Squirrels may look cute and harmless but wait and see before they chew away your wooden furniture, step on your garden bed, attack your bird feeder, and munch on your seedlings. They may generally fall under ‘preys’ in the wild but in human perspective, they can be a real headache. There is multitude of ways on how you could get rid of squirrels. If you have exhausted all-seemingly harmful methods, then you may want to get your hands into a squirrel trap.
Basically, the purpose of a squirrel trap is to simply capture these squirrels. They are not created to kill or mutilate them. Generally, it’s acceptable to trap squirrels, killing them after setting the trap is another story. In some countries and states, killing these trapped animals is acceptable so long that they are considered as game animals or as ‘pests.’ The law regarding this varies from one country and state to another.
Different Kinds of Squirrel Trap
There are two different kinds of squirrel trap: cage trap (also known as live catch trap) and spring trap (also known as the lethal/killing trap). A cage trap is a squirrel trap set on the ground. One downside of using this kind of trap is that it also captures other animals including birds. Also, the trap can also be ineffective especially if the bait is being stolen by another rodent or animal. Squirrels are more prone to injury when set in a cage trap because naturally, they would exert effort to get out of it. To avoid these animals from getting injured, wildlife experts suggest covering this kind of trap with a bin liner made of plastic. When setting up a cage trap, you may just want to make sure that it is free from the squirrel’s predators. Remember, you just wanted to capture them but not kill them. Cage traps are lethal for exposing these furry animals to its predators.
Another form of squirrel trap that is used today is the spring, which is also known as the lethal or the killing trap. In contrast with the cage trap, the spring trap makes use of a more aggressive approach in capturing the squirrel. Its powerful spring mechanism is enough to kill the squirrel. Aside from the fact that it can actually kill squirrels, another downside of using a spring trap is that it requires a high level of precaution when setting it up. Some models of these spring traps are powerful enough to cause hand damage when set up in a wrong way or when mishandled. Thus, it’s important for any user to read the instructions carefully and set it in a place where it’s least likely to lead to accidents.
How to Trap a Squirrel
If you live in a neighborhood with a number of trees, then there’s a higher chance for your home to be invaded by squirrels. The clawing and other noises that you hear early in the morning and at the dusk could be signs that you have unwanted visitors in your area. A way to get rid of these mammals is by trapping them. However, the success rate of doing it can be higher if you only allot one main entry/exit point for these mammals. Thus, you need to cover first other possible entry/exit points of squirrels using the sturdy hardware cloth; leave one hole which will be the main entry/exit point of these squirrels.
To create a trap, simply create a tube-like structure from the main entry/exit point using a hardware cloth. Make sure that the structure is big enough for an average-sized squirrel to get in but small enough to get out. To do this, you need to slightly bend the cloth at the bottom part of the tube.
Before you set out a trap for the squirrels, it would be best to check on first your home for the possible presence of baby squirrels. One of the most common reasons why squirrels seek shelter indoors is because of nesting or giving birth. Trapping a squirrel and leaving their babies behind is inhumane as the baby squirrels would most likely die in the absence of their mother. You don’t want to have rotten baby squirrels in your home, do you?
If placing a squirrel in a cage or trap is legal in your state or country, then you may want to place a cage at the end of the tube. Only release the squirrel in an area that is 5 to 10 miles away from your home. Make sure that you’re releasing them in a place that resembles their natural habitat (there should be plenty of trees). In your home, get rid of the smell left by the squirrel by using heavy duty cleaning products. To keep squirrels from coming back, it will be best to spray on squirrel repellent on areas that squirrels would most likely thrive. These repellents can either be bought from any pest control shop or you can make one on your own at home.
Squirrel Baits for Trapping
The use of traps for getting rid of squirrels will only be effective if you are using the right kind of squirrel bait. You simply can’t expect squirrels to get inside a trap or cage. You need to put something in there that would entice them to go inside. Without a bait, catching a squirrel through a trap is like waiting for rain in the desert.
One of the prime considerations when choosing a bait is the squirrel’s diet. Generally, squirrels feed on seeds, nuts, and fruits. Thus, when choosing a bait, you better stick to food items that are closest to its natural diet. Among the most effective squirrel baits is the peanut butter. This no longer comes as a surprise since it is derived from peanuts. Aside from its palatability for squirrels, it’s also easier for many households to use this because it is readily available.
Other baits that you can use for trapping squirrels include nuts, cereals, sunflower seeds (squirrels love these!), popcorn, and grains. You may combine one or two of these baits to entice the squirrel to get into the trap. For example, if you’re using peanut butter and peanuts, you may peanuts as your main bait and the peanut butter as the secondary one (you can spread it on the treadle). For many households, this is an effective method especially if the first attempt of using a bait isn’t successful.
The Use of Poison
Killing squirrels as pests may be considered acceptable in some states but as much as possible, try to avoid using poison. Whether it’s a squirrel or any other animal, a poison will always have the same effects to animals; it’ll kill them. Using poison for squirrels is not safe for use especially if you have pets at home or kids. Also, pesticides often make use of hazardous substances that could harm you and the environment. So, do mother earth a favor and steer away as much as possible from using poison.
Selecting the Right Squirrel Trap
Choosing the right squirrel trap can be a challenge especially if you’re faced with different options. So, how would you choose for the right one? Here are some things that you should consider when buying a squirrel trap:
Squirrel traps come in a variety of sizes. Some have the size good enough for an average-sized squirrel to get in. There are also bigger traps for bigger squirrels. Try to assess the usual size of the squirrels that you often spot in your home. If you are not sure, it would be better to choose for a bigger one.
There are certain types of squirrel traps that can be hanged while there are also those designed to be placed on the ground. The choice is up to you and your strategy on how to trap these squirrels.
Some squirrel traps are designed to simply contain these squirrels mainly for relocation. However, there are squirrel traps (lethal/killing trap) that make use of a mechanism that do not only trap squirrels but also have a high potential of killing them. You better check on your Animal Welfare laws to determine whether the use of spring/lethal type of trap is acceptable or not.
Make Your Own Squirrel Trap
In your search for solutions on how to catch a squirrel, you will be met with a number of solutions. However, if you find most of these remedies to be quite expensive, then the way to go is the DIY (do-it-yourself) route. For a squirrel trap, you can make one at home. Here’s how:
1. For this DIY squirrel trap, you will have to prepare the following materials:
• Plastic tube (should be big enough for a squirrel to fit in)
• Wire mesh
• Adhesives (glue or tape)
• Cooking oil
• Bait (sunflower seeds or nuts are the best)
2. Cover the other end of the tube with the wire mesh. Secure it using either glue or tape.
3. Spray some cooking oil inside the tube. This shall make it impossible for the trapped squirrel to get out of the tube.
4. Entice squirrels to get inside the tube with the use of the bait.
5. Place the trap in your backyard or any area in your home where you suspect squirrels to be in.
6. Monitor the squirrel trap. Once the squirrel is in, cover the other side of the trap. Release the squirrel about 5-10 miles away from your home.
Getting rid of squirrels can be a real challenge for every household. But with the multitude of solutions available around, keeping the squirrels away from your home is very much possible.