What Types of Squirrels Come into Yards?

There are three general groups of squirrels that may move into homeowners' backyards. While part of the same family, the pests prefer different habitats and create diverse problems for residents.

Tree Squirrels

Picture of a brown squirrel

Tree squirrels are common across most of the U.S. These bushy-tailed rodents are skilled climbers that build nests in high branches or attics, though they may come down to forage for food.

Ground Squirrels

Unlike their tree-dwelling relatives, ground squirrels build underground nests. In addition to lacking a large, fluffy tail, most ground squirrels are also different from tree squirrels because of their response to danger. When scared, a ground squirrel retreats into its burrow, while a tree squirrel climbs.

Flying Squirrels

Flying squirrel with arms spread wide

Dark, wooded areas are an ideal dwelling place for flying squirrels. The pests are nocturnal and spend most hours of daylight resting in tree holes. Attics and birdhouses also attract this type of squirrel.

Major Squirrel Species

The most common varieties of squirrels in the U.S. are:

  • Gray squirrels - The largest of the common squirrel species, gray squirrels reach about 20 inches long. They are the most widely distributed type nationally.
  • Fox squirrels - Often found in spacious states like Texas and Colorado, these animals prefer open, sunlit ground with plenty of room for foraging and nesting.
  • Black squirrels - This squirrel species is the result of gray and fox squirrels mating. Their dark fur retains more heat, helping them nest in colder areas.
  • Flying squirrels - These secretive animals rarely come into contact with humans. They are smaller than most other types of squirrels, measuring only about 12 inches long, and have a special skin membrane that helps them glide from tree to tree.

Problems & Damage

Regardless of squirrel species or type, these pests can be a nuisance. Ground squirrels dig holes all over lawns, destroying carefully cultivated grass and making ground unstable. Tree and flying squirrels cause issues by nesting in attics and chewing on wiring. The pests also carry a variety of parasites and diseases.

Yards with food sources, like bird feeders, gardens, and nut or fruit trees, are the most likely to have squirrel problems. To deter the pests, fence off gardens, clear away fallen fruit, and block chimneys or other openings that allow entry into the house. Homeowners with frequent problems should contact Trutech for expert help with all types of squirrels.