Squirrels are cute, furry animals and it is difficult to imagine anyone wanting to eat them. Unfortunately, wild animals don’t follow the same rationale while hunting food so the squirrels have many natural predators in the wild including weasels, coyotes, foxes, wildcats and snakes.
Granted that squirrels have fewer predators in Toronto but the rodents still don’t relinquish their position on the food chain. Common squirrel predators in Toronto include:
Flying Predators: Hawks, eagles and owls stand out as the biggest flying threat for squirrels. The birds are especially lethal because they have a high vantage point and able to locate prey even in hidden areas. Squirrels scurrying in open fields and parks are especially vulnerable and it is not unusual to see a squirrel standing on its hind legs attempting to spot birds in the air.
Snakes: Many snakes feed on rodents and any area with a high population of squirrels is an ideal hunting ground for the reptile. A snake can easily slip through into a squirrel nest to catch prey. Baby squirrels that are not old enough to follow their mother out of the den are especially vulnerable. Depending on the type of snake, it may constrict the rodent to suffocate it or inject it with poison to paralyze or kill the food.
Humans: Although it is illegal to kill wildlife in Toronto, some people poison squirrels. Many squirrels are also killed in shoddy traps or lethal traps. You can get charged for wildlife cruelty under the SPCA Act if you injure or kill protected wildlife which includes squirrels. Humans also kill squirrels accidentally by running them over with vehicles. Squirrels often scurry in a zigzag fashion making it difficult to avoid them while driving.
Pets: Although pets don’t necessarily eat squirrels, they do kill them quite often. Squirrels have a dormant temperament while pets can be very territorial. Many trapped squirrels are also killed by pets and this is another reason why you shouldn’t trap wildlife. Large dogs are a serious threat to squirrels in Toronto.
Parasites: Parasites don’t exactly seem like predators but they do kill squirrels. These animals are not immune to skin diseases some of which are fatal. Scabies mites and fleas can cause the animal to injure itself or render it incapable of defending itself against predators.
Other Squirrels: Squirrels are occasionally territorial and can fight to the death especially if food and resources are scarce. It is not a good idea to trap and relocate squirrels for this reason. Although rabid squirrels are extremely rare, these animals attack with little provocation and will injure or kill members of their own species.
How to Get Rid of Squirrels
You should never trap and relocate squirrels. Trapping exposes the animal to harsh weather, predators, starvation and dehydration especially if trapped for a long time. There is also a risk of orphaning baby squirrels which die of starvation and dehydration. Always assume that the squirrel has babies before attempting to trap or evict.
Hire a squirrel removal expert in Toronto to remove the squirrel safely and humanely. Only an expert can guarantee that the wildlife problem is solved permanently by sealing entry holes with galvanized steel mesh or metal flashing. Get a warranty of at least two years to guarantee that the removal is permanent.