Do Squirrels Chew on Electrical Wires?

Across Southern California and much of the United States, squirrels of different types can be found. More often than not people see squirrels scampering across lawns or hopping about on trees. However, squirrels also are apt to take up residence in people’s homes, particularly in attics. If there is a prospect of squirrels entering into your home, or spending time near your residence, you likely have questions about what impact that can have on your property. For example, you may wonder whether squirrels chew on electrical wires.

Squirrels and Electrical Wires

Squirrels have incisors that grow continually throughout their lives. As a consequence, squirrels will gnaw on a wide array of different items. In responding to the query of whether squirrels chew on electrical wires, the simple answer is “yes.” You can better understand this reality by appreciating some basic facts about squirrels. In addition, there are some tactics to employ to protect electrical wires in and around your home.

You do need to keep one troubling fact in mind. 25 percent of all residential fires stem from animals chewing on electrical wires. These wires end up exposed, can spark and cause fires. While most often rats and mice cause this damage that results in fire, squirrels also contribute to this issue because they do chew on electrical wires. 

Basic Facts About Squirrels

Squirrels are mammals that have proven very adaptable when it comes to living in urban and suburban enclaves. Indeed, squirrels have been flourishing in these types of areas for generations. As a consequence, squirrels fairly commonly end up nesting in homes, particularly in attics.

Squirrels have incisors that continue to grow throughout their lives. As a result, they naturally are prone to gnaw on a wide range of different items, including electrical wires. These include electrical wires both outside and inside your residence. Wires of these types are all at risk of being damaged by gnawing squirrels.

Squirrels in Your Home

As mentioned, squirrels can end up calling your home their home. As was also noted, more often than not squirrels nest in attics. They not only take refuge in your attic to stay protected from the elements, females are inclined to nest in attics when pregnant and in need of a safe place to give birth and raise their children.

Many communities have specific ordinances or regulations governing how squirrels can be treated, even if you need to remove them from your home. You need to make sure that whatever tactic you employ complies with the law. More often than not, a person is precluded from trapping and killing squirrels.

Moreover, your sensibilities may be like those of many people and you’ve no desire to trap and kill squirrels. As a consequence, like many individuals, you very well may be best served by hiring a professional to assist you in eliminating squirrels from your attic (or elsewhere in your residence) in a humane manner.

Tactics to Prevent Squirrels From Chewing on Wires

There are a number of tactics or strategies that can be used in an attempt to prevent squirrels from chewing on electrical wires. These include:

  • Spray hot pepper repellent on electrical wires and surrounding areas
  • Cover electrical wires with rodent tape
  • Protect clusters of wire using a conduit
  • Install waterproof, direct-bury wires
  • Use life traps to relocate squirrels

You may find that using a couple of these methods in combination may be the best tactic to protect electrical wires from damage by squirrels.

Cleanup After Squirrel Removal

Squirrel droppings have the potential for carrying germs that can cause illness in humans. As a result, you need to be careful when it comes to potential contact with squirrel droppings. This includes safety precautions that must be followed when engaged in squirrel dropping cleanup.

Once squirrels have been eliminated from your attic, you need to quarantine the space. You need to stay out of the area, unless you are wearing personal protective equipment that includes eyewear, respirator or HEPA mask, gloves, and smock or apron.

You may want to give serious consideration to hiring a professional squirrel dropping cleanup company to assist you in getting rid of squirrel feces after the animals have been removed from your property. A squirrel droppings cleanup company will safely and thoroughly eliminate and remediate the waste associated with these animals rising in your attic or somewhere else in your home.

As part of the remediation process following squirrels in your home, you should undertake a thorough inspection of all electrical wiring squirrels can access. You need to make sure that all electrical wiring in your home is appropriately covered and has not been damaged by squirrel chewing. This is vital to ensure that you don’t experience more significant damage to your residence because of wires exposed by squirrel chewing.