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Every week there are new marvels to look for in the outdoors, and Discover Nature highlights these attractions. The Missouri Department of Conservation’s Josh Hartwig brings us the stories of river otters, luna moths, red buds, and other actors as they take center stage in nature’s theater.You can hear Discover Nature, Mondays at 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m.

Discover Nature: Got Squirrels? Here's How You Can Keep Them Out Of Your Attic

Missouri Department of Conservation.

This week we can Discover Nature through conflict management.

Fox and Gray squirrels are among the most commonly observed Missouri animals. Because they populate as many towns and cities as they do forests, conflicts occur year-round when humans and squirrels live in close proximity. This time of year, squirrels look for a warm place to avoid the cold weather, and unfortunately they’ll often choose an accessible attic as their favorite shelter.

Squirrels can be destructive in an attic because of gnawing habits and collections of nest materials. Also, the clatter of squirrel movements within an attic can be bothersome.

The Missouri Department of Conservation offers several options of conflict management when it comes to dealing with squirrels in your attic.

One way is to exclude squirrels by preventing them from climbing isolated trees and utility poles that are near your home by encircling the trees with a two-foot-wide collar of smooth metal six feet above ground. Also, cover all openings to your attic with 1/2 -inch wire mesh or make other necessary repairs. However, care must be taken to ensure that no squirrels are unknowingly kept inside the building.

Live-trapping could be necessary in some situations. Metal live traps can be found at farm supply stores or can sometimes be borrowed from your local Missouri Department of Conservation office.

Moth balls are another option that will repel squirrels and temporarily discourage them from entering attics and other enclosed spaces.

My favorite option is to provide a place of shelter other than your attic can help to avoid conflict as well. This way you not only get the rascals out of your attic, but you give them a shelter made just for them. Blueprints and directions to build a squirrel box can be found online at MissouriConservation.org.

Candice Davis is the former host of Discover Nature on KRCU. Her goal is to help people to discover nature and learn to appreciate the many outdoor opportunities Missouri has to offer. Candice knows that people who spend time in the outdoors are generally less stressed, more thankful, healthier and more successful in life. Children who spend time outdoors have better grades and are more physically active. It’s Candice’s goal to inspire Missourians to discover nature in their everyday lives through stories of butterflies, elk, tupelo trees, alligator gar and other marvels of nature on KRCU’s Discover Nature program.
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