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Why is fox squirrel chewing hole in a metal electrical box?

By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, July 13th, 2011 at 9:07 am in fox squirrel.

Note tooth marks where a fox squirrel chewed a hole in this metal electrical box. Photo by Phil Grover, Concord, CA
1metalsquirrel phil grover concord

Gary:
Several times we’ve observed a small fox squirrel chewing on an outdoor metal electrical box.  It has actually made a hole in it.  Is the squirrel bored, short of iron in its diet, misled by its parents as to what it should eat, or suffering from its teeth growing too fast?
Phil Grover, Concord, CA

Phil:
Squirrels are funny. Their teeth have VERY hard enamel on the front side and are softer on the back. They also grow continually, as do the teeth of most rodents. When they chew on something hard, because of the softer backs, they wear at an angle. This keeps the teeth always sharp. Mother Nature is very clever.

Occasionally for some reason, squirrels will become obsessive with their gnawing, like the animal that’s gnawing on your metal box. Why? Who knows. Maybe it feels good, or the sound of gnawing on metal turns the little character on, or maybe the metal tastes good. Whatever the reason, you can probably put an end to it by spraying the metal box with dog or cat repellent (available at pet and most hardware stores). /Gary

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One Response to “Why is fox squirrel chewing hole in a metal electrical box?”

  1. Nan Davis Says:

    Gary, Just read your Woodpecker article(sent by a friend). Our problem…they have pecked many, & I mean many holes into our old large maple tree for years. It is a huge beautifil tree, used for shade.(a couple limbs filled with water in storm, broke off tree last winter! Have tried foil, owl scary staues, etc….can’t discourage them. A huge $$$ fine here, on our Central Coast, if you shoot them. (We woudln’t!!) But sooner or later they will destroy tree. Many return each season, go back to smaew ensting place, or peck out a new one. They eat our oaks acorns. Many smaller birds too, will nest in some of the older holes. lol Some of the limbs will have holes stacked in a long row, look like “bird Condo’s. I’ve placed the suggested birdhouses about too….they prefere the Maple tree. :(
    So, what advice might you have! Thanks, Nan. A bird lover, but love our maple tree too.

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