Yet while many love to watch a squirrel in their garden they don’t want them inside the house. And too right! I can't leave my back door open in the summer for all the urban wildlife that now have no fear and would come in and cause havoc.
In Britain we have mostly grey squirrels with red squirrels only in some areas of Cornwall, Northumberland and the Lake District.
Squirrels have excellent eyesight and are particularly sensitive to movement. Touch-sensitive whiskers prevent them from bumping into things and those powerful hind limbs enable them to leap to and from heights in excess of 6 metres (20ft).
As a member of the rodent family the teeth grow throughout its life which means regular gnawing is important.
These days squirrels have become incredibly brazen and the one seen here is climbing someone's leg!
It's a bit chilly out, you may have noticed, so squirrels are looking for somewhere warm for the winter and to prepare for nesting as squirrels produce their offspring in January to March (and later in the year from June to August). Your loft/attic/roof space could well be perfect and once they get in they love to gnaw and that could include electrical cables and cause a fire. I've heard some say this is some sort of urban myth that mice/rats/squirrels nibbling on cables can burn your house down but let me assure the friends who came back from a weekend away to find the family home completely destroyed and were left homeless confirmed it is hideously true.
The best course of action is prevention so block-up any holes where they could enter but if they've got in you'll need to fit squirrel traps to catch them. Remember, it's an offence to release grey squirrels back into the wild and once caught in a cage they must be destroyed humanely. It's a different story for red squirrels and they must be released immediately back into the wild.
While I would never wish to encourage you to click on a Daily Mail page this rant by Esther Rantzen is superb. It appears she hates squirrels too and is happy to encourage 'Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells' and the rest of middle England to take up shooting the vermin in their gardens. A north London supermarket was stocking squirrel meat a few years ago so maybe she was onto something.
Apparently the bushy tail of a squirrel is what makes them cute compared to the snake-like tail of a rat or mouse. Even the farmer's wife amputated their tails. Have you ever seen such a sight in your life?
Image credits: Squirrel climbing leg: HeardinLondon & other squirrel pics from J Puglisi, LLC used with permission.