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Piney Squirrel: What Are They and How to Get Rid of Them?

If you have ever heard noises from the attic, you might have suspected the arrival of rodents. One of the kind is a piney squirrel that may come in as an intruder.

Although not harmful, you may want to get rid of them before they make nests and dog holes in your backyard.

What is a piney squirrel?

A Piney squirrel is a kind of tree squirrel, similar to a fox or abert squirrel. They fall in the category of Tamiasciurus, and belong to the squirrel family of Sciuridae. These bushy tailed, thick furred squirrels are primarily inhabitants of different parts of the USA, mainly north and west sides. 

Tree squirrels like piney squirrels tend to have elongated bodies, although they are much smaller than ground squirrels.

Belonging to the same genus, these animals are particularly found in tree nests where they prefer to spend most of their time. Their small size aids them to fit into these nests as well.

Piney squirrels are also known as chickarees. Other than that, they may also be referred to as red squirrel, American red squirrel, or Douglas.

When it comes to food, there is a variety of feed pine squirrels may choose to feed themselves from. This includes a range of plants, greens, various seeds. They also like to eat arthropods and fungi found on trees and grounds.

They can fend off any threat or intruders as they are territorial animals that like to alert out the environment through sounds and chirps. These squirrels are most active through the summer and fall time.

Are piney squirrels and red squirrels the same?

There is often confusion when referring to a piney squirrel as many call these nibblers req squirrel. While the two names are often used interchangeably, American red squirrels are the same as piney squirrels.

You may want to note that, referring to red squirrel can also mean Eurasian red squirrel which is not the same as piney squirrels.

American red squirrels or piney squirrels belong to the same genus which comprises three other specifies including Douglas and Mern’s. Hence the name of piney squirrel is interchangeably used with the other squirrel names as well.

Piney squirrels, American red squirrels, or Tamiascurus hudsonicus mostly live in dense canopy areas where the trees are in larger numbers and the climate is often cool. In tree holes and branches, they make themselves comfortable holes as homes.

They also like to dig up homes in loose soil and hence these tree squirrels can be seen roaming around the ground near a tree.

How big are piney squirrels?

Piney squirrels are one of the smallest among their group of the same species. They are known for their petite size as well. In fact, in some areas, piney squirrels are the tiniest tree squirrels to be found.

Piney squirrels usually have a body length of about 7 to 8 inches. Their tails are longer and can be at least 4 to6 inches long. When looking at a piney squirrel. You would notice how their body is largely made of their long and bushy tail.

Thanks to their composed body structure, it is naturally easier for them to live in the nests and branches. Their body is lightweight, making them sprint on the tiniest branches of trees where they live comfortably.

Are pine squirrels destructive?

You might think that something as small as a rodent should not cause much breakage and destruction. In that case, you may want to keep in mind, squirrels, particularly piney squirrels can be quite destructive despite their small body structure.

Although it cannot be confirmed if pine squirrels carry diseases that may harm humans, they can physically destroy trees and turfs.

Despite living in tree nests, these squirrels cause damage to landscapes and grounds as they dig up holes to make food storage spaces.

If you ever let a pine squirrel into your home, you might notice that your cables are gnawed, thanks to the nibbling habits of pine squirrels. They like to chew on wires and impair feeders.

You can also expect noises from the attic as these squirrels will attack every wall and vent in the area to make space for their livelihood.

How to get rid of piney squirrels?

You may want to get rid of pine squirrels, Not because it holds any immediate danger, but you can expect these pesky beings to cause some destruction around. You can do so by using strong sprays and pruning your trees. It also helps to keep the area around your come clean and free of food crumbles.

Here are a few ways in which you can get rid of piney squirrels around your home.

Prune your trees away:

Since piney squirrels are a kind of tree squirrels, they are mainly attracted towards places where they can build their nests to live. Trees around your house are an ideal place to rest for these piney squirrels.

While you do not have to prune all trees, you may want to prune the branches of ones that hang over your home.

These branches can way for the squirrels and make it easier for them to climb the tree and enter your homes, one way or the other.

Don’t leave out food:

If you invite them with food, internationally or otherwise even once, you can be sure that a group of pine squirrels is always roaming around your home.

You may want to clean food crumbles and pet food that remains around your home.

If you have grown pots of plants or trees with fruits bearing on them, make sure these fruits are not hanging ripe.

Odors keep squirrels away:

Squirrels are not fond of strong smells and keep away if they smell something around.

Apple cider vinegar solution can work wonders to keep the pine squirrels away. The smell of mint can also work as a repellent.

How far do piney squirrels travel in a day?

On their tiny feet, piney squirrels cannot go more than 10 miles a day. However, in most cases, they will take themselves up to 2 miles in one day, given they return to their territory.

Mostly if you think of having piney squirrels as pets, you would need to know their activities range as well. In such a case, they cannot cross 5 miles at a time.

However, how far they can travel in a day would mainly depend on the location of their home, source of food, and how old the pine squirrel is.

What do piney squirrels hate the most?

If you want to keep piney squirrels away from your backyard and your attic, you may want to note that piney squirrel hates some smells and flowers. Here are some things that pine squirrels hate:


Pine squirrels would certainly run away if they sense that you have vinegar lurking around. Some people keep bottles of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar in their attic to keep these squirrels away.

Peppermint oil:

Mint or peppermint oil is something that repels a pine squirrel just like a repellent keeps insects away. They cannot stand the overpowering odor that comes from mint or the essential oil.


Anything to do with coffee, and piney squirrels will run like a wind. Ground coffee is something that rodents, mostly pine squire detests having on their senses.


If you have ever smelt a large amount of ground or whole cinnamon, you’d know that cinnamon is a strong spice. The odor and the taste alike, keep pine squirrels away as they cannot stand the flavor.


Surprisingly, sweet smelling capsicums are one vegetable that the pine squirrel species hate strongly. Whether it is black pepper or ground chili pepper, piney squirrels will be miles away from spices like pepper or capsicum.

What spray keeps squirrels away?

The following sprays will keep squirrels away:

Vinegar water solution:

If you spray a solution of white vinegar and water around your backyard, the acidic solution and pungent smell will keep squirrels at bay.

Predator urine spray:

Praying predator urine around would scare squirrels away as it gives them the impression that their predators are roaming around

Garlic and onion mix:

If you soak garlic and onion in water and spray that water around to spread the smell of garlic and onion around, it could keep squirrels away.

Peppermint solution:

Minty smells are disliked by squirrels. To a portion of water, add peppermint essential oil and spray it around. This would tug away any lurking squirrels and get rid of the existing ones.

Final Thoughts

Piney squirrels are reddish brown tree squirrels that are often referred to as American red squirrels. These squirrels are not harmful but can be quite destructive if they live on your property. They can be driven away using strong odors that repel them away.