Wildlife Education - Why Squirrels chew on electrical wires and the Dangers it may cause

Why Squirrels chew on electrical wires

There have been very many cases where people have found their electrical wires chewed by squirrels and other rodents. Although there are animals that may take the occasional bite, rodents are known to be characterized by this behavior. What are some of the reasons why squirrels chew on electrical wires?



To control teeth growth
Squirrels, like many rodents, have a hard time controlling the length of their teeth and the speed at which the teeth grow. There are very many disadvantages of having very long teeth in all animals. For example, chewing is very hard when an animal’s teeth are too long. For this reason, squirrels have to constantly chew on the metal wires so that they can slow the rate of teeth growth and also control the length of their teeth. This is why they chew the rubber or plastic covering of the wires and then chew on the hard wires themselves.

To make their teeth stronger
Since squirrels are primarily herbivorous, they need a set of very strong teeth in order to be able to feed on hard grains. For this reason, they chew on electrical wires so that they can strengthen their teeth. This is why both young and old squirrels chew on the wires without an end to the behavior.

To sharpen their teeth
It is very difficult to dig into a hard grain, or a hard plant with blunt teeth. This is why squirrels need very sharp teeth to slice through plants and cut into grains. To sharpen their teeth, they grind them on the hard surface of the electrical wires. Although there are very few reported cases of the damages caused by them, chewed wires are very dangerous. Below are some hazards of squirrels chewing on electrical wires;

Electrocution
Naked wires with a strong current passing through them can electrocute anyone that comes into contact with them. There have been cases of children who are electrocuted by naked wires in their attics. To avoid this, you should cover your wires in steel or strong plastic casings.

Unwanted fires
Electricity is a very notorious cause of many fires in urban areas. People with dry flammable materials like clothing and wood near chewed electric wires are most prone to unwanted fires. You should ensure that electrical wires are covered in a strong material like steel or they are laid in a spot far away from clothes. In case you notice that you have some chewed wires, then you should consider replacing them immediately.

Blackouts
It goes without saying that weak wires can split any time. Squirrels are notorious for chewing on wires too much that they split. This means that electricity cannot flow through them and this may cause blackouts and power shortages.



Why do squirrels chew on wires, and what are the risks? Yes, and the risks can be great for you, your family, and also your home. Exposed electrical wiring in your attic, combined with attic insulation and other nesting materials can make for a catastrophic fire risk. The electrical damage can cause short-circuiting to the wiring in your home, and you may also find that entire sections of attic insulation will need to be replaced. The old stuff can't be left there if the squirrel has come into contact with it, and that's even more so the case if the squirrel's urine and droppings have come into contact with it. The urine, if left there, will release pheromones that will attract other squirrels to the nesting spot, and the droppings can bring with them a whole host of diseases, none of which you will want in your home. Squirrels are chewing animals - that's what they do. Their teeth never stop growing, so they need to gnaw and chew in order to keep them in check, otherwise they'd grow too long. If it's not electrical wiring they're having a good old munch through, it'll be wooden beams and foundations in your attic, or your belongings, safely tucked away in old boxes … or so you thought. If you have priceless and treasured possessions in your attic space, you will definitely want to check them every once in a while to make sure they have fallen prey to squirrels also.

No matter how cute you might think they are Squirrels belong to the family rodentia- same as mice and rats. Just like their lesser attractive cousins, squirrels must chew constantly out of necessity. They would prefer to only chew wood if given the chance, but in a pinch they will certainly gnaw on whatever is handy. If a family of squirrels has moved into your home, this means they will chew through the water pipes, destroy dry wall, tear up laminate, paper, rock, wood, or vinyl siding, and yes, chews through your electrical wires. This is a bad situation for a number of reasons. Everyone can realize the fact that it will cause constant electric wiring shorts and serious wiring problems in your home.

But consider this- Failed lighting and equipment due to chewed wires can be annoying, costly to home owners, create dangers, and can be hard to repair. If the wires are located inside walls you may need to rewire your entire home rather than destroy entire walls to repair existing wiring. Chewed wires can short out and ruin valuable appliances or equipment as well as cause electrical fires. This will occur if the section of chewed and exposed wiring happens to be near flammable material like loose pieces of insulation that is scattered throughout most homes. Squirrels are also notorious for chewing the wiring in pump houses. This can cause your well problems. Squirrels have been known to wreck the wiring in Heating and AC unit wiring boards leaving you with no controlled temperature in drastic weather. They have been accredited with ruining the electric wiring in a variety of vehicles making them inoperable, or dangerous. They can take out the wires in industrial complexes causing problems with control panels that can affect large numbers of people at once.

As you can imagine, all these scenarios can cause any number of deadly repercussions. The only way to prevent these dangers from happening is make sure you are free of squirrels. Like most rodents, their teeth are constantly growing, so for a squirrel, chewing non-stop is a necessity. If you have seen or heard signs of squirrels that might be infesting your home, take action! Chewing on wires is only a portion of your problems. With squirrels you are also prone to have nasty pests like lice and fleas. There are a number of diseases spread by squirrels, and the filth and smell that is a direct result of their urine and feces all over your attic is unhealthy to say the least. They will have babies in your home; they can die in your home. All These problems when combined with the eminent destruction of the exterior of your home while making an entryway, and the destruction of anything located in your attic as they rummage through it looking for food and useable materials make squirrels a most undesirable house guest.

Getting rid of squirrels is not an easy task, and you are better off leaving it to a professional service. If you don't yet have a squirrel problem, that's great! Let's keep it that way. Preventative measures like taking the time to regularly Examine the exterior of your home, Looking for squirrels or their tell tale signs such as droppings or chew marks, and Checking your attic space now can save you a lot of time, money, and trouble later.

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Please be kind to squirrels! They are intelligent animals, and believe it or not, they definitely have emotions!
If you have any questions about squirrels in attics, just email me at david@squirrel-attic.com