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;

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.

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.

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