When we talk about unwanted house guests, we rarely get to talk about squirrels. And while squirrels are no doubt cute to see in the park or while walking through a forest, they are not something you’ll want to encourage inside your home, barn, or anywhere else on your property.
Why do squirrels flock to human homes?
Well, pretty much for the same reason why any other so-called pest does – they’re typically looking for food and a safe and warm nesting place to raise their young. Too often when dealing with wildlife intruders, humans tend to make it out as an all-out “war”. It’s not a war because these creatures aren’t doing this to annoy or threaten you. As such, we urge you to treat them humanely in your efforts to get rid of them.
Are squirrels dangerous?
While they don’t mean to be, yes, squirrels can pose a threat both to you and your family (and also your pets). As with most wildlife specimens, squirrels are carriers of various pathogens, and as such, they run the risk of spreading disease.
For your house pet, this may happen in an altercation, as many cats and some dogs will chase a squirrel, which may result in scratching. But for you, the rodent doesn’t need to touch you. Simply being around squirrel droppings is enough to put you at risk of E. coli and other diseases, so if you suspect a squirrel has made its home within yours, it’s time to act.
What are your options for getting rid of squirrels?
As with most intruders, you have two options: either take care of it yourself or call a professional. This depends on how afraid you are, your level of skill and steadfastness in the matter, etc. In this article, we’ll talk a bit about what you can do to trap the squirrel on your own. If calling in a professional, they will advise you on what’s best and work with you to prevent a future squirrel invasion.
Live trapping is by far your best option. As the name suggests, this practice will lure the squirrel to a trap using bait (such as peanut butter or other nutty products).
Step 1. Purchase the trap. You can usually select from a variety of traps, such as single or double doors, depending on the space you’re working with. You can also purchase multiple traps for better success odds or if you’re dealing with multiple squirrels.
Step 2. Place the trap according to the instructions, and layer a thick dollop of peanut butter (which is often an irresistible bait for squirrels) on the appropriate space.
Step 3. Wait. When the squirrel comes into the trap in order to get the peanut butter, it will step on a plate that will cause the doors to fall shut, thus effectively trapping the squirrel inside. Make sure you check on your trap often. It is cruel and inhumane to leave the poor rodent trapped for hours on end.
However, you should not be in the same room as the trap or keep an eye on it at all times as this will deter the squirrel from approaching.
Step 4. Once the squirrel is safely inside, pick up the trap with great care. We recommend wearing gardening gloves and a long-sleeve jacket (or any other protective gear you can think of). While squirrels aren’t particularly dangerous, any animal will lash out if cornered or trapped, so it may try to bite or scratch you. You want to be prepared.
Step 5. Transport the squirrel to a safe location. Ideally somewhere out of town, where it can’t hurt anybody. Remember, you want to make sure it’s at a safe distance from your house, to ensure it doesn’t just come back tomorrow. You also want to relocate it to the wilderness. It is not considered okay to simply leave it near someone else’s house, as that will only create a problem for that person, and that’s not very neighborly.
Ideally, read up a little on local wildlife relocation laws, as specific counties and states may have specific regulations on the matter.
Step 6. Open the door of the trap and step away. You want to keep a good distance, to allow the squirrel some space (it may not come out if it feels you’re too close). Once the squirrel has left the trap, we encourage you to pick up the trap and dispose of it.
And that’s pretty much it, you have effectively rid your home of that pesky squirrel problem!
But what about traditional traps?
When we talk about traditional traps, we’re typically referring to the type that uses bait to lure and ultimately kill the animal. Alternatively, some people also use poisonous bait in order to harm the squirrel and ensure a slow and painful death.
Both of these methods can be efficient, yes, but inhumane and unnecessarily cruel. Think about it for a second, do you really want to have to handle a squirrel corpse? We don’t either, and deadly traps are generally not recommended unless you have a serious and persistent pest problem and all else has failed. Even in such cases, it’s preferable to call a professional wildlife removal company than attempt to exterminate the squirrel yourself.
After the squirrel is gone, focus on prevention.
Sure, the squirrel itself is no longer a problem, but now you need to figure out what attracted the creature to your property in the first place. More often than not, squirrels are attracted by leftovers or other food sources left out in the open (this can be pet food or fallen fruit in your yard, for example, or even open garbage cans).
Identify what attracted the squirrel and eliminate it, otherwise you run the risk of getting more rodents in the future.
Also, if dealing with an indoor squirrel, you’ll want to look for the hole or crack it crawled in through and fix it as soon as possible!