Both Northern and Southern Flying Squirrels can be found in Massachusetts, so for our purposes we will refer to them simply as Flying Squirrels. These small, nocturnal mammals may very well be the ultimate house pest. They are social creatures who may live in communities of up to 50 in one nest. They are vocal, emitting squeaking sounds when they are communicating. Worst of all, they are active at night when we are trying to sleep. Although activity can be seasonal, established nests will be revisited annually by the same clan. In other words, they won’t go away on their own.
Unlike their name may suggest, these squirrels do not “fly”, but rather glide on a membrane or patagium, a fold of skin that extends from the wrist of the front leg to the ankle of the hind leg. When the front and hind legs are extended, the membrane forms a wing-like gliding surface. The furred, broad and horizontally flattened tail serves as a rudder and stabilizer during glides. The eyes are noticeably large, an adaptation for its nocturnal habits. Besides the loss of sleep that often accompanies their invasion into our homes, they can do an extensive amount of damage to the insulation in our attics and even the exterior of the home. Flying Squirrels will use communal toilets or “latrines”, with all the squirrels defecating and urinating in the same area. This will often cause staining on the exterior of the home from the overflow of their waste. They are very small and can fit through gaps the size of your thumbnail.
Much like other tree squirrels, Flying Squirrels enter our homes through openings in the roofline (soffits, trim boards, fascia, vents). Because of their diminutive size and lack of defenses, they have adapted to a tree-top lifestyle, and therefore will very rarely, if ever, enter a structure on the ground level. When excluding Flying Squirrels, we will carefully and thoroughly inspect the entire roofline for any openings during our initial visit. Any active entry points we discover will be fitted with custom “one-way” check valves (these animals are too timid and lack the physical strength of their larger cousins to consistently use one-way doors). These check valves are designed to allow the squirrels to escape while preventing them from being able to re-enter. All other openings in the roofline will be sealed to prevent re-entry. We use galvanized steel ¼” grid screening or engineered exclusion products to seal all areas. Although their jaws and teeth aren’t as powerful as Gray Squirrels, Flying Squirrels are still able to gnaw through softer materials (like expandable foam). Once the roofline has been proofed and all active entry points fitted with check valves, the first visit is complete. We will return in approximately 1-2 weeks to remove the doors and permanently seal the entry points. On occasion, we may also recommend and propose lethal trapping of the animals in conjunction with the exclusion service. If the roofline is in disrepair, it may make sense to remove the animals to prevent any re-entry attempts at all.