How Long Can a Squirrel Live Trapped in a Wall?

Updated June 3, 2024

So how long can a squirrel live trapped in a wall really?

Understanding the behavior and survival instincts of squirrels is crucial when dealing with a situation where a squirrel might be trapped in your wall. This article delves into the factors affecting a squirrel’s lifespan when confined in such an environment, providing homeowners with valuable insights and humane solutions.

Squirrels are agile and resourceful creatures, often seen darting through trees and urban landscapes. However, their curious nature can sometimes lead them into human-made structures, resulting in unexpected encounters. When a squirrel becomes trapped in a wall, it raises concerns about their wellbeing and the potential damage to property. This comprehensive guide addresses these concerns by exploring how long a squirrel can survive in such conditions and offering practical advice for homeowners.

Squirrel Trapped in Wall Lifespan

When a squirrel is trapped in a wall, its survival depends on several critical factors. The availability of food, water, and the squirrel’s health all play significant roles. Typically, a squirrel can survive for several days to a few weeks in a wall, depending on these conditions. Understanding these variables can help in assessing the urgency of the situation and planning appropriate actions.

Factors Influencing Survival

Food Availability

Squirrels are foragers, constantly on the lookout for food. In a wall, their access to nourishment is severely limited. While they might find some insects or stored food, this is usually not enough to sustain them for long periods. Without adequate food, a squirrel’s health deteriorates quickly, impacting its survival time.

Water Supply

Water is even more critical than food. Dehydration can set in within a couple of days, leading to severe health issues and potentially death. Walls typically lack water sources, making it a dire situation for the trapped animal.

Health and Age

A young, healthy squirrel has a better chance of surviving longer in a wall than an older or sick one. The stress of being trapped and the lack of resources take a toll on the animal’s physical condition, which is already compromised if the squirrel is not in peak health.

Environmental Conditions

Temperature and air quality within the wall space also affect a squirrel’s survival. Extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, can lead to heatstroke or hypothermia. Poor air circulation can cause respiratory issues, further diminishing the squirrel’s chances of survival.

Identifying a Squirrel Trapped in a Wall

Recognizing the signs of a squirrel trapped in a wall is the first step in addressing the problem. Homeowners should be vigilant for certain indicators:

  • Scratching Noises: Persistent scratching or gnawing sounds coming from the walls, especially during dawn and dusk.
  • Unusual Odors: A strong, unpleasant smell might indicate a deceased squirrel or waste accumulation.
  • Visible Damage: Chewed wiring, insulation, or small holes around the walls can be signs of squirrel activity.

Humane Solutions for Squirrel Rescue

Dealing with a trapped squirrel humanely is essential. There are several methods to ensure the animal’s safe removal and release back into the wild.

Professional Wildlife Removal

At Alpha Wildlife, we offer expert wildlife removal services. Our team has the tools and knowledge to safely extract the squirrel without causing harm to the animal or further damage to the property. We can also identify and seal entry points to prevent future incidents.

DIY Rescue Techniques

If professional help is not immediately available, some DIY methods can be attempted with caution:

  • One-Way Exclusion Doors: Install a one-way door that allows the squirrel to exit but not re-enter. This method ensures the squirrel leaves the confined space safely.
  • Luring with Food: Place food near the suspected exit point to entice the squirrel out of the wall. Ensure to monitor the area and seal the entry point once the squirrel exits.

Preventing Squirrel Intrusions

Prevention is always better than dealing with the aftermath of a squirrel intrusion. Homeowners can take several steps to safeguard their homes against these curious critters.

Seal Entry Points

Inspect the exterior of your home for any gaps or holes that a squirrel could use to gain entry. Common entry points include:

  • Roof Vents: Ensure all roof vents are covered with sturdy mesh.
  • Chimneys: Install a chimney cap to prevent squirrels from entering.
  • Eaves and Soffits: Repair any damage to eaves and soffits and install screens if necessary.

Trim Trees and Branches

Squirrels often access homes by leaping from nearby trees. Regularly trimming branches that are close to the house can reduce the risk of squirrels making their way inside.

Remove Food Sources

Ensure that garbage bins are securely closed and that bird feeders are placed away from the house. Removing easy access to food can deter squirrels from approaching your home.

Squirrel Behavior and Adaptation

Understanding squirrel behavior can help in managing and preventing conflicts. Squirrels are intelligent and adaptable, capable of learning from their experiences. They have strong survival instincts and can be quite resourceful when it comes to finding food and shelter.

Foraging Habits

Squirrels spend a significant amount of time foraging for food. They primarily eat nuts, seeds, fruits, and insects. During the fall, they gather and store food in various locations to ensure they have enough supplies for winter. This behavior is known as “scatter hoarding.”

Nesting Behavior

Squirrels build nests, known as dreys, in trees or sometimes in attics and walls if they find an entry point. These nests provide shelter and a safe place to raise their young. Understanding this nesting behavior is crucial for addressing infestations.


Squirrels communicate through vocalizations and tail movements. Recognizing these signals can provide insights into their behavior and alert homeowners to potential problems. For example, chattering sounds and tail flicks often indicate distress or territorial disputes.

Health Risks and Property Damage

A squirrel trapped in a wall poses not only a risk to its own health but also potential risks to human occupants and property.

Health Concerns

Squirrels can carry parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mites, which can spread to humans and pets. They may also harbor diseases like leptospirosis and salmonella. Addressing a trapped squirrel situation promptly reduces these health risks.

Property Damage

Squirrels have strong teeth that grow continuously, prompting them to gnaw on various materials to keep them sharp. This behavior can lead to significant property damage, including:

  • Chewed Wiring: Squirrels gnawing on electrical wires can cause short circuits or even fires.
  • Insulation Damage: Squirrels nesting in walls or attics can tear apart insulation, reducing its effectiveness and leading to higher energy bills.
  • Structural Damage: Persistent gnawing and nesting activities can weaken structural components of a building.

When dealing with wildlife, including squirrels, it’s important to consider legal and ethical aspects. Many regions have laws protecting wildlife, and inhumane treatment of animals can result in legal consequences.

Wildlife Protection Laws

Check local regulations regarding the handling and removal of wildlife. Some areas require permits for trapping and relocating animals. Hiring a licensed professional ensures compliance with these laws.

Ethical Treatment

Humane treatment of animals is not only a legal requirement but also an ethical obligation. Ensuring the safe and humane removal of a trapped squirrel reflects a respect for wildlife and the environment.

City-Specific Considerations for Squirrel Trapped in Wall


In Memphis, Eastern Gray Squirrels are the most common species found in urban areas. These squirrels often seek shelter in attics and walls during extreme weather conditions. The warm climate of Memphis allows them to thrive year-round, increasing the likelihood of intrusion into homes. Homeowners should be particularly vigilant during the spring and fall when squirrels are most active.


Nashville, with its abundant green spaces and suburban areas, is home to both Eastern Gray Squirrels and Southern Flying Squirrels. The latter can glide through the air and often find their way into homes through roof vents and eaves. Ensuring all potential entry points are sealed is crucial in Nashville to prevent these agile creatures from getting trapped in walls.


In Chattanooga, squirrels are a common sight in the wooded areas surrounding the city. Both Eastern Gray Squirrels and Fox Squirrels inhabit this region. Fox Squirrels, being larger, can cause more significant damage if trapped in a wall. Homeowners in Chattanooga should conduct regular inspections of their property, especially after storms that might damage potential entry points.


Knoxville’s diverse habitats support a healthy population of Eastern Gray Squirrels. These squirrels are known for their adaptability and can exploit even small gaps to enter homes. The seasonal changes in Knoxville can drive squirrels indoors for warmth and shelter. Ensuring chimneys and roof vents are properly capped can help prevent these animals from getting trapped.

Charleston, SC

Charleston’s mild climate and historic architecture provide ample opportunities for squirrels to find shelter in walls and attics. The city’s older buildings often have gaps and crevices that squirrels can exploit. In Charleston, both Eastern Gray Squirrels and Southern Flying Squirrels are common, making it essential for homeowners to maintain their properties diligently to avoid infestations.

Columbia, SC

In Columbia, Eastern Gray Squirrels are prevalent in urban and suburban areas. The hot summers and mild winters encourage squirrels to seek out cooler or warmer environments inside homes. Regularly checking for and sealing any potential entry points, especially around rooflines and eaves, is crucial in Columbia to prevent squirrels from becoming trapped.

Squirrel Live Trapped in a Wall FAQs

How long can a squirrel live trapped in a wall?

A squirrel can survive for several days to a few weeks trapped in a wall, depending on the availability of food, water, and the environmental conditions within the wall.

What should I do if I hear a squirrel in my wall?

If you hear a squirrel in your wall, contact Alpha Wildlife. We have the expertise to safely extract the animal and prevent further issues.

Can a squirrel trapped in a wall cause damage to my home?

Yes, a trapped squirrel can cause significant damage by gnawing on wiring, insulation, and structural components of the wall. Prompt removal is essential to minimize damage.

How can I prevent squirrels from entering my home?

Seal any gaps or holes in your home’s exterior, install chimney caps and mesh over vents, and trim tree branches that are close to your house. Removing food sources also helps deter squirrels.

Are there humane ways to remove a trapped squirrel?

Yes, humane methods include using one-way exclusion doors and luring the squirrel out with food. Professional wildlife removal services are also recommended for humane extraction.

Is it legal to trap and relocate squirrels?

Laws regarding trapping and relocating squirrels vary by region. Check local regulations and consider hiring a licensed professional to ensure compliance with wildlife protection laws.

Squirrel Live Trapped in a Wall? We can help.

A squirrel trapped in a wall presents a complex challenge that requires immediate attention and humane solutions. By understanding the factors affecting a squirrel’s survival and implementing preventive measures, homeowners can effectively manage and prevent such incidents. Always prioritize the safety and wellbeing of both the animal and your property, and seek professional assistance when necessary.