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For excellent results use Barons Brand "Squirrel Butter". This product has year round appeal and still holds the squirrels attention even when other foods are readily available. This product is attractive to all species of squirrels. Squirrel Butter will not get rancid like peanut butter thus eliminating the job of cleaning out old rotten bait. If your goal is to catch squirrels and take the guess work out of what to use for bait,look no further.
Scott's Tip: Put a spoonful of bait on a piece of bread, fold over and place in bait compartment. The bait will stay clean and fresh for several days, even when the bread dries out. After a catch just leave it there for the next squirrel to be caught.
General Biology, Reproduction, and Behavior
Fox and gray squirrels breed when they are 1 year old. They breed in mid-December or early January and again in June. Young squirrels may breed only once in their first year. The gestation period is 42 to 45 days.
During the breeding season, noisy mating chases take place when one or more males pursue a female through the trees.
They nest in tree cavities, human-made squirrel boxes, or in leaf nests. Leaf nests are constructed with a frame of sticks filled with dry leaves and lined with leaves, strips of bark, corn husks, or other materials. Survival of young in cavities is higher than in leaf nests. Cavities are the preferred nest sites.
About 3 young comprise a litter. At birth they are hairless, blind, and their ears are closed. Newborns weigh about 1/2 ounce (14 g) at birth and 3 to 4 ounces (84 to 112 g) at 5 weeks. Young begin to explore outside the nest about the time they are weaned at 10 to 12 weeks. At weaning they are about half of their adult weight.
Home range size depends on the season and availability of food. It may vary from 1 to 100 acres (0.4 to 40 ha). Squirrels move within their range according to availability of food. They often seek mast-bearing forests in fall and favor tender buds in elm and maple forests in the spring.
During fall, squirrels may travel 50 miles (80 km) or more in search of better habitat. Squirrel populations periodically rise and fall. During periods of high populations, squirrels--especially gray squirrels--may go on mass emigrations. At such times many animals die.
Fox and gray squirrels are vulnerable to numerous parasites and diseases. Ticks, mange mites, fleas, and internal parasites are common. Squirrel hunters often notice bot fly larvae (called “wolves” or “warbles”) protruding from the skin. These fly larvae do not impair the quality of the meat for eating. Squirrels are a food source for hawks, owls, snakes, and several mammalian predators. Predation seems to have little effect on squirrel populations.
Typically about half the squirrels in a population die each year. In the wild, squirrels over 4 years old are rare, while in captivity individuals may live 10 years or more.
The biology of other North American squirrels has much in common with that of fox and gray squirrels, although most other species have one breeding season per year. Flying squirrels are unique in that they are active at night. All other species are active during the day.
Grey,Red and Flying Squirrels commonly enter houses either by chewing holes along the facia or in dormer corners, or by entering any existing gaps 1-2 inches in diameter. Once inside they may chew on electrical wiring or phone lines, displace or pac down insulation, and make noise with their activities. The best way to rid yourself of squirrel problems is to first remove the problem squirrels and then patch holes to prevent further problems. Trimming any trees away from the house is also a good idea. For traps,attractants, and a video on solving squirrel problems in your house see menu below.
Squirrels may occasionally damage forests trees by chewing bark from branches and trunks. Pine squirrels damage Ponderosa pine, jack pine, and paper birch. In the Southeast, fox squirrels damage loblolly and other pines.
These species and others may eat cones and nip twigs to the extent that they interfere with natural reseeding of important forest trees. This is a particular problem in Ponderosa pine forests where pine squirrels may remove 60% to 80% of the cones in poor to fair seed years. In forest seed orchards, such squirrel damage interferes with commercial seed production.
In nut orchards, squirrels can severely curtail production by eating nuts prematurely and by carrying off mature nuts. In New England fruit orchards, pine squirrels may eat ovaries of cherry blossoms and destroy ripe pears. Pine, gray, and fox squirrels may chew bark of various orchard trees.
In residential areas, squirrels sometimes travel power-lines and short out transformers. They gnaw on wires, enter buildings, and build nests in attics. They frequently chew holes through pipelines used in maple syrup production.
Squirrels occasionally damage lawns by burying or searching for and digging up nuts. They will chew bark and clip twigs on ornamental trees or shrubbery planted in yards. Often squirrels take food at feeders intended for birds. Sometimes they chew to enlarge openings of bird houses and they enter to eat nestling songbirds. Flying squirrels are small enough to enter most bird houses and are especially likely to eat nesting birds.
In gardens, squirrels may eat planted seeds, mature fruits, or grains such as corn.