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Wild Animals/Gray squirrel eating aluminum


mountain girl wrote at 2009-03-29 22:29:32
I have to disagree. We live in Asheville, NC and the squirrels are eating the aluminum tabs that hold the chain link fence to the posts. Nothing else is disturbed but all the aluminum tabs are gnawed on and/or eaten completely through.

John wrote at 2009-07-28 15:47:36
I live in New Hampshire and have the same problem with my aluminum patio furniture. The lower runners are gouged in sections about a foot in length. I have seen the squirrel doing it. The Agway lady says put red pepper in it and they will stop. I will try it and let you know what happens. They also ate the lead flashing around my chimney.

Kathy wrote at 2009-08-17 22:57:57
we have the same problem in Ohio...squirrels gnawing on the arms and backs of our expensive patio furniture....we would not have believed it if we had not seen it ourselves..they are causing quite a bit of damage.  We moved the bench they were gnawing on, but we have no other solutions.

tubaczar wrote at 2009-09-05 16:02:31
Not sure how odd the behavior is...I have a squirrel taking the paint off my furniture as well.  I sprayed a garlic/blood mixture on it.  We'll see if he takes off.

Nathan wrote at 2009-12-04 04:19:23
Yes! Thank you. I just found the aluminum tabs on my chain link fence gnawed through and was wondering what in the world it could be. I'm glad I'm not crazy for thinking it could be squirrels.

Squirrel Lady wrote at 2010-05-09 07:51:49
Spokane, WA.  Our 300' chain link fence material became disconnected from the pole that hold it up, all (99%)of the aluminum ties looked like they had been filed or grinded, we were told by the fence company it was because of the hard winter we had. One month ago we retied 100' of the fence and two weeks later all the ties were again filed?  The chain link company that has been around forever sent up a man that has worked for them for over 35 yrs and told us that no way could a squirrel do that but they had been vandalized!  He recommended we install a motion detector-night vision security camera-Costco had one on sale-reg.$699 for $399. Five days ago I was up at 7;40 am and saw a squirrel on top of the cyclone fence, I got my binoculars and could clearly see it chewing on wire tires-the next day the security camera was delivered and I was able to return it to Costco.  My ??? how do I remedy this??  Thanks for posting as none of us could fathom that a squirrel could do such a thing!  

Van wrote at 2010-07-20 22:43:00
We had the same problem 10 or more years ago, even the fence company would not believe it, so we provided a VHS video of it as proof, the company replace all chewed through wires with stainless steel wire, now we just replace what has been chewed of the alluminum ones with stainless, they do not bother the steel ones.  I think they must have a need for the element in their body.

Frustrated wrote at 2010-09-06 15:26:33
We live in Florissant, MO, and after 23 years inthe same house just discovered squirrels are eating our fence ties.  After further checking, we discovered that all of the yards around us have the same problem on their fences.  I found a squirrel this morning knawing away in someone elses yard.  Needless to say this is most frustrating, and honestly quite hard to believe!

revenger wrote at 2010-10-05 21:34:35
I live in Fayetteville NC, and I have the same problem with squirrels eating my aluminum storm window frames, and the aluminum fence tabs that secure my chain link fence. They will not scare off easily . They begin on the windows early in the am and late evening. WE SEE THEM!!!

georgiaboy wrote at 2011-02-20 01:18:37
We also just noticed this on our chain link fence-- the aluminum ties are being gnawed down to thin strips, which then break.  My guess is that this is just chewing behavior-- they won't get any "shock" from it-- that's something that happens with fillings in your teeth. No way it's a metal deficiency-- no organism needs that much metal.  Quite frankly-- nothing that a pellet gun and scope won't cure.  Save fence, feed a hawk.

MikeW wrote at 2011-08-10 18:31:25
I live in Florida and squirrels are eating my aluminum hurricane shutters. Since I paid in excess of $25,000 for these shutters I am concerned and have tried everything to stop them including putting rat poison bars on the shutters but to no avail. I just purchased a 22 cal. pellet rifle as a last resort.  

greenscene wrote at 2011-11-08 20:31:45
I just came from a customer's house who has aluminum fencing and the squirrels are gnawing lines in at least twenty of the posts.  Watch out aluminum fence installers- better consider this when selling fencing

david diringer wrote at 2012-03-21 00:19:31
We live in Webster NY and we were concerned that we we being vandalized as all the ties on our chain link fence looked like they had been filed.  We were glad to hear from others that they were having the same probably and it was the squirrels.  We are over run with squirrels and that would appear to be the cause.  We love suggestion :Save a fence, feed a hawk - We will probably try the cayenne pepper though.

inge wrote at 2012-09-15 01:37:54
Dana I have the same problem at first I thought the boys was scratching it until I saw a picture my son had taken. We too put the set away but put it back out. Nothing seen to stop this squirrel. I'm really upset this is a new set and I've already had to paint it and I want the squirrel gone.

Susan wrote at 2012-10-11 18:21:20
We live in Indiana - squirrels started eating our flowers, flower pots and garage door paint.  We placed plastic potted mint plants near these areas - the squirrels seem to dislike the smell and we no longer have an issue.

Willie wrote at 2013-08-10 19:32:16
Yes, in 300 feet, I thought someone ground down the tie downs and I'm still wondering. After reading this blog, I'm convinced it's squirrels. I thought for sure, thieves were after my top railing. I see now I was wrong. However security cameras will be installed next week.  From SC line, near Ga.  

Willie wrote at 2013-08-10 19:54:31
Yup, it's the squirrels, looks like someone filed it down with a tool but no it's the squirrels.  

Edony wrote at 2013-09-22 22:12:17
Fifteen of our ties are off and it is squirrels that have chewed them. They are also chewing the wood in our gazebo and generally eating my hibiscus and begonia flowers.  These squirrels are a nuisance. We bought a 'Havaheart' trap and have so far, caught 16 squirrels and relocated them to the park about 2 miles away. We still have four left. We also have caught 9 rats from the palm trees in our garden. The rats have NOT been relocated. Two fell into the pool and drowned. We are inundated with 'rat' animals this year. Squirrels are in the rodent family. It is disheartening to have your furniture demolished by these vermin that leave their fleas around for my cat to pick up. She is an indoor cat that goes on the patio occasionally.

jgwelsh wrote at 2014-09-05 16:59:26
We live in Delaware and our aluminum wires that hold the chain link fence to the rails are all chewed mostly through. They have chewed through the wires on my utility trailer wiring harness and chewed the plastic plug.  I have been trying to figure this out for years.  It just dawned on me today that it must be the squirrels so I googled it and found out that many other people have the same issue.  It almost looks like someone took a file to it but they are definately knaw marks from squirrels.  

refin wrote at 2015-05-30 00:39:18
squirrels eating my aium.fence ties too. Perhaps with the absents of hickory nuts or other hard food to chew on they chew the wire to wear down their teeth. I've told that rodents teeth will grow too long for them to eat,so chewing hard stuf keeps teeth worn down. could this be the reason for chewing wire?

Patrick 50 wrote at 2015-11-03 17:37:25
Thank you for this page. I was baffled as to what was "filing" the aluminum ties on the top rail of my chain link fence. I have a hundred feet if chain link fence, and all the top rail ties are gnawed on or gnawed through.  This is the first year I had seen it. Thank you from  Virginia.

Babs wrote at 2016-07-11 23:48:01
We live in Upton, Ma and just discovered that our local squirrels have been gnawing on our aluminum chairs and table.  

Regis wrote at 2016-11-02 05:11:39
Found today that the ties on my chain link fence have been "filed".  I immediately suspected squirrels because this is not my first rodeo with those destructive critters.   Since the fence has been in place for more than forty years without this activity, I suspect  that every so often along comes a deranged squirrel that has a taste for aluminum.   Damage is isolated to one area and I'll replace the ties with steel.

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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


I'm an evolutionary biologist with a passion for animals. Ask about natural history, behavior, ecology, evolution. PLEASE NOTE:

If you have found an "orphaned" or injured wild animal or bird:
Please don't waste time asking questions on the internet, as the answers may come too late. DO NOT FEED THE ANIMAL, and DO NOT HANDLE IT unless it is in imminent danger. (Many wild "orphans" are not orphans at all!) If you are absolutely sure it is orphaned, keep it warm and quiet, and find a LICENSED WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR HERE. Don't try to raise a baby yourself, or rehabilitate an injured anmal. Many a well-intentioned rescuer will do more harm than good, especially with baby birds and baby rabbits.

Without geographic location, time of day and habitat, I can't help. A clear picture is always best.

It's impossible for me to I.D. an animal call without hearing it myself.

I'm not an expert on comparative strengths of different animals (more complicated than you might think!) nor bite forces.

I refuse to answer "Which of these two animals--X or X--would win in a fight?".

These hypothetical matchups range from impossible (Grizzly Bears and Gorillas don't even occupy the same continent.) to ridiculous (Someone asked me "Who would win a fight between a Great White Shark and a tiger?").

The vast majority of animals--even the fierce and powerful--are not as warlike as Homo sapiens, and it's childish to project our aggressiveness onto them.


I have been the fortunate caregiver to a group of Black-tailed Jackrabbits rescued from the Miami International Airport, and not releasable in this area because they are not native. I also have rehabbed and released Eastern Cottontails, and am in contact with many very experienced wildlife rescuers who regularly handle injured or orphaned rabbits and hares.

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I have a Ph.D. in Biology, with main areas of expertise in evolutionary biology, genetics, botany, and ecology.

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