Squirrels are adorable animals, but they can also be pesky pests that come into your house to raid your pantry. They’ll climb trees just to find a way into your home, and they’ll create points of entry if they can’t find one.
If you don’t know how to get rid of squirrels in the attic, the house, or the garden, this guide will teach you about some of the best squirrel repellents that you can try. However, before we get into these methods, let’s first talk about the different types of squirrels and their diets and habitats.
- 1 Types of Squirrels
- 2 Understanding Squirrels
- 3 How to Get Rid of Squirrels
- 3.1 Best Squirrel Bait
- 3.2 Squirrel Traps
- 3.3 Squirrel Repellents
- 3.4 Squirrel Poison
- 3.5 Other Deterrents
- 4 Conclusion
Types of Squirrels
There are three types of squirrels: ground squirrels, tree squirrels and flying squirrels. These types of squirrels have different diets, habitats and characteristics.
The first type of squirrels creates holes or burrows in the ground for shelter. These underground tunnel systems serve as their home, especially during their hibernation season in the winter.
This type of squirrel mostly eats plants, specifically the leaves, nuts, roots and seeds of plants that have fallen or are found on the ground.
They also scour for smaller animals like insects, bugs and caterpillars.
When a predator is lurking near their habitat, ground squirrels warn each other with a unique whistling call, giving one another time to run and hide.
The type of squirrels that is commonly spotted by people mostly live in trees. They jump from branch to branch as a way of moving around their setting.
This type of squirrels doesn’t only live in forests; they also reside in urban areas. Thus, the reason why they’re always seen by humans.
Tree squirrels are omnivores as well. They consume plants and smaller animals, such as acorns, barks, berries, eggs, and flowers.
In some occasion, they may also eat baby birds that are unattended in the nests.Tree squirrels also like sap very much. To them, it is a kind of delicacy that they rarely enjoy.
The last type of squirrels is the flying squirrels. This type is very adaptable to their surroundings. They don’t technically fly; instead, they spread their arms and legs, and then they glide through the sky as a means of moving amongst trees in the forest.
The average distance that a flying squirrel can travel through gliding is 150 feet.
They live in tree holes and nests, like birds do, and they eat fruits, nuts, insects, eggs and baby birds.
Squirrels belong to the Sciuridae family of mammals, which includes more than 200 species of small to medium-sized rodents all over the world.
The sizes of squirrels vary widely from species to species, from 5 inches long (of the African pygmy squirrel, scientific name Myosciurus pumilio) to 36 inches long (of the Indian giant squirrel, scientific name Ratufa indica).
Hence, the weight of squirrels varies widely also, from 14 grams to 2000 grams, depending on the species.
In average, an adult squirrel has a lifespan of 5 to 10 years in a wild setting. As a domesticated pet, they can survive for about 10 years also, given that the owner provides them with optimum care and protection.
Squirrels breed quickly and in numbers. An adult female squirrel can give birth to about 2 to 8 babies.
After birth, the babies are completely blind. They depend on their mother for food and protection for the first few months of their lives.
All squirrels have four front teeth that continuously grow throughout their life. These front teeth grow endlessly to adapt to the constant chewing and gnawing that these animals do every day.
Squirrel Poop vs Rat Poop
In identifying what type of animal infests your home, you might want to look at the droppings that the animal has left behind. Having said this, most people confuse squirrel infestation with rat infestation, so it is important to know the difference between the two.
Squirrel poop is usually brown or red in color, given its comparatively uniform diet. It has a diameter of 8 millimeters (or above) and a mean length of 9.5 millimeters. It has a cylindrical shape that has rounded tips and a smell that is distinct from other animals.
Squirrels usually defecate where they eat, so you’ll likely find clumps of their fecal matter in their feeding areas.
Meanwhile, rats and mice have pellet-shaped poop that are usually brown or black in color. In average, their droppings are between 3 millimeters to 6 millimeters.
Unlike squirrels, rats and mice leave their droppings in random places. Wherever they scoot, they will likely leave their fecal matter like Hansel and Gretel left breadcrumbs in the woods.
How to Get Rid of Squirrels
So you’ve identified that you have a squirrel problem. You can always call a professional to deal with these invasive animals, but won’t that take a lot of money?
If you want to save yourself some bucks and solve the problem all by yourself, this guide will teach you all about baits, traps, repellents and poisons that you can use to drive these little nuisances away.
At the end of this section, you’ll also find other forms deterrent, including bird feeders, pet fur and urine, and commercial repellents.
However, before we get into the steps of how to keep squirrels away, here are a few don’t’s of the trade:
- First of all, don’t use rat poison for squirrels. This type of product is specifically created for rats, not squirrels. There’s a big possibility that it won’t work, and therefore is a waste of money.
- Don’t set traps on the roof. They may catch a squirrel or two, but traps are mostly ineffective in this area.
- Lastly, don’t use flashing lights, noise machines and powder repellents to solve your squirrel problem. These methods have been proven ineffective to squirrels.
Now that you know what not to do, here are some methods that will help you determine what the best squirrel repellent is for your situation.
Best Squirrel Bait
Baits are important when you’re using a trap to catch squirrels in your house. They lure these pesky animals into the trap and ensure its success. There are common grocery items that you can use as bait. Here is a list of some of things that you can find in your own pantry and that you can use to bait squirrels with:
- apple slices
- bread crumbs and crusts
- peanut butter
- nuts and seeds
If you use these items with your squirrel trap, you’ll surely be able to get rid of squirrels that are persistently coming into your house.
You can buy squirrel traps for attic, house and garden usage. Here are some of the most common squirrel traps available for purchase:
The snap trap is not as humane as you might hope. It looks like a bigger version of a spring mouse trap. You put bait on the mechanism and wait for the squirrel to be lured onto it.
When the squirrel steps onto the mechanism to eat the bait, the spring will be released, and the metal will choke the animal, eventually killing it.
Because this method is not humane (and is also a bit messy during cleanup), most people choose to use cage traps instead.
A cage trap will lure the squirrel and hold it in without killing it. Hence, this method is humane and more preferable than a snap trap.
Basically, a cage trap is made of a sturdy metallic material, which ensures that the squirrel can’t get away once it is inside the trap.
It has a mechanism that slams the door shut when the squirrel enters the cage to eat the bait. When it’s safely inside the cage, the mechanism won’t allow it to get through the door again.
And then, after trapping the animal inside, you can simply walk or drive to a nearby park or forest and release it there. That way, the squirrel won’t find its way back to your house.
How to Set a Squirrel Trap
No matter which kind of squirrel trap you choose to use, here’s how you set it up:
- Identify where squirrels enter your house. If you have multiple points of entry, you may need more than one trap to cover these areas.
- Place the bait on or inside the squirrel trap. Use one of the baits mentioned in the previous section of this guide if you want the trap to be successful. (Additional note: Be extra careful if you’re using a snap trap. The last thing you want is for your finger to be snapped by the metal rod that chokes the squirrel’s neck when it is caught by the trap. The trap won’t cut off your finger, but it will definitely hurt.)
- Place the trap/s at the point/s of entry that you’ve identified earlier. Make sure that the traps are easily visible. If you’re using a cage trap, face the door of the trap towards the point of entry. Also make sure that the cage trap has its right side up. The mechanism is usually on the “floor” of the trap. The cage trap won’t work if you place it on its side or upside down.
- Once the trap captures the squirrel, you can clean it up if you’re using a snap trap, or you can release the animal back into the wild if you’re using a cage trap. It’s preferable if you release the squirrel in a place far from your house so it won’t find its way back to your property
If traps don’t work for you, here are some squirrel repellents that you ought to give a try. These particular repellents work best in the garden. If you use them, you can keep squirrels out of your garden and, consequently, out of your house.
Spikes provide protection against squirrels.
If there are any leaping squirrels in your area, this solution will prevent them from getting into your house.
You simply need to lay the spikes around the perimeter, specifically around the area where they normally enter to get into your house. These spikes are usually long enough so that squirrels can’t step on or leap over them.
If you lay these spikes near points of entry, it will be impossible for squirrels to get in.
Polyethylene mesh netting is another solution for squirrels infesting your yard. This is particularly helpful if you have flower and vegetable beds that frequently get attacked by these animals.
You can set up netting around these garden beds to protect them from squirrels.
You can also place tall netting around the base of trees where squirrels live. By doing so, you close them off from the rest of your garden.
Therefore, it is an effective and unlethal way of dealing with your squirrel problem. (Although some may argue that it isn’t humane.)
All you have to do is to set the zapper around the perimeter of your garden. If you want to save money, you can simply put this electronic mechanism around garden beds and plants that you don’t want the squirrels to damage.
The last method that you can try is to plant flowers that squirrels don’t like to eat.
Examples of these flowering plants include alliums, daffodils, hyacinths, Siberian irises, lily-of-the-valley, and glory of the snow.
Not only are these plants beautiful, they will also prevent squirrels from ruining your garden.
Looking for ways on how to kill squirrels must be your last option. If there are more humane ways of dealing with the problem, you should always consider those methods first.
However, if you’ve tried every possible trap, bait and deterrent, and you still have invasive squirrels coming into your house and property, wreaking all kinds of havoc, maybe you should now try using squirrel poison.
Squirrel poison contains toxic chemicals that slowly kill the animal from the inside out. If you use poison, the squirrel will suffer a long and painful death.
The problem with this method is that there is currently no specific poison created for squirrels.
Most people use rat poison to try and deceive squirrels, but they very rarely eat this type of poison. You should also be very careful when using any kind of poison, especially if you have pets and kids in the house.
Overall, using poison is not the best squirrel repellent around. You’ll do better if you try the other methods mentioned in this guide.
If you need more options, here are some other forms of deterrence that you can try.
Squirrels love stealing nuts and seeds from people’s bird feeders. It may be a smart way to keep them out of the house, but it may also be counterintuitive because you’ll be attracting squirrels into your garden or yard.
To prove just how much squirrels love bird feeders, you can look for videos in the internet of squirrels finding crazy ways to get to those seeds and nuts. You can watch this video or this one to see for yourself.
Pet Fur and Urine
This method may sound disgusting, but it is nonetheless an effective deterrent on how to get rid of squirrels in the garden. You can collect your dog’s or cat’s fur from your vacuum cleaner, or their urine from the litter box, and then spread this around your garden, specifically around trees and plants that squirrels like to climb on or eat.
Dogs and cats are natural squirrel predators. Their scent will drive the squirrels away.
Commercial Squirrel Repellents
Of course, there’s always a commercial squirrel repellent that you can use to aid other methods of deterrence.
In this section, we’ve listed some products that are effective in repelling squirrels from your house.
The brand Critter Ridder has come up with different forms of repellents from which you can choose from. They have spray and granule repellents that act as a taste and odor deterrent for squirrels and other small rodents.
Their products will last for 30 days, so you only have to reapply once every month. The application is fairly easy too.
All you have to do is spray or spread Critter Ridder around the perimeter of areas that are frequently visited by these tiny mammals. After that, squirrels won’t bother coming into your house again.
The Fire Mix Squirrel Repellent is specifically made to keep squirrels away from bird feeders. As you already know, squirrels like stealing nuts and seeds from bird feeders.
If you have a bird feeder that you don’t want squirrels to steal nuts and seeds from, then this commercial squirrel repellent is for you.
Bird Be Gone Hawk Decoy
This life-like hawk statue scares the bejeezus out of squirrels – they think it’s real! It’s a fun, quirky, and humane way to keep pesky squirrels away from your lawn or bird feeders.
Squirrels, like humans, are mammals. So you have to remember that if there is a humane way of solving your squirrel problem, you should always choose that method. Squirrel poison and snap traps must always be the last resort. There are other effective methods of repelling squirrels that do not involve harming them in the process.
Hopefully, in this guide, you’ve found the best and most humane method of repelling these adorable animals from your house, attic, and garden.