and white to all black. Abert’s squirrles are diurnal meaning they are mostly active during the day and return to their nests before sunset.
Pine Squirrels – Pine squirrels are one of the smallest tree squirrels weighing between 5-10 ounces. They are generally reddish-brown with a greyish-white belly, with a black line that runs down their sides.
Squirrel Diseases, Fleas & Mites
Like other rodents such as mice and rats, squirrels can also transmit diseases such as ringworm and tularemia in many ways. It is important not to try to trap, catch or corner a squirrel yourself as they could scratch at or bite you and pass on dangerous diseases. Further, squirrels can carry infected fleas, mites and other parasites that also carry and transmit disease.
Squirrel Damage to Attics & Homes
When squirrels nest in your attic, eaves and crawl spaces, they give many signs as to their unwanted presence. You may hear scratching, pattering and clucking sounds in early morning and daylight hours. Torn insulation, chewed electrical wires and shredded cardboard are also signs squirrels are living in your home. You may also notice tell-tale signs in your yard. Squirrels love to dig, eat plants and steal food from bird feeders and pet food bowls! If you even suspect squirrels in your home, contact a professional pest control company like RAM Pest Control. We will remove the nuisance squirrels and help prevent them from coming back. It’s important to seal up access points as well as remove trash and food sources from your yard.