A gang of grey squirrels has left Michelle Collins, a 39-year-old gym owner from Kilwinning, Ayrshire, too afraid to enter her kitchen every morning. The pests have burrowed their way into her home by gnawing a hole through the wall and once inside, they have run roughshod, chewing her doors and eating her dog's food. Despite the best efforts of pest controllers to remove them, the squirrels continue to invade Michelle's home, leaving her feeling fuming and terrorized. In an interview with the BBC, Michelle said, "I never imagined squirrels could do this to my home. It's unbelievable what they can do. I'm terrified to go into my kitchen every morning. I now put the food away when I go to bed, but in the morning, I've found the towel I've used to stop up the gap is pulled out and chewed too."
Michelle first became aware of the squirrels when she heard noises from within the walls and found unusual piles of sawdust, unaware they were creating a hole inside her house. Despite the best efforts of pest controllers, the squirrels have proven to have staying power and have forced the pest controller to give up attempts to catch them.
Unfortunately, Michelle is not alone in her struggles with grey squirrels. Michelle Phillips, a 54-year-old householder, had to leave her home earlier this year because of a scurry of squirrels that had taken over her attic. The situation was so bad that she was kept awake at night by the sounds of scurrying and scratching and eventually lost her job in retail due to lack of sleep caused by the animals. Attempts to control the situation only made things worse, and after 19 years, she was relocated to a new property by Southway Housing.
However, Michelle Phillips' nightmare continued as she discovered her new flat front door didn't shut properly, was covered in mould and damp, and had rotten floorboards. Similarly, Denise Stronach in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, has also reported issues with squirrels in her attic. The 57-year-old fears that the rodents may set her house on fire as they had previously chomped their way through several TV cables. She described the squirrels as "absolutely horrific" and said that they are "driving me crazy."
Grey squirrels are considered pests as they cause damage to trees, eat birds' eggs, and outcompete native red squirrels for food and habitat. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) recommends using humane traps to catch grey squirrels and releasing them in the wild, far from human habitation.
Homeowners can take steps to prevent squirrels from entering their homes in the first place by blocking entry points. If they suspect an infestation, they should contact pest controllers immediately. It is also necessary to address the wider issue of grey squirrels in the UK and consider ways to control their population. One possible solution is to introduce predators such as pine martens, which are known to prey on grey squirrels.
The infestation of grey squirrels in people's homes is a serious problem that can cause extensive damage to properties and great distress to homeowners. The stories of Michelle Collins, Michelle Phillips, and Denise Stronach demonstrate the severity of this issue. Homeowners should take swift action to prevent squirrels from entering their homes and contact pest controllers if they suspect an infestation. The UK needs to address the issue of grey squirrels and consider ways to control their population in the long term. Introducing predators such as pine martens may be a possible solution.