Squirrels: Sciurus carlinensis
During late summer squirrels may be seen rolling on the ground,
biting themselves, and jumping up and down. This is usually
due to skin irritations from bot fly larvae, which are parasites
that appear as bumps on the skin, often in places where the
squirrel cannot scratch. The parasite is located only in the
skin and does not affect edibility of the meat in harvested
Florida is home to three species of squirrels, the eastern gray
squirrel (Sciurus carlinensis), the fox squirrel
(Sciurus niger), and the southern flying squirrel
(Glaucomys volans). The most common in urban areas
is the eastern gray squirrel. Squirrels occur in woodland and urban
areas, especially near oaks and hickories, and are active during
the day, often feeding on the ground.
Squirrels can cause problems by chewing on plants, tree bark and
ornamentals as well as plastic items, like electrical wiring
insulation or even wood siding on houses and out-buildings. It is
often impossible or impractical to eliminate the source of their
chewing. Potted plants can often be moved out of reach.
PVC pipes and electrical wires can sometimes be covered with a
insulation material that is soft and, therefore, less attractive to
Taste repellents are designed to stop chewing. They seem to work
in direct proportion to the animal's desire to chew on the object.
In other words, if they want it badly enough, no repellent will
stop them. Taste repellents will not work on large areas, are
impractical for inaccessible things like tall trees and cannot be
used on objects that you intend to eat.
A landowner may lawfully live-trap or humanely destroy nuisance
gray squirrels without a special permit or license. Live-captured
nuisance squirrels must be released or euthanized within 24 hours
of capture or trap inspection. In addition, nuisance
squirrels may be transported and released at an off-site location
that is within the county of capture and a minimum of 40 contiguous
acres if the animal is a native species; the releaser has written
permission from the owner of the release site; and the
transportation of the wildlife does not violate any rabies alert or
area quarantine issued by a county health department or county
animal service. Relocating wildlife is seldom
biologically sound, the animal often does not survive.
You can receive technical assistance for squirrel problems by
contacting your nearest FWC regional office.