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For the record, I did not intend on having any follow up to my original story about the Asshole Squirrel who keeps trying to squat in my attic. But, since she (or maybe he, if it’s her offspring?) seems to be about as stubborn as I am, there were a few things I still needed to do in order to (hopefully forever?) prevent the attic squirrel from finding a way back in.

pudgy squirrel

Who’s ready to see some dusty flash photography of an attic? You know I am.

For those who want a refresher, the gist is that I have been battling a small but irritating rodent for the last few months. It wants to be my roommate, and that sounds about as appealing to me as touring the world with Mona Lisa Saperstein.

i got bored

Anyway, every few weeks since first successfully evicting it from the attic, the squirrel has tried to access the front window area next to my bedroom. I suppose that’s pretty lucky for me, since it means I don’t have to camp out in other parts of the house to see if there’s activity anywhere else. Nope — instead, it tries to get in by gnawing on the roofline that’s directly over my head as I’m sleeping in the morning. Hooray for wake-up calls! Yay, nature!

For a while, I thought that I had done a pretty decent job of covering any access points with steel hardware cloth, but knew in the back of my mind that I had left one vulnerable spot. Basically, I’d covered about 80% of the area and left one spot unstapled (after running out of the pre-cut mesh I’d dragged into the attic space with me during the heat of summer). I knew the squirrel could come back eventually, but I also hoped that through sheer will I could prevent it from happening, since going back up there meant doing the worst yoga the world has ever seen.

attic yoga
Fitting through this space: not the most graceful activity.

Well, you can all probably guess where things wound up: the squirrel found my attic’s exhaust port* and found its way back in. Because squirrels aren’t as dumb as I want them to be.

squirrels are assholes

The squirrel had a pattern where it would leave the roof alone for several weeks before returning and trying to gnaw on the same spot. I suppose the reason why it likes this area is because of the drain spout, which works as a ladder of sorts while it concentrates on eating a hole along the top board separating the roof from the siding. Through either hubris or laziness — or both, take your pick — I chose to simply walk outside when this was happening, shout something at it (“Yeah, I SEE YOU, JAGWEED”), or throw a pine cone near the spot to let it know I wasn’t above getting into a petty fight. The squirrel would run away, and I didn’t have to go back into the attic again. I considered this a win.

mona lisa why are you still in front of me

But, after a pattern of hurriedly gnawing at the spot and being chased off (and repeat) continued, the squirrel did manage to squeeze its portly body back through the opening it had created. Once I heard the familiar scampering across the ceiling, I had to act fast. I waited for it to leave, then went back up, contorted myself back through the narrow opening, and accessed the small nook above the front window of the house. After climbing up the previous few times, it was far less creepy and I was sure I wouldn’t come face to face with more angry squirrels. Or rather, I hoped.

Since I didn’t get much of a chance during all of the previous time’s activities to take pictures, I snapped a few extra photos this time around. Below, you can see the front opening (the squirrel’s original access point) of the gable vent that I’d already covered in steel mesh.

attic original access point

Once that hole was closed off (to be repaired cosmetically from the outside next spring), it found a way to leave from the right side of this space by gnawing along the board that separates the roof from the joists.

attic hole on right side

Which on the outside just so happens to be where the storm drain curls in the below pic.

attic squirrel access point

Originally, I’d stapled the hardware cloth to the right, where I could see gnaw marks and a hole had been created (weak spots seemed to be where the roof, the horizontal board, and the rest of the attic area met). Lugging the entire roll of hardware cloth up to the attic and cutting it up there would be a nuisance, so I had only cut a few pieces that I thought would be sufficient. After running out, I hadn’t gone back up, leaving a small spot further to the left somewhat vulnerable. This is where the squirrel found its way back in, so lesson learned: take the effort to cover it all up in one go!

squirrel gnawing trim

That’s pretty much what I did this second time around. I covered the original spots where I could see gnaw marks, but it was made even easier to see these spots since the light filtered in more heavily in these areas. If you’re doing this yourself, just keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be pretty or sophisticated; as long as it won’t wiggle out of place (even if it meant stapling onto a stray scrap of wood and wedging into place), you’re good to go.

light filtering into attic

Once those were stapled with the mesh, I took extra pieces and ran them along the rest of the roof line where I could still see light. The squirrel hadn’t tried these areas yet, but it would probably be just a matter of time. As an added measure, I sprinkled some cayenne pepper along the entire board as well (I’ve read that it’s effective for keeping them out of birdseed, so I figured it couldn’t hurt!).

use hardware cloth to cover attic squirrel access points

I wish I could say that it’s entirely over yet, because the squirrel keeps making attempts but isn’t getting in again. Each time I hear the scratching noises, I run outside to let it know that I’m there and not really in the mood, throwing the occasional pine cone near the drain to chase it off.

Will this be the last few rounds with my attic squirrel? I can’t say for sure. But I have a shitload of pine cones at the ready.

pine cone

*Relevant and timely Star Wars reference! Sorry folks, I have only seen the first movies once and haven’t yet seen the new movie in theaters, so I’m well aware that I’m making a dumb joke here. No spoilers, please! I am probably going to see it with some friends this week.

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  1. That story really is unbelievable! I can’t believe how persistent that damn squirrel is! He’s lucky you are a nice person, some people would have probably shot him already.

  2. Squatters are back, sorry to hear that but it sounds like your doing what’s needed to keep them out. I know you do not want to harm them in any way. It may be helpful to reduce the numbers around your immediate area by placing a have a heart baited trap in your yard and relocate them far from your yard ( across town maybe ~~ LOL ) far enough to where they forget where your cozy attic is. They are indeed a nasty pesky pain-in-arse nuisance harboring devious plots to cause unwanted frustration, occupy your time and test your resolve and sanity. I myself would shoot them in the effing head with my son’s 2300 ft. per sec. scoped pellet gun and have squirrel/mushroom soup casserole with green beans and mashed potatoes for supper.
    Your house looks beautifully decorated for the holidays and do understand the dog proofing areas.
    Will your new post reply program/service allow for the entry of photos to better express out humor & witt and make you laugh Sarah?
    Happy Holidays
    jlc :)

  3. “I am going to get in… Btw thanks for throwing food my way” signed Squirrel King of Georgia

  4. Not that I’m laughing at your pain, but thank you for this post- the “asshole” with the arrow pointing at the squirrel just made me laugh my ass off! We’re lucky- we just get mice in our attic space…or are we?

  5. Ever consider putting a mouse trap up on that drain pipe and securing it with a bit of tape or putty? Might frighten the sucker away? I wanted to put these in my front garden because asshole cats use it as a litter tray but I was always afraid that I’d forget it was there and trap myself!

    Hope your Christmas is squirrel free or Charlie gets some mad roof climbing/squirrel chasing skills soon!

  6. Love the squirrel stories :) Hope this round of cloth keeps her/him out! And that it doesn’t decide to chew through the hardware cloth. Rats can chew through concrete and rebar, so I’m guessing squirrels can too?

    1. The squirrel hasn’t touched the other two areas I used the hardware cloth on, and it’s more likely to try to gnaw at the wood first. So it seems to be a matter of just frustrating it to the point where it gives up. Seems to be working thus far, and I’m definitely noticing (and chasing it off) every time it comes around. Charlie helps too!

      1. Try backing your cloth with steel wool. I used the metal cloth, made tubes, stuffed with steel wool, rolled them down between wall and roof and used that expandable foam. They can’t get back in there and haven’t tried. Btw, they try every year. This year was particularly bad. They actually have reverted to chewing through the top of the tin of the gutters to chew through the face board to get in. My home is over a hundred years old and has so many gables there are areas you can’t physically get to. My roof line is so high and steep I can’t get anyone to work on it I have metal roofing but squirrels don’t care. I hate squirrels so much after dealing with this for years I try to run them down with my car! The local police told me if they caught me using my pellet gun in town they would arrest me. Talking about our local gov, I asked them to put a squirrel cone (not sure what they are called) on the power line because that is their main route to my roof and they won’t do it. Damn squirrels. They are like cock roaches. They will never be extinct!!!.

        1. I would hate them too after all you’ve gone through! Great tip; I’ll have to try that out!

  7. Aren’t you afraid of the mesh being so open about getting a nest of hornets or bees in the attic?

    1. I didn’t remove a barrier and replace it with mesh, I added mesh to a spot that already had a long, open gap all along the roof line (and in a small number of instances, where the squirrels had gnawed the gap big enough for them to squeeze through); so technically, the bees and hornets would have always had free, open access to the attic prior to this regardless (for 30+ years) because the house is built that way. You can see in a number of the pictures, there is light coming in from outside; these are gaps where the roof line is meeting the ceiling’s support beams. I suppose I could go up and close it off more, but I doubt this increased my chances of having them up there in the first place. Thanks for getting me thinking about it though; I’ll see what happens this summer!

  8. I understand this post is a couple years old…. but it did give me some great ideas which I sorely needed!
    I may need a life alert to notify anyone if my yoga moves (current class yoga for healthy aging!! )are not sufficient to access and egress this attic. The smell might notify someone eventually. I am determined but Skeered!

    I found that squirrel or her cousin with the same asshole personality.
    Like all native Georgians…spring calls them to
    The BEACH…. Panama City Beach. At certain times of year I wonder if anyone is left in the state of Georgia.
    Longterm stays in this beach house are not allowed.
    I have politely asked her to leave no later than today and will now begin more forcible eviction procedures.
    Maximum occupancy is 2 persons and 1 dog!
    And I am afraid that mama is raising a new generation up there.

    1. Time for an eviction, for SURE! Squirrels tend to be VERY territorial when their babies are still small pups, so hopefully she’s not too aggressive with you. But since they can chew through wires, insulation, and get caught in your walls, getting them out ASAP is very important! Good luck!

  9. Yup—–Been fighting them for 57 years….. Attic, then the cellar—-Back to the Attic—-gone: then back to the Cellar…..It’s a heredity thing with these, I’m sure.
    However, you’ve given me some pointers.
    it’s definitely the “ight” issue. If you can see the light, that’s where they’ll try to come in, and I need to get after those spots, more aggressively.
    As for The ‘plug-ins…I did use one from Amazon for the Hot Shot Foggers….. It seems your comments about associated insects are warranted, and also, I’m hoping that they’ll be deterred on the other side of the roof…..
    Thanks for your efforts,

  10. OMG I am going through this same thing right now !!!! I am at my wits end with this. Thank you so much for making me laugh at this very annoying, mind messing jacked up situation I am in right now..

    1. You’re welcome, Barb! Sometimes a frustrating situation just feels a little less burdensome if you can laugh at it. This house continues to teach me that all the time!

  11. Omg! Girl, I am in hysterics reading your squirrel blogs. My husband and I purchased a house this passed summer and are dealing with this right now. Two weeks into renovations we went up to the one bedroom and found babies running all over the place (I lost my shit). We had a guy we hired who pretty much came out with 15 traps and caught the entire neighbourhoods rodent population only for them to come back in the house days later! Goodbye sense of relief and $500! Our next option was the smoke bombs so I’m sad to see it didn’t work for you :( but it does save us money! Onto the next thing! Not sure what it is yet… but wish us luck!

    – woman who works night shift and spends her time using a hammer to knock on walls and ceilings rather than sleeping.

    1. Well, the squirrels were still trying to get IN, but they’ve been unsuccessful as of these last couple of years. So when I kicked them out initially and then put up all that metal mesh, they kept trying to gnaw on the exterior of my house but they haven’t actually made their way back in. So, I would call it a successful eviction, but I still have to be vigilant to keep them from making a chew toy out of the wood siding (if you have a different type of siding, it might not even be something you’ll deal with). But they are little more than a nuisance in the spring and I chase them off, and that’s that! So I hope my stories help you! Lots of luck getting rid of your pests (and solidarity, fellow-squirrel-hater!).

  12. I laughed so hard reading this because I have been there and done that. However I almost went crazy in the meantime. I got my husbands BB gun and would put it next to the back door where I could grab it and try to kill it. And as you know I got the same thing as the squirrel got high enough in the tree where he could mock me with. His insane sounds. You are a great writer. Can’t wait to read more of your experiences!!

    1. Thanks, Margaret! That made my day! And I can picture you right now with that “IT’S THE SQUIRREL AGAIN!” face. I know it well. ?

  13. I too am having this problem, having discovered a huge flaw in the foundation (or lack thereof) of a bump-out that a previous owner added to the kitchen of my house. This piece is exceedingly well written and, as everybody has noted, flat out hilarious. Have you considered going on the Moth Radio Hour with it?

    1. Thanks William! That’s so nice of you to say! I’ve actually never heard of Moth Radio Hour but I’ll look it up!

  14. I loved your story. Can’t believe you put up with this squirrel that long. I am an avid gardener and have problems with squirrels and chipmunks digging in all my planters and chewing up all my tulip bulbs. I am sorry but I do not have the same (love) for them that you seem to. Rat traps are my salvation. They multiply like rabbits and then you just have more of them to deal with. I can’t believe your are still sane. I think I would have gone nuts.

    1. Ha, they try to come back each year but my solution has so far kept them out of the attic! So a pain yes, but I’m glad I found a solution!

  15. Absolutely the best article I’ve ever read! Informative and really fucking funny!
    Thank you – ‘wordsmith, destroyer of squirrels’

  16. You are a HOOT LOLOL. I found this blog because I too have a Family in my attic driving me NUT’S !!!!!
    I related to everything you said and did, I yell at them, I have tossed rags in there areas with vinegar on them, bought a sling shot with B B’s but wound up just throwing the B B’s into the dark up there, it started off with what few wire coat hangers I had, escalated to a B B gun that I would shoot at them from my bathroom window at the spot where one of their beadie eyes would look at me.
    I too worried about one…or them charging me as I stepped up the ladder to Hell !!!!! I can’t get up there very well at 66 with knew knee’s…that Titanium hurts when you kneel , and I don’t want to LOL, I am going to need to pay to win. Meanwhile I have a walking stick that I continue to pound the ceiling with and bang on the walls ….. totally makes one insane.
    Well, I just wanted to thank you for you vivid well painted picture of what you went thru….Hilarious, take care, happy hunting

    1. So glad you enjoyed it! They haven’t come back, thankfully! I hope you can soon declare victory as well.