Camp Lejeune fighting back squirrel nuisance

16 Mar 2011 | Lance Cpl. Victor Barrera

Squirrels: too many times they are seen as cute, fuzzy, friendly animals that run around collecting acorns and playing tag with each other. But to some, they are a menace with a penchant for car rubber and bird feeders.

Squirrels throughout Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune have been known to damage service members’ cars and create havoc in one’s lawn. They chew on brake lines, gas lines and wires which, can cause damaged or disable a vehicle and be costly to fix.

“They like to chew on plastic and rubber because it helps them with sharpening their teeth,” said Chad Garber, a wildlife biologist with the Land and Wildlife Resources Branch, Environmental Conservation Branch, MCB Camp Lejeune. “They can also get into buildings if there is an access point.  Once they are in they can cause damage to the building, create a nest and produce a litter in the spring.’

To help protect vehicles and homes, squirrel traps, designed to capture the animals alive, have been laid out in areas that have been greatly affected by these pests. For residents who wish to also fight back, Garber offers advice.

“Keep lawns clean and clear of debris, (because) squirrels also tend to chew on anything that is on the ground and debris can attract more,” said Garber. “For people that have bird feeders, buy squirrel proof ones and clean up any mess that falls to the ground which can also attract squirrels.”

If a lawn has something that the squirrel can chew on or hide in, they are more apt to hang out near that area. Another thing that is recommended for short-term relief from squirrels is Shake–Away, an organic pest repellent.

For a squirrel that has made an attic their home, Garber advises that they find the entry hole and get the proper personnel to quickly patch it up.

“It’s also recommended that tree branches don’t come too close to the house, as squirrels can easily leap from those locations,” said Garber. “If someone has a garage, parking their vehicles in there can also help alleviate the risk of having car wires chewed on.”

Another option available to residents is the Land and Wildlife Resources section. The section can go out to an area that is under constant attack from squirrels, and once they have surveyed the area they may apply traps. Once the furry pests are caught, they are removed from that location and taken to an undeveloped area, usually near ranges where they cannot harm anyone’s vehicles and homes.

For more help in combating the squirrel problem call 451-7226.